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Stratford Embraces Smart City Solutions with New Parking Pilot

There has been a lot of talk about smart cities and what it takes to use technology to transform an urban space in Canada lately.

A group of Canadian organizations is helping to put real smart city solutions into action in the city of Stratford with a new announcement surrounding how to better use parking spaces. Eleven-x, FoxNet and Canada’s Open Data Exchange (ODX) will work with the City of Stratford to embed sensors underneath municipal parking spaces that will send signals to a low-power wireless network, indicating if those spaces are being used.

The project was approved in fall 2017 and a total of 78 parking sensors have been installed on three roads representing a mix of smaller side streets and one main thoroughfare. The sensors connect to eleven-x’s long-range wide network (LoRaWAN) and can provide real-time communication of available parking spaces. Eleven-x will securely capture the data then feed it to FoxNet as they transform it into a graphical interface.

“This is another example of how Stratford is on the leading edge when it comes to the innovative use of new technologies,” said the city’s Mayor, Dan Mathieson.

The information will be used by the city of Stratford to better understand parking patterns and see if any kinds of conclusions can be drawn regarding how to better manage the available resources. The data will be shared with the public as well through an open data platform, allowing drivers to see if a spot is taken before deciding to park or even get in the car.

The project has a price tag of $100,000 with ODX providing half of that funding. The other half came from Stratford’s parking reserve fund.

“The data from the smart sensors used in this project will be open to the community online, enhancing smart connectivity,” said ODX managing director Kevin Tuer. “We’re excited to further help smart city and IoT initiatives and are happy this has been done on a framework which creates opportunities to work with open data.”

An important factor of this project is the open data proponent, as transparency is key when it comes to making decisions regarding building a smart city. Though 78 parking sensors may not seem like a lot, it is a step in the right direction to help a city build an open architecture platform and see what kinds of data can be used to improve the experiences of citizens.

Eleven-x has a lot of experience when it comes to using sensors to track user data. They implemented a similar parking project at the University of British Columbia in October 2017 to gauge the availability of accessible parking spaces.

In December 2017, eleven-x partnered with QMC and offered up their wireless network in a bid to reinvent the water metre market and turn the readers into smart devices.

As smart city solutions become more available and easier to implement, it’s safe to say more cities will gravitate towards integrating technology into their infrastructure. Toronto has started already, and though it might not be with parking spaces, they have experimented with smart traffic signals as well as partnerships with traffic apps like Waze.

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