Paris is in the process of updating and evolving parking facilities across the city with the latest innovations in smart technology
As local governments embrace the philosophy of smart mobility for smart cities, metropolitan areas, municipalities, and busy parking facilities, they are looking for future-proof alternatives to their existing parking equipment that they can monitor with confidence.
Recently, HUB Parking Technology was contacted by two different organizations in the Paris area with queries about implementing some of the country most progressive parking programs. These will serve as a model for other French areas to follow.
Ville de Puteaux is an extended municipality located in the western outskirts of Paris, and it hosts a large portion of La Défense, the Paris business district. Each day, thousands of drivers - both occasional users and contract users- cruise the Puteaux streets trying to find open parking spots, thus creating congestion in the busiest commercial and mixed-use areas of the Commune. The annual counter monitored through JMS totalled more than 24,000 subscribers and 54,000 occasional users.
When determining the optimal parking management for each of the seven existing lots across the city, the municipality faced a three-pronged challenge: out-of-date technology, obsolete equipment and insufficient service. This was exacerbated by the ever-increasing demand for baseline-level parking availability and flexible management.
The goal, as stated by the management team of the Ville de Puteaux, was to deliver effortless access to parking to the thousands who drive around Puteaux daily, making it easier both to commute to work and visit the shops. In addition, better parking services would also increase the economic activity and competitiveness of local businesses, making the operations more efficient and more responsive in terms of service.
A few kilometers from Puteaux in Neuilly-sur-Seine stands the new headquarters of Sephora, the French brand of personal care and beauty that is present in 34 countries around the world. The 15,000-square-meter HQ spans eight levels and has more than 700 employees, most of whom drive to work. Their transport habits and preferences might vary over time, depending on their temporary assignments, holidays, and business trips, which makes it a challenge to keep the company parking allocation and the surrounding city streets free from traffic. Finding a nearby parking space can be stressful.
Embracing the digitization of work and the evolution of urban mobility and its associated services, Sephora searched then a flexible solution with monitoring capabilities that could align to the dynamism and creativity synonymous with the Maison and to the expectations of its employees.
Both Sephora and Ville de Puteaux required a scalable and robust system with low-maintenance requirements and operating costs. The systems also had to be customizable, with a graphic interface to align with Puteaux city branding and customized housing for the cabinets and displays that would reflect Sephora’s branding.
Another request from both facilities was seamless integration with existing apps such as the Puteaux Mobile city app, which allows drivers to check the occupancy of the parking areas before starting their trips and receive directions to the closest available space. The management system also needed to align with the Bourse au Parking app, which works as a parking lot auction that allows Sephora employees to lend their parking spaces to colleagues while on vacation or traveling with work.
In both cases, the communication between parking equipment and the company app was enabled by HUB management software Janus Management System (JMS). Through JMS External Services, occupancy data are fed to the IT interface of the app in real time.
From the earliest specification stage of the project to the testing and onsite fine-tuning of the installation, HUB demonstrated expert and flexible management of the technical requirements, right up to the flawless integration of the existing apps. HUB equipment also allowed a high degree of flexibility and customization on the hardware, going so far as to include the municipality logo and, in the case of Sephora, the company logo and iconic visual identity within the full-color graphic interfaces.
To ensure smooth installation, HUB partnered with Horus Park at both locations. A division of Groupe Horus dedicated to professional parking solutions, its field-proven expertise and technology capabilities proved fundamental in meeting the project deadlines and exceeding customer expectations.
At Sephora, the lane stations are supervised with CCTV cameras and fitted with Intercoms, giving all drivers 24/7 security and timely assistance. Overall, the parking site comprises more than 250 bays and is completely ticketless thanks to the license plate reading cameras that recognize and grant access/egress to registered vehicles.
In Puteaux, all of the seven car parks are now mixed use, serve both transient parkers and contract/subscribers, and comprising more than 2,300 bays. However, among the ongoing developments planned by HUB France with the support of Horus Park, there is the integration of 15 LPR cameras that can be easily retrofitted and added to existing solutions to facilitate the capture of license plate data for audit purposes and multiple guidance systems.
The implementation of LPR technology is no surprise. These days, it is an increasingly requested feature when facilities want to enter the fourth dimension of parking: digitization. In fact, LPR leads the way to seamless and smart parking. It not only prevents car thieves or ticket swapping – because ticket and license plate have to match at entry and exit - but also allows multiple integrations and customizations, especially for contract parking. In this scenario, the user can enter and leave the car park via recognition of the vehicle license plate.
With LPR, it is also possible to enter with a pre-paid ticket or use cashless solutions. Another benefit offered by LPR at entries/exits is the possibility to book a parking space in advance, to ensure the driver a hassle-free experience. This opens up the way to integration with booking platforms.
A seamless parking experience is a major goal for smart cities to make it easier to get to work. It also contributes to increase the overall productivity and the attractiveness of the workplace, improving the quality of life in urban areas. When technology enables powerful innovations, communities are equipped and empowered to thrive in the future.