- Santa Clara University (SCU), located in California, is partnering with Vimoc Technologies to bring smart parking and smart traffic solutions to its campus, according to an emailed press release.
- SCU and Vimoc have already installed sensors at a parking garage that keeps track of open spaces and what kind of spaces (ADA or electric, for example) are available. Soon, "up to the minute" information about the status of parking spaces will be displayed outside the garage and be accessible through online and mobile portals. Vimoc also installed a "Safe Crosswalk" platform at one intersection on campus. The system detects when pedestrians are approaching and automatically activates warning lights visible to approaching vehicles.
- SCU and Vimoc are also planning to implement license plate recognition technology. In the press release, Vimoc said the recognition technology would allow for virtual permitting and automated violation alerts.
With approximately 5,500 students, SCU certainly isn't as populated as other cities pursuing smart solutions, like Phoenix or Pittsburg. That doesn't mean, however, that solutions tested and implemented on a college campus can't be scaled up — and nobody said that smart solutions are only for megacities: just ask Cary, NC or Ridgeland, MS. The technologies and strategies that are being developed for smart cities solutions are just as applicable in Cleveland and New York City as they are small towns and cities.
Parking is a hot topic for the derision of college students, so any solution to make the process of finding a spot to stow a car is likely to be welcomed. And while parking garage design is likely to change as cities evolve, it's not entirely plausible that drivers will suddenly stop lamenting the process of finding a parking space in crowded, dense areas.
More than issues of mobility, though, SCU is adopting technology to improve safety — a critical mission of cities everywhere. The crosswalk sensors (important because pedestrians have a tendency to look down at their phones, instead of up at traffic) are a prime example of using technology to match the needs of residents, rather than trying to force technologies or behaviors on them.