SWARCO Traffic delivers complete parking solution for Warwick University
ITS (UK) member SWARCO Traffic, the traffic technology specialist, has specified and installed a complete parking solution and management system for Warwick University that is helping to reduce congestion and improve the driver experience across the entire campus.
Warwick is one of the UK’s leading universities regularly featuring in the top ten of all major domestic rankings. It is currently working on its five-year plan to develop its campus and facilities, with a target of growing its student population by as much as 40% by 2030.
As part of the plan, the university needed to upgrade its transport systems and in particular, improve parking facilities and parking management across the campus after identifying inefficiencies in its existing processes and parking strategy.
One of the main issues it faced was co-ordinating its traffic flow management. Drivers were struggling to find available parking spaces, causing unwanted congestion and a somewhat chaotic parking experience, especially during peak times. Ultimately the university needed to find a solution that not only reduced congestion, but also improved the user experience and maximised the available parking spaces across 27 on-campus car parks. It turned to SWARCO Traffic who in turn designed solutions based on the very latest thinking and smart technologies.
SWARCO took a holistic approach, delivering a solution that encompasses both hardware and management software tailored to meet the needs of the university. SWARCO quickly identified that a lack of parking spaces was not the problem; the challenge was in identifying where parking was available and specifically signposting spaces that were vacant.
As part of the solution, SWARCO recommended a combination of different sign types to perform different functions. Parking guidance signs have been installed across the campus to display clear space availability arrows, featuring the number of free spaces in green or displaying ‘full’ in red. This enables drivers to clearly see whether spaces are available or not in a particular car park from a distance and take the appropriate, safe course of action. These signs are complemented with full colour Variable Messaging Signs (VMS), which can be utilised to display any image or text. The VMS can therefore be utilised for multiple purposes, including providing parking and traffic flow information, site-wide safety announcements and to tell drivers and visitors of any events, maintenance works or road closures.
Intelligent data is sent to the signs by a series of car park counters and Inductive Loops that record all vehicles entering and exiting a car park. It means the data and status of the car parks are always up to date, enabling the university to better manage parking availability.
The entire site is being managed by a single hosted solution, SWARCO’s intelligent Zephyr solution. The web-based user interface enables users to quickly and easily edit message and pictogram displays at the touch of a button, as well as being able to upload new text and graphics as required. The platform can be used to access data on traffic, speeds and volumes as well as set timetables, on/off times and provide key information such as power monitoring, LED monitoring and radar monitoring.
Parvez Islam, Director of Transport and Future Mobility at Warwick University, said: “The implementation of SWARCO’s parking management solution has enabled the University to get a better understanding of how parking behaviour operates across campus. It has also highlighted that capacity is not the issue going forward for the University and the focus needs to be more on efficiently managing traffic flows that we hope to achieve by further evolving SWARCO’s system.”
Tony Gillings, Project Manager at SWARCO Traffic, said: “Working in close partnership with the University, we have delivered a complete smart parking solution and management system that has created a more coordinated and improved experience for drivers across the entire campus.”