Parking

LLGA2011 Winner: Report on Worldsensing Smart Parking Pilot

5.12pm 12 May 2011 it has become official – Worldsensing has won the Stockholm Living Labs Global Award 2011 in the category of urban mobility. The winning prize was nothing less than a pilot trial of our cutting-edge smart parking solution in one of Barcelona’s largest satellite cities Sant Cugat.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uesLdfMr33E]

Usually very difficult to achieve, a city hall has actually committed to testing an innovative technology solution for easing the daily headache of finding a vacant parking space and thus easing the daily routine of their citizens.

Discussions with the city hall about their needs and our possibilities started a little less than a month after the prize announcement, i.e. at the speed of light considering the public administration’s usual understanding of time. Of surprise to us was the advanced state of the Smart City initiatives in San Cugat. It seems that the city hall has been making important steps towards a sustainable city by introducing a separate smart city department which essentially handles smart city technologies the same way as an IT department handles computer technologies.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGMm5PLePFw]

A specific street in Sant Cugat has since been assigned to us, where we are about to install our smart parking product referred to as FastPrk. The tailor-made product targets the outdoors parking market, be it privately owned (such as shopping malls) or public (such as townhalls). It addresses the obvious headache for the citizens of Sant Cugat of losing a lot of time, money and health by finding a parking spot quickly. The product is composed of sensors, which are installed in each parking spot and which communicate wirelessly with an Internet-enabled gateway to inform about the absence/presence of a car. The information of available parking spots is made available to the citizen of Sant Cugat via a smart phone application and/or via panels along the street, something still to be discussed. The closed loop platform, i.e. sensors offering real-time information, addresses all headaches encountered at either end of the parking market. In addition, it facilitates the introduction of dynamic pricing; reservation of places; the coupling of the obtained data streams into a more general and powerful smart city operating system; among many other opportunities.

Installations commenced at the end of October 2011. We hope to significantly improve the lives of the citizens of Sant Cugat in their commutes downtown.

Living Labs Global is a fantastic team to deal with! They are clearly a market shaker in the emerging market of smart cities. Worldsensing has had the pleasure in applying for the Stockholm smart city finals through a fairly simple and straightforward procedure and, after a pitch in front of an eager audience, won the finals in the respective category. A lot of work, however, had clearly been done in the background by the Living Labs Global team – be it for the organization of the event(s), getting together qualified people, make them review the applications and ideas, etc, etc. A notable development is also the platform developed by Living Labs Global which allows city halls around the globe to consult on existing technologies and prior experience of fellow cities. Congratulations and good luck with the 2012 edition!

- Mischa Dohler, CTO Worldsensing

Eight Cities Announce Winners to Solve Major Urban Challenges at LLGA2011

The cities of Barcelona, Cape Town, Eindhoven, Lagos, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Stockholm and Taipei announce the winners of the Living Labs Global Award 2011.

The Award presented the major challenges faced by these cities in the coming years, to which 245 companies from 30 countries responded by presenting their solutions. With rapidly growing populations, budget pressures due to the financial crisis and increasing international competition for investment, talent and tourists cities are looking for innovative approaches to remain competitive. Cities represent a major, yet complex market, spending an annual EUR 3.5 trillion in public procurement alone

The cities of Barcelona, Cape Town, Eindhoven, Lagos, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Stockholm and Taipei have announced eight winning solutions that were selected by 45 international users out of 245 submissions from 30 countries. Winning solutions will now be piloted in the participating cities, to evaluate their impact to meet the challenges.

In a unique global effort, eight cities joined forces with Living Labs Global to present their pressing challenges to the global business and technology community.

Challenges put forward by cities include the need to provide more efficient and sustainable urban services such as lighting using latest LED technologies; to rethink city services in the light of open data and apps developed by interest groups; to overcome media piracy undermining native film industries through digital distribution systems; or the need to provide financing and support to social entrepreneurs in African cities. The winning solutions are:

City of Barcelona: Citysolver, by Bitcarrier

City of Cape Town:  Venture Capital Cultivator Fund, by PoweredbyVC

City of Eindhoven: Integral Solution for Urban Infrastructures (SIIUR), by bdigital

City of Lagos: Eggup | Sell your films while preventing piracy, by Eggup.com

City of San Francisco: Open Data as a Platform for Citizen Service Delivery, by Socrata Inc.

City of Sant Cugat: Smart Parking for Smart Urban Living, by Worldsensing

City of Stockholm: Spotscout, by Spotscout Inc.

City of Taipei: A+ Care: Smart Autonomous TeleHealth Care Service, by Netown

Winners were announced after an international two-round jury process under auspices of Living Labs Global, a non-profit association based in Copenhagen working with 40 cities and 450 companies around the world to promote service innovation in cities.

The Award Ceremony was attended by 200 participants from 20 countries in Stockholm as part of the Stockholm Summit for Service Innovation in Cities.

The Living Labs Global Award 2011 is a unique global process providing full accountability in the evaluation through independent experts. The Award was carried out in partnership with Oracle Corporation, Farglory and supporting organisations from around the world.

About the Living Labs Global Award

Living Labs Global is a non-profit association based in Copenhagen (Denmark), working with 40 cities and 450 companies and research centres in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas with a mission to open the market for service innovation in cities and overcoming key technology, organisation and trade barriers.

The Living Labs Global Award is an annual process over 8 months in which cities present their challenges and provide guidance to the business and technology community on future investment plans and needs. Solution providers respond by submitting existing technologies as entries for evaluation by an international jury.

Follow results and the upcoming Living Labs Global Award 2012 on Twitter. Facts: More than 557,000 local governments provide services to more than 50% of the world’s population with an annual spending of 3.5 Trillion Euros per year. New technologies can radically improve transport and mobility systems, access to finance, media distribution, social services and other key areas of urban life.

Eight Cities Announce Winners to Solve Major Urban Challenges at LLGA2011

The cities of Barcelona, Cape Town, Eindhoven, Lagos, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Stockholm and Taipei announce the winners of the Living Labs Global Award 2011.

The Award presented the major challenges faced by these cities in the coming years, to which 245 companies from 30 countries responded by presenting their solutions. With rapidly growing populations, budget pressures due to the financial crisis and increasing international competition for investment, talent and tourists cities are looking for innovative approaches to remain competitive. Cities represent a major, yet complex market, spending an annual EUR 3.5 trillion in public procurement alone

The cities of Barcelona, Cape Town, Eindhoven, Lagos, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Stockholm and Taipei have announced eight winning solutions that were selected by 45 international users out of 245 submissions from 30 countries. Winning solutions will now be piloted in the participating cities, to evaluate their impact to meet the challenges.

In a unique global effort, eight cities joined forces with Living Labs Global to present their pressing challenges to the global business and technology community.

Challenges put forward by cities include the need to provide more efficient and sustainable urban services such as lighting using latest LED technologies; to rethink city services in the light of open data and apps developed by interest groups; to overcome media piracy undermining native film industries through digital distribution systems; or the need to provide financing and support to social entrepreneurs in African cities. The winning solutions are:

City of Barcelona: Citysolver, by Bitcarrier

City of Cape Town:  Venture Capital Cultivator Fund, by PoweredbyVC

City of Eindhoven: Integral Solution for Urban Infrastructures (SIIUR), by bdigital

City of Lagos: Eggup | Sell your films while preventing piracy, by Eggup.com

City of San Francisco: Open Data as a Platform for Citizen Service Delivery, by Socrata Inc.

City of Sant Cugat: Smart Parking for Smart Urban Living, by Worldsensing

City of Stockholm: Spotscout, by Spotscout Inc.

City of Taipei: A+ Care: Smart Autonomous TeleHealth Care Service, by Netown

Winners were announced after an international two-round jury process under auspices of Living Labs Global, a non-profit association based in Copenhagen working with 40 cities and 450 companies around the world to promote service innovation in cities.

The Award Ceremony was attended by 200 participants from 20 countries in Stockholm as part of the Stockholm Summit for Service Innovation in Cities.

The Living Labs Global Award 2011 is a unique global process providing full accountability in the evaluation through independent experts. The Award was carried out in partnership with Oracle Corporation, Farglory and supporting organisations from around the world.

About the Living Labs Global Award

Living Labs Global is a non-profit association based in Copenhagen (Denmark), working with 40 cities and 450 companies and research centres in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas with a mission to open the market for service innovation in cities and overcoming key technology, organisation and trade barriers.

The Living Labs Global Award is an annual process over 8 months in which cities present their challenges and provide guidance to the business and technology community on future investment plans and needs. Solution providers respond by submitting existing technologies as entries for evaluation by an international jury.

Follow results and the upcoming Living Labs Global Award 2012 on Twitter. Facts: More than 557,000 local governments provide services to more than 50% of the world’s population with an annual spending of 3.5 Trillion Euros per year. New technologies can radically improve transport and mobility systems, access to finance, media distribution, social services and other key areas of urban life.

SFpark Launch

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/22610428 w=440]If you're having trouble with the video, see this link.

Almost a year ago, I wrote about several “parking 2.0” solutions around the world.  One of those solutions is SFpark, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s (SFMTA) dynamic- and data-driven parking management system.  It is intended not only to improve drivers’ experiences while trying to find a spot to park, but also sets such laudable goals as improving congestion, speeding transit, and improving bicycle and pedestrian travel.

The theory behind these benefits stems largely from the research of Donald Shoup, an economist, UCLA professor of urban planning, and venerable expert of parking who has promoted the idea that free parking is the bane of urban environments.  His theory has extended into practice in other areas as well, including Arlington, Virgina and Petaluma and Old Pasadena, California.  Pasadena has served as the prime example – creating and sustaining a vibrant commercial area, funded in part by the higher parking fees that arise due to high demand.

Back to San Francisco, the Federally-funded pilot project is a further statement of the City’s commitment to open data and government 2.0.  They’ve launched an iPhone app (with Android coming soon), displayed parking rates on sfpark.org, and opened the data stream to private app developers (here).

Some early adopters have been critical, citing the app’s strange “extreme memory warning” and the need to better understand why people are avoiding certain parking areas (crime?) rather than pricing these spaces to encourage their use.  My own criticism is of the map itself; “high” and “low” are labeled on the map, but it unclear whether this represents high availability or high prices.  The two should not be confused as they are actually inverses of each other (when availability is high, prices should be low to encourage parking there and alleviate parking in the low availability areas).  This is further confused by the pricing chart to the right of the map, which, correct me if I’m wrong, but appears to display the scheme incorrectly.  Low availability means higher prices, right Shoup?

Despite this nit-picking, I think the program is very forward-thinking and stands to set the example for other cities in the US and abroad.  For the initial pilot (running now until the summer of 2012), 7,000 of San Francisco’s 28,000 metered-parking spaces and 12,250 garage spaces will be covered with the potential to expand in the future based on the results of the pilot.

-Terra Curtis

 

Tone Check & Parker App

Technological innovation is all about making every day life easier and more efficient. To that end, two new technologies have recently caught our attention. The first is called ToneCheck, developed by the Canadian technology firm Lymbix, it claims to check the tone of the language contained in your email. Like spellcheck, which catches all those typos and embarrassing errors, ToneCheck analyzes your completed email and offers a read on the dominant tone, warning when it detects a phrase that might be too aggressive or nasty. Of course, levels of acceptable nastiness vary among emailers, so ToneCheck operates on a sliding scale, letting you set the specific parameters for tolerant language. For now, the service only works as an add-on to Microsoft Outlook, and is free for the first 30 days. You can try it here. The second hassle saving innovation is a smartphone application called the Parker App, offered most recently by the Washington Metro that gives users up to the minute information on the availability of parking spaces in real time. Commuters can download the app to their phone from the Metro website. Then, with the help of new sensor technology on location in the parking lots, the application relays which spaces are still available and for how long. The Parker App is offered by the firm Streetline and was developed in partnership with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. It has previously only been available in L.A., a metropolis that has its fair share of driving and parking headaches. It’s estimated that a large percentage of traffic—some say as high as 30%--is due to drivers looking for parking, and the Parker App, which also offers users information on pricing, time limits, and payment options, might certainly help. Though, as several tech bloggers have pointed out, it might be tricky for drivers to use the app while also complying with local texting and driving laws.

Tone Check & Parker App

Technological innovation is all about making every day life easier and more efficient. To that end, two new technologies have recently caught our attention. The first is called ToneCheck, developed by the Canadian technology firm Lymbix, it claims to check the tone of the language contained in your email. Like spellcheck, which catches all those typos and embarrassing errors, ToneCheck analyzes your completed email and offers a read on the dominant tone, warning when it detects a phrase that might be too aggressive or nasty. Of course, levels of acceptable nastiness vary among emailers, so ToneCheck operates on a sliding scale, letting you set the specific parameters for tolerant language. For now, the service only works as an add-on to Microsoft Outlook, and is free for the first 30 days. You can try it here. The second hassle saving innovation is a smartphone application called the Parker App, offered most recently by the Washington Metro that gives users up to the minute information on the availability of parking spaces in real time. Commuters can download the app to their phone from the Metro website. Then, with the help of new sensor technology on location in the parking lots, the application relays which spaces are still available and for how long. The Parker App is offered by the firm Streetline and was developed in partnership with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. It has previously only been available in L.A., a metropolis that has its fair share of driving and parking headaches. It’s estimated that a large percentage of traffic—some say as high as 30%--is due to drivers looking for parking, and the Parker App, which also offers users information on pricing, time limits, and payment options, might certainly help. Though, as several tech bloggers have pointed out, it might be tricky for drivers to use the app while also complying with local texting and driving laws.

Google's Next Steps

Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, recently wrote a brief article indicating his company’s role in the “mobile revolution.”  As we have highlighted in our book Connected Cities, mobile technologies already have been responsible for and continue to offer further opportunity in market creation (to the tune of 256 billion euros).  The technology has only hit the tip of the iceberg, and Schmidt notes the next three places he intends to take it.

First, Google will focus on the underlying fast networks; second, on the development of mobile money; and third, on the availability of inexpensive smartphones in developing countries.  Of note in the second two categories are a few companies from our Showcase.  It appears that Google’s initial intents in regards to mobile money are for consumers in more developed regions; it’s near field communication, or NFC, technology enables smartphone users to pay for groceries, clothing, or other consumables simply by waving their phone near an in-store device. As far as I can tell, this technology would also be useful for things like mobile parking or public transit passes.  Park-line’s current model involves paying for parking by using your mobile phone to make a call to a processing center; NFC would make these calls unnecessary.  Similarly, Transport for London could move away from necessitating a physical “Oyster card” by enabling NFC.

The use of mobile technologies in developing countries is already well known.  We documented Mission 4636, which used mobile technology to facilitate the first responders to the Haiti earthquake.  Of course, their reach could have been much broader had the local population had access to more mobile phones.  Somewhat surprisingly, 90 percent of the world’s population already does have access to mobile networks, though this does not mean they actually own a mobile device, nor does it mean they have access to smartphone technology that significantly improves access to information.

The brevity of Schmidt’s article has attracted a fair amount of attention.  We’ll keep our eyes out for updates.

-Terra Curtis

My war on regional digitized road and transport data in Stockholm

During the years 2006 – 2009 when working in the regional public transport I found an lucky opportunity to fill one of my companies most frustrating data black holes with ones and zeros. But you can’t win them all! Listen to my story. You are one year old when you learn to walk, you are five or six when you learn to ride a bike and at least 16 when learning to drive. All of us have as a primary means of traveling - walking (and here I include all in wheelchairs) and even motorists are occasionally forced to leave their car - at least to be able to refuel the car.

Although, since the modern era began, cities has focused on the car's traction, and to be frank , we have built cities such as displacing pedestrians as second-class citizens. When Sweden a few years ago legislated that motorists have an obligation to give way to pedestrians intending to cross the street - then motorists raged and state that this is a traffic hazard!

In wintertime all municipalities in Sweden are carefully plowing the roads. Although, in many of these municipalities leaders has decided that the property owners shall be responsible for clearing snow from sidewalks. How many property owners do you think it is along a normal Swedish roadside - and how likely do you make it a pedestrian is offered a safe and pleasant journey? And bike lanes often proves to be a perfect place for the snow brigade to put aside the snow.

In Sweden, the public exercise of power is highly decentralized and we have a very comprehensive municipal planning monopoly. But there is also very important to have a coherent national road infrastructure. Sweden therefore decided very early that it was important to establish a national database of road network. Yes, that is, the motorist road network, administrated by the National Swedish Road Administration. First on the runway by filling it with content was in fact the forest industry. They used this excellent almost free of charge resource to post their temporary forest roads so that their forest machines and trucks could find their way to all the remote and well hidden places where harvesting is currently underway. See there - an excellent commercial application of one of the society offered national data infrastructures!

In this decentralized Sweden, the municipalities are also responsible for the local road network. Therefore, also the digitization of the local road network has been a local affair and the Swedish Road Administration has therefore never been able to force any municipality neither to gather the data, nor to deliver it anywhere. Of course, the local politicians has limited budgets and if he / she has to choose among local public opinions, the one that demands for digitized road networks has never been particularly vociferous. In fact, even after 14 years of operation, this database NVDB has not yet signed contracts with all Swedish municipalities.

In fact, when NVDB established in 1996, bike lanes were not even on the horizon. Today as the National Traffic Administration offers the possibility after many years of nagging (not the least from me) quite many municipalities have supplied data, but there is still no one offering municipalities an opportunity to store a digitized pedestrian lane database.

I used to work in SL, the Stockholm County Public Transportation Authority, and there I was responsible for the development of Internet and mobile services. Such a core service is the travel planner. SL's network is an integrated intermodal network that spans 26 municipalities and, yes, you already understand the problem. All the county has actually delivered the digitized road network and that means that all players, especially yellow pages business and Garmin and TomTom etc have been able to develop great services. But in public transport you are totally dependent on that the footpaths are digitized - for all public transport passengers must get to and from stations and bus stops. For SL, the lack of an across municipal boundaries associated digitized pedestrian network the travel planner becoming increasingly a problem as customers always expect better and more advanced services.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sw78Pwtg38w&w=425&h=350]

A few years ago when Stockholm won the opportunity to host the ITS World Congress, I saw an opportunity to change this. I put on the top of my (read SL) wish list a coherent and digitized route network for walking and biking. I quite easily in these collaborative surrounding of the National Swedish Road Administration, the National Swedish Rail Administration, The National Swedish Transport Administration, the City of Stockholm, the National Swedish Railway Company and many, many other stakeholders found friends of the mission, realizing the importance of this. Mobility services for people with impairments, police and rescue services must be found to the door even on local private pedestrian areas in closed yards, the postal service must even find doors in the z-axis, so this should be a easy piece, I thought. I built relations with ALL, and all agreed on the importance of access to such data - but no one was willing to either take responsibility or to share responsibility, this includes my former employer.

In despair I went to one of the largest commercial global players in GIS. They had a great interest - to map the inner city of Stockholm on the basis of the business traveler's perspective ... but could not see any profit to make in the mapping of walking paths in the Stockholm archipelago. No luck again.

Finally I found one guy with the same burning fire inside for the same thing as me, he ran the exact same question from one of the largest and leading infrastructure consultancy firms, actually he was the CEO of a large subsidiary specializing in GIS.

Today he is no longer there and still today you cannot find a coherent pedestrian and bicycle road network in this county.

This, ladies and gentlemen, this is my biggest carrier failure. And I indeed take it very personal.

- Åke Lindström, Market Director Kista Science City

My war on regional digitized road and transport data in Stockholm

During the years 2006 – 2009 when working in the regional public transport I found an lucky opportunity to fill one of my companies most frustrating data black holes with ones and zeros. But you can’t win them all! Listen to my story. You are one year old when you learn to walk, you are five or six when you learn to ride a bike and at least 16 when learning to drive. All of us have as a primary means of traveling - walking (and here I include all in wheelchairs) and even motorists are occasionally forced to leave their car - at least to be able to refuel the car.

Although, since the modern era began, cities has focused on the car's traction, and to be frank , we have built cities such as displacing pedestrians as second-class citizens. When Sweden a few years ago legislated that motorists have an obligation to give way to pedestrians intending to cross the street - then motorists raged and state that this is a traffic hazard!

In wintertime all municipalities in Sweden are carefully plowing the roads. Although, in many of these municipalities leaders has decided that the property owners shall be responsible for clearing snow from sidewalks. How many property owners do you think it is along a normal Swedish roadside - and how likely do you make it a pedestrian is offered a safe and pleasant journey? And bike lanes often proves to be a perfect place for the snow brigade to put aside the snow.

In Sweden, the public exercise of power is highly decentralized and we have a very comprehensive municipal planning monopoly. But there is also very important to have a coherent national road infrastructure. Sweden therefore decided very early that it was important to establish a national database of road network. Yes, that is, the motorist road network, administrated by the National Swedish Road Administration. First on the runway by filling it with content was in fact the forest industry. They used this excellent almost free of charge resource to post their temporary forest roads so that their forest machines and trucks could find their way to all the remote and well hidden places where harvesting is currently underway. See there - an excellent commercial application of one of the society offered national data infrastructures!

In this decentralized Sweden, the municipalities are also responsible for the local road network. Therefore, also the digitization of the local road network has been a local affair and the Swedish Road Administration has therefore never been able to force any municipality neither to gather the data, nor to deliver it anywhere. Of course, the local politicians has limited budgets and if he / she has to choose among local public opinions, the one that demands for digitized road networks has never been particularly vociferous. In fact, even after 14 years of operation, this database NVDB has not yet signed contracts with all Swedish municipalities.

In fact, when NVDB established in 1996, bike lanes were not even on the horizon. Today as the National Traffic Administration offers the possibility after many years of nagging (not the least from me) quite many municipalities have supplied data, but there is still no one offering municipalities an opportunity to store a digitized pedestrian lane database.

I used to work in SL, the Stockholm County Public Transportation Authority, and there I was responsible for the development of Internet and mobile services. Such a core service is the travel planner. SL's network is an integrated intermodal network that spans 26 municipalities and, yes, you already understand the problem. All the county has actually delivered the digitized road network and that means that all players, especially yellow pages business and Garmin and TomTom etc have been able to develop great services. But in public transport you are totally dependent on that the footpaths are digitized - for all public transport passengers must get to and from stations and bus stops. For SL, the lack of an across municipal boundaries associated digitized pedestrian network the travel planner becoming increasingly a problem as customers always expect better and more advanced services.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sw78Pwtg38w&w=425&h=350]

A few years ago when Stockholm won the opportunity to host the ITS World Congress, I saw an opportunity to change this. I put on the top of my (read SL) wish list a coherent and digitized route network for walking and biking. I quite easily in these collaborative surrounding of the National Swedish Road Administration, the National Swedish Rail Administration, The National Swedish Transport Administration, the City of Stockholm, the National Swedish Railway Company and many, many other stakeholders found friends of the mission, realizing the importance of this. Mobility services for people with impairments, police and rescue services must be found to the door even on local private pedestrian areas in closed yards, the postal service must even find doors in the z-axis, so this should be a easy piece, I thought. I built relations with ALL, and all agreed on the importance of access to such data - but no one was willing to either take responsibility or to share responsibility, this includes my former employer.

In despair I went to one of the largest commercial global players in GIS. They had a great interest - to map the inner city of Stockholm on the basis of the business traveler's perspective ... but could not see any profit to make in the mapping of walking paths in the Stockholm archipelago. No luck again.

Finally I found one guy with the same burning fire inside for the same thing as me, he ran the exact same question from one of the largest and leading infrastructure consultancy firms, actually he was the CEO of a large subsidiary specializing in GIS.

Today he is no longer there and still today you cannot find a coherent pedestrian and bicycle road network in this county.

This, ladies and gentlemen, this is my biggest carrier failure. And I indeed take it very personal.

- Åke Lindström, Market Director Kista Science City

Connecting cities: a Cluster.eu interview with Sascha Haselmayer

Cluster.eu, a great online and published magazine, gave me some challenging questions about our book "Connected Cities: Your 256 Billion Euro Dividend". Read it here - Connecting cities: an interview with Sascha Haselmayer.

Now out: Spanish Edition of our Handbook on Service Innovation in Cities

Living Labs Global is pleased to invite you to the launch of the book “Tu Dividendo de 256.516 Millones”, the updated and Spanish language edition of our handbook “Connected Cities: Your 256 Billion Euro Dividend” be published by the University of Barcelona. The book features a new epilogue by Professor Xavier Torrens, placing the book as a critical contribution in the current debate on local and urban innovation policy.

We will present the book on the occasion of INTA's 34th World Urban Development Congress, in Donostia-San Sebastian (Spain) during the Welcome Reception on Sunday, October 24, 2010, from 19:00-21:00 and the first plenary session on Wednesday, October 27th.

The book is now available to order from the University of Barcelona webstore or can be bought in one of the University of Barcelona’s bookshops.

Wohr

Budapest parkingWöhr is a German company whose purpose is to compact parking space.  They have worked with numerous European cities including Berlin, Amsterdam, Madrid, and Budapest.  I had a look at their project outline for Budapest’s Parksafe 580, which is quite an impressive downtown car park. Wöhr was presented with a special challenge in Budapest: the parcel chosen for parking had to have its façade maintained due to City ordinances.  Additionally, the top 5 floors of the building are used as modern office space.  This is probably very similar to many situations in old European cities, so this example will serve well. The solution they came up with stores 580 cars.  A user enters the car park, takes a ticket which registers her license number, drives to the open garage door and temporarily parks on the loading platform.  Once she leaves the car, the garage door is closed and then the real magic happens.  Her car is swept up like an elevator to the upper levels of the building where cars are stored automatically.  They are placed in rows of 3 next to a row of 1 to enable easy retrieval of vehicles when the user returns.  (The retrieval process is still a bit of a puzzle to me – maybe you can figure it out.)  You can see photos of the project here.

While I’d love to see more efforts to minimize parking in downtowns and city centers, this solution allowed Budapest to preserve an historic building while serving the needs of downtown employees who need to drive to work.  It also preserved land from being used as a parking lot and saves street space for pedestrians, café seating, bicycles, and public transit.  I’ll take it.

-Terra Curtis

Parking 2.0

Google ImageAt Living Labs Global, we’ve already identified several innovations in the arena of automobile parking.  These cover solutions such as the Municipality of Copenhagen’s text-based parking spot finding system, Estonia’s parking payment solution emt, The Netherland’s RFID-based parking payment system Park-Line, and Spot-Scout, an eBay-like exchange for renting parking spots.

Of all the parking solutions we’ve showcased so far, 9 are focused on modernizing parking payment, but only 3 are focused on helping a driver find a parking spot in the first place.

Here in San Francisco, our Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) is working on a program called SFPark.  SFPark is a comprehensive parking solution and includes components to help drivers navigate quickly to the nearest open spot.  It will also enable the SFMTA to dynamically price open spaces with the intent of keeping a few spaces open in each neighborhood for those willing to pay more for higher-demand areas.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVq9pdam14M&hl=da_DK&fs=1]

But, as I’ve seen here in San Francisco, the innovation process is slow when it has to be vetted through city government.  To their credit, it’s not a simple system and includes many features other than spot-finding aids to help solve the problem of idling and circling automobiles.  That’s why I was glad to hear that Google recently entered the game with their Open Spot app.

Open Spot is now available in the US, Canada, and The Netherlands for use on mobile phones using Android 2.0 or higher.  Users of the app report when they’re leaving a parking spot.  Searchers for parking will then see a balloon appear on the map of their neighborhood.  Red balloons indicate a freshly-vacated spot, orange spots were vacated 5 minutes ago, and yellow spots are 10 or more minutes old.  After 20 minutes, the map indicators disappear.

For it to be successful, it requires widespread adoption and user altruism.  I think it’d be great to link Open Spot’s technical functionality with the SFPark program’s parking data.  SFPark’s sensors, installed in most parking spaces across San Francisco, could inform the app rather than casual users.  This gets rid of the need for large network effects and puts two already-developed technologies to work symbiotically.  Agree with me?  Contact SFPark and let them know!

-Terra Curtis

Our Handbook on Innovation in Services and Mobility in Cities - "Connected Cities: Your 256 Billion Euro Dividend" - now out!

We are pleased to announce that our new Handbook on Service Innovation in Cities is now out, published by the DesignLondon at the Royal College of Art. The result of a collaborative effort involving more than 20 contributors, the book presents rich original data and serves as a resource for professionals from both public and private sectors, as well as entrepreneurs, engaged in the complex yet potentially profitable market for service innovations in cities.

You can flick through and order the book now at Amazon (UK), Amazon (US).

Mobility is not a technology, but a paradigm shift. The user, as citizen, professional, or visitor is in a state of mobility represented by the ubiquity of mobile phones in our society. Why this book asks, have highly appreciated services like mobile parking, tourism services, or solutions for the visually impaired not taken off despite the astronomical investments into digital infrastructures in the past decade? Why, have these infrastructures not had the productivity impact that the internet had on our economies, when more than 60% of the world population have access to them?

256 Billion Euro is the sum of opportunity presented in this book, following real business cases and examples of mobility and service innovations in cities. Drawing on the rich insights of Living Labs Global, the book illustrates what defines the market for mobility, neglected by many for its complexity. It logically structures the market opportunities, frustrations and successes, and actors that make or break success into a coherent call for action to fundamentally change how we deliver services in cities.
This book reveals important insights for public leaders, local politicians, service professionals in public and private organisations, entrepreneurs, technology experts, consultants and researchers interested in promoting innovation and excellence in cities today.

Mobility Value: The Supermarket Checkout

Sometimes mobile or wireless service experts get baffled why users don't take up their killer-application. Value creation in mobile services is rarely related to their actual cost. Tourists can pay more in roaming charges than their entire touristic expenditure for an average stay; managing parking through advanced mobile services is rationalised down to a (high margin) mobile payment transaction. In today's mobility industry, users are expected to pay per kilobyte and not for their gain in efficiency, productivity, pleasure or other gains provided by a service.

If we compare this to a supermarket Check-out, we may arrive at the value-proposition shown above. Would you enter a shop in which you pay for a) the time you spent in the shop, b) the width of the corridors (bandwidth), c) the volume of the goods you bought, and d) 10% just for the pleasure of payment (billing fees)?

The Dreaded Hunt and the Spotscout Solution

Spotscout CEO and Founder, Andrew Rollert, becomes animated when asked about his company.  Over the course of our conversation, his sentences dipped and hooked, weaving a narrative about traffic patterns, consumer habits, Newton’s laws of motion and spatial exchange.  As we spoke, his voice took on a tone of undeterred, optimistic confidence so magnanimous, I would have thought we were talking about baseball or football. All of this is funny, of course, because this conversation began with a few simple questions about parking.  Rollert’s Boston based, six year old venture is trying to change the way people use and consume space, specifically parking space, by providing a free platform for people to buy and sell parking spaces within an expanded and inherently more transparent marketplace.   Wade Roush, the chief correspondent at the Xconomy, aptly summarized the basic logistical ins and outs of these transactions in a blog post last year.  Here’s Wade’s SpotScout crash course:

People who own parking spots—whether they’re commercial garage operators or just private citizens with driveways or other spots that are empty during certain hours—can upload that information to SpotScout. (They’re called “SpotCasters,” in SpotScout’s parlance.) Then, using their desktop computers, laptops, or Internet-enabled cell phones, people seeking spots— or “SpotScouts”—can tell the service where they need a parking spot and when; see a list of available choices, organized by cost, user rating, walking distance to the final destination, or other criteria; reserve a spot, effectively taking it off the market; pay for the spot electronically, from their SpotScout account; and receive a text-message confirmation, sometimes accompanied by discount offers at businesses near the parking spot.

The spot-finding service (not counting the cost of parking) is free to SpotScouts, but SpotCasters pay the company a small percentage of each transaction.’

Don't miss the Spotscout Showcase on Living Labs Global Showcase.  The Living Labs Global SpotScout user review is coming soon.