This study describes the work undertaken to introduce a comprehensive system of parking management to the City of Abu Dhabi. At the outset, the task was to implement a citywide parking management system as a single project. This would be equivalent to introducing the entire central London parking system, which has developed over 50 years, as a single project in two-three years. This aspect made it the biggest single parking project in the world in 2007.
The City of Abu Dhabi is the federal capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the capital of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The city is located on an Island on the south coast of Arabian Gulf. The Island is about 18kms long and 7kms wide at its widest point in the north. At its southern end, it is connected to the mainland by three road bridges.
The growth of the city has been meteoric. In 1962, it was little more than a small coastal town where many of the buildings were single storey huts. Today it is a modern cosmopolitan city with a population of about 700,000 and a grid pattern of dual carriageway main roads and many high-rise buildings.
The main roads in the city are freeways and we noticed that the stopping and parking restrictions were largely observed. However, between the grid pattern main roads, each city block has a network of service roads which parallel the main grid, local distributor roads and surface parking areas. It was estimated that these had a capacity of about 70,000 surface parking spaces in the CBD. However, studies showed that demand reaches as high as 100,000 cars at peak times. This led to double parking, and parking in aisles and areas where parking is banned for safety and access reasons.
? Parking was over-subscribed by about 40%
? Motorists ignored the rules
? Enforcement was very low
? Growth of car ownership and car use was significant
? Paid car parks for the public were largely empty.
Most cities throughout the world developed their parking systems gradually over years or decades. Parking management systems have been introduced incrementally, gradually growing both in complexity and geographical size as demand increased, experience grew and technology developed.
In Abu Dhabi the situation was very different. The city arrived into the first decade of the 21St century with the sort of parking demands and problems that are faced by any modern western city of three quarters of a million but had no parking management. It gave a unique opportunity because as there was no investment in parking, the city could adopt a completely modern solution unconstrained by earlier decisions or equipment.
The approach adopted was to identify systems and ideas that were of proven worth and to build a totally integrated parking system of products and services called the Parking Management Programme or PMP.
Under the Parking Management Programme, we recommended to the authorities a few initiatives and changes:
The parking spaces: Lay out the city centre by providing enough space to park approx. 70,000 cars on the surface and a further about 5,000 in the pre-existing municipally owned and operated underground car parks.
Signs and markings: Create authorised traffic signs to conform with the international norms.
Parking meters: Make ?Pay and Display? parking meter the primary means of paying for hourly parking.
Mobile phone payments: Make mobile phones a secondary means of paying for hourly parking.
Parking shop and public services: Provide a number of parking shops, a call centre, web site, and general public information across the city centre.
Enforcement: Provide Parking Inspectors and removal trucks.
A Central Parking Management System (CPMS): This is the core of the operation and the most innovative part of the programme. Most cities have IT systems; sometimes they have several systems with each managing a part of their parking service. Since this project started with a clean sheet, Abu Dhabi was able to specify one complete integrated holistic system to do everything. The modules adopted are: Cashier and Accounting Module, Parking Meter Reporting Module, Permit Scheme Management System, Open-Access Mobile Phone Payment, Fines Management Software, Handheld Software for On-Site Mobile Parking Enforcement, Wheel Clamping Management Software, Wheel Clamping Van Computer Software, Removal Truck Module Software, Removal Truck Small Computer Software, Car Pound Module Software, Police Reporting Module, City-wide Parking Geo-Database and Application Software, Road Maintenance Reporting Module, Administrative Management Software, Courts Reporting Module, Call Centre Module Software, Parking Shop Interface, Off-Street Parking Facilities Reporting Module, Dynamic Web-based Interface for Public Outreach with Secure E-Commerce Functionality, MIS Module for Data Mining and Revenue, Statistical and Traffic Reporting, and Staff Deployment Planning Backend and Application Software.
As part of the new parking management project, ?Mawaqif?, Abu Dhabi Department of Transport (DoT), selected GlobeTech as their IT partner of choice to provide their innovated world class Central Parking Management System (CPMS).
Today after three years of controlled parking management, Abu Dhabi has an effective and efficient traffic management operation that adds order to the city?s parking and reduces congestion. Its highlights are:
? Over 500 Parking Inspectors
? Over 3000 Pay & Display machines deployed
? 75,000 on-street parking spaces managed
? Over 5,000 off-street parking spaces managed
? 2,300,000 photos captured each year
? Approx. 50,000 Permits issued per annum
? 700,000 pre-paid parking cards issued per annum
? 80% fine payment compliance rate
The key to Abu Dhabi?s success is in the approach taken to implement controlled parking. The authorities, with the help of industry experts, developed a plan centred around the city?s needs and the best proven technologies available. They then future-proofed with their solution by defining a holistic Central Parking Management System, tying together all the different aspects of parking management under a single management system. This allowed the city a phased roll-out of the largest parking operation undertaken to date.
Kevin Kelly Co- Founder and CEO GlobeTech Parking Solutions Ireland
(Kevin Kelly has worked in the delivery of Parking Management IT solutions for the past 12 years. Last year, he delivered the parking management solution for the London Olympics. Prior to that, Kevin spent 20 years in Apple where he headed the European Software Engineering & Quality operations).