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French city introduces ‘smart parking’ solution to tackle traffic and pollution concerns

The beautiful French city of Montpellier in the South of France has announced that it has deployed a 'smart parking' solution that aims to address growing concerns raised over the city's pollution level which is being caused by traffic congestion.

The company behind the 'smart parking' solution, Libelium has claimed that the implementation of its products all over the city of Montpellier will significantly improve the lives of its citizens. Residents in the french city have previously expressed their frustration at being unable to locate a driving space, which subsequently forces them to drive around and around in their attempts to find a vacant car space.

This is not only a major inconvenience for motorists in terms of time and stress, it is also detrimental for the health of the city due to the alarming levels of pollution that this creates. The CEO of Libelium, Alicia Asin, also believes the deployment of the 'smart parking' solution will also enhance business productivity in the city.

The CEO said, "It is important to bear in mind that the search for parking is one of the daily actions that has the greatest impact, not only on the time dedicated to it, but also on city traffic, pollution levels and the health of people affected by high levels of stress at the wheel."

Libelium, which is a specialist in Internet of Things, has also claimed that municipalities that demand the introduction of the innovative solution look for additional benefits outside of reducing pollution and easing traffic congestions. Some of the additional benefits include new parking revenues, enforcement cost-reduction, reduced parking violations and special permits detection.
In addition to this, it has been disclosed that the optimization of existing parking capacity reduction in noise pollution and improving Montpellier's reputation as an environmentally-friendly city were also important factors in vetoing the 'smart parking' initiative. Research conducted by Navigant Research found that motorists looking for driving spaces contributed to almost 30% of inner city traffic congestion.

Montpellier, is seen as a pioneer when it comes to embracing smart cities projects, programs and initiatives and its decision to deploy the 'smart parking' solution will only serve to enhance its reputation as being one of the most progressive and technologically-driven cities in France.

The city's 'smart parking' solution has been developed with Libelium's Connected Parking technology, and it has unveiled that the deployment is part of the Metropolis's bigger smart cities strategy to make data openly available to those who can develop services and solutions to enrich the lives of its citizens such as start-ups, universities and laboratories.

These devices have initially been installed on the road surface in parking areas designated for those with reduced mobility and delivery services with the aim of relieving congestion, streamlining traffic, and improving access to car park areas. Data management displays show real-time information relating to the use of car parking slots in order to improve the traffic conditions and diminish car parking search time.

Chief Technology Officer at Synox, Jerome Fenwick said the enhanced mobility of residents would drastically improve the lives of residents in Montpellier and added that the project would be a huge success. He said, "The Smart Parking project made it possible to easily deploy -- on private LoRaWAN network infrastructure - an analysis of the strategic car park availability, for the city mobility services, the city police, and soon the citizens themselves.  Having a better understanding and a better management of car park availability and traffic in the city is a major key point to improve a citizen's life."

Pieter Brice, CTO at Montpellier Mediterranean Metropolis remarks that the smart parking project allowed the city to consolidate its collaboration with Libelium and it is looking forward to offering new services to users based on the network.

Libelium's CEO claimed that interoperability is a major challenge that cities are beginning to identify, and as a consequence are now dedicating more time and focus towards that issue. She said, "Interoperability is another major challenge to which cities are attaching increasing importance. Regardless of the cloud platform on which a city's smart services operate, is very important that each application added is perfectly compatible with the existing ones to prevent previous investments from becoming obsolete. It's vital to have device compatibility with any cloud platform, and with any communication protocol."

As well as the Montpellier installation, Libelium has deployed its technology at Silicon Oasis in Dubai and Bilbao in Spain.