Read Nwave’s Parking Guidance Systems White Paper

Wireless parking guidance systems are driving adoption with lower implementation costs & configuration complexity.

A Smart Parking Guidance System (PGS) is an intelligent parking system that provides real-time parking space availability and encourages drivers to park. A wireless PGS uses wireless sensors for parking detection for a vehicle’s presence or absence.

Wireless is the new standard for Smart PGS as it keeps technological pace with the rest of the world. We have all witnessed the technological advancement of the wireless network to support increasing demands to accommodate billions of devices without compromising the quality of service and security and lowers operational costs. Wireless technology has continuously evolved since the first communication using Morse code, now at 5G a century later, there is no end.

01 – Intro

Parking Guidance Explained

A Smart Parking Guidance System (PGS) is a parking system that, in real-time, directs drivers to available parking. Two main functions of a PGS system are:

  • Saving time and improving user experience for drivers, and
  • Increasing operating efficiency of parking facilities by maximizing its capacity utilization.

The smart parking system provides real-time data on the availability of parking spaces and helps the driver park quickly and efficiently. PGS technology addresses the long-term issue of parking and pollution, which harm the environment. Sensors, real-time data, and smart mobile applications allow users to monitor available parking and reduce the time spent finding a parking space.

The growing global smart parking market is driven by an increase in parking concerns, demand for Internet of Things (loT) – based technology, and a high adoption rate in the number of vehicles. Furthermore, an increase in investment in developing driverless vehicles, as well as an increase in government initiatives to build smart cities around the world, are expected to create tremendous opportunities for market growth. The rise of cashless transactions and e-payment options is opening new avenues for smart parking solution providers to pursue. Furthermore, artificial intelligence and machine learning advancements assist businesses in making game-changing discoveries.

A wireless PGS solution relies on per-space battery-operated radio communication sensors, eliminating electric and data cabling for the vehicle detection functionality of a PGS solution.

A PGS can improve a driver’s experience and a parking facility’s revenue.

An important point to highlight is that these are just two specific examples, not all-encompassing representations. Though these are quite representative.

From the driver’s point of view: A driver arrives at a busy shopping center at the height of the holiday shopping season, needing to park. The driver enters the parking facility and begins looking for a parking place. With a PGS, the driver knows if parking is available before entering the garage, but this garage has no PGS system. The driver drives from one level to the next in search of open space. After reaching the top level, they go down, still looking for a space. After spending 15 minutes or more searching for parking, the driver leaves the facility, frustrated, and shopping elsewhere. With PGS, the driver would have found parking within 1-2 minutes, even with only one space left.

From the facility owner’s point of view: A mid-size corporation is moving to a new campus with a parking facility that can accommodate one-third of the employees who work in this office. The corporation rents an overflow surface lot at $15,000 per month to accommodate all employees. The corporation installs a PGS in the main parking facility and the surface lot to improve employee experience and analyze facility utilization. After several months, PGS analysis of the usage data reveals that, even though some levels for the main parking facilities were at more than 90% occupancy during workdays, others remain under-utilized. This insight allows the corporation to terminate the surface lot rental quickly for significant cost savings a few months into operation. Without a PGS, the corporation would have rented unneeded parking for months or years.

02 – Parking Dynamics

Every year, the number of vehicles on the road increases significantly, and parking is an issue in every major city. The supply-demand gap for parking spaces is growing yearly, increasing congestion and pollution. These factors are expected to drive the global smart parking systems market.

The rate of urbanization has increased rapidly as the world population grows. As the number of people who own cars increases, there is an urgent need for more parking spaces. According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, by 2050, nearly 68% of the global population will live in cities. The need for parking, combined with the growing popularity of data-driven operations, and the benefits that come with them, are increasingly making smart parking a need and an expectation.

Parking is an essential element of Proptech

The real estate industry is embracing technology, with proptech playing an ever-important role in maximizing parking. Proptech is driving seamless integrability. Consider the added value of having the same provider of a Parking Management System and Building Management System with all the functionalities offered by proptech companies. Forward-thinking, organizations focused on maximizing their real estate consider parking part of a conscious, convenient, and sustainable future. Proptech may be a young industry, but it is growing rapidly, with 9,000 proptech companies emerging over the past decade, and the market is predicted to be valued at US $86.5 bn by 20324.

Smart parking solutions outlookSmart parking solutions outlook

The size of the parking management market surpassed $3 bn in 2020 and is expected to grow at a 12% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2027 to $6 billion, according to an October 2021 report from Global Market Insights (GMI) Inc.

The global smart parking solutions market size and revenue are expected to increase from over US $4.4 bn in 2022 to US $30.84 bn by 2032, ascending at a stellar 21% CAGR during the forecast period1.

A growing adoption for off-street commercial parking

The U.S. parking management market is forecast to register a growth rate of about 10% through 2027, driven by the rise in demand for commercial parking facilities. In the U.K., market demand for parking management from the transportation sector is poised to witness 17% gains by 2027, impelled by the acceleration in the construction of smart cities. The government authorities in the country are fast-tracking the process, led by the growing trend of urbanization. Smart cities enable the implementation of advanced infrastructure combined with sustainable technologies to reduce carbon footprint. This factor has encouraged government bodies to take new initiatives to build the infrastructure for creating a unified smart city system3.

Smart cities are driving sustainable infrastructure

According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the urban population in 2019 was 55.7% and is projected to reach 68.4% by 2050. The rapidly increasing global population and rapid growth in the urban population are driving the demand for sustainable infrastructure across the globe. Governments across various countries are taking steps and investing heavily to counter the concerns related to rising population rapid urbanization through the development of smart cities5.

Predictive analytics transform parking facilities to improve traffic flow and space allocation depending on the time of stay. Data assessment tools can predict the parking space, feasibility, and traffic flow in the upcoming smart city projects in the regions, thus fast-tracking the process.

The global smart cities market reached US $1,025.9 bn in 2021 and is anticipated to rake up around US $7,162.5 bn by 20305.

In 2020, Europe held over 30% of the global revenue share, driven by increasing demand for parking data analytics3.

The rising government investments in transportation management and smart building, among others, in the developing regions, are expected to drive the smart cities market growth.

“Favourable initiatives by governments such as smart city projects, across the globe are supporting the growth of IoT-based equipment. Governments are seeking innovation in areas such as energy conservation, smart traffic management, security system improvements, and others. Such actions are likely to offer various remunerative opportunities to the market in the forecast period2.”

03 – PGS Explained

What is a PGS and how it works

At the very high level, PGS’s main functions include:

  • Providing information on parking spaces available to drivers and to parking facility management
    Assisting drivers with finding available parking spaces

A simple example of how Parking Guidance Systems work:

  • A car is ‘sensed’ and counted when a vehicle enters a parking facility (for counting solutions) or when parked in an individual space using vehicle detection hardware.
  • Car counting data is communicated via a PGS IT network, updating the current facility occupancy information.
  • Occupancy information is displayed on Digital Message Signs (DMS), directing the driver to vacancies. Typically, this is by displaying the number of vacant spaces on each level at critical traffic flow intersections. If a PGS solution provides per-space detection granularity, the DMS will display the number of vacant spaces with directions and space type indicators like EV, visitor, disabled, reserved, etc.
  • Some PGS solutions utilize per-space overhead indicator lights to display the occupancy status of each space.
  • When a car leaves a parking spot (for per-space systems) or exits the facility (for counting systems), occupancy is updated and a new vehicle is directed to the vacant space.

Components of a PGS System

PGS Value Creation

A PGS saves time in locating available parking spaces. Time savings, in turn, leads to value generation for various stakeholders.

04 – Selecting the right PGS for your project

PGS Solution Types

PGS solutions can be grouped based on the method of vehicle detection. This choice drives all the main features and characteristics of a particular PGS including its accuracy, cost, level of user experience, and more.

Different solutions can be structured into several types based on these main characteristics:

  • Vehicle counting vs. per-space detection
  • Camera image analysis vs. direct vehicle sensing for vehicle detection
  • Wired vs. wireless

PGS Selection

Considerations for choosing the right solution:

  • Facility characteristics (e.g. entrance and exit lanes characteristics, new vs. retrofit, ceiling heights, etc.)
  • Usage patterns
  • Utilization levels
  • Accuracy requirements
  • Data granularity requirements
  • Driver convenience goals
  • Budget

Choosing your PGS solution: Counting vs. Per-Space, Hybrid Solutions

Selecting between these various solutions is typically driven by these several factors:

  • Average facility utilization
  • Target accuracy level
  • Presence of high value/special categories spaces
  • Facility complexity and drivers’ preferences

Average Facility Utilization

Current average utilization is a good initial, and most important, factor driving a PGS solution selection for a particular facility.

If the facility is, on average, 40-50% utilized, a PGS would offer limited value, since a driver can easily find available space without a PGS in place. Still, in such situation a different question arises – why the facility is underutilized and whether scaling down the available number of spaces via e.g. sub-leasing is an appropriate course of action. At the same time, a facility that averages 90% occupancy will experience high value from helping drivers locate parking faster and help the facility fill the last 10% vacancy for full occupancy.

While specific time saved by a per-space PGS depends on a wide range of parameters, including the facility’s characteristics, driver behavior, etc., in general, it grows exponentially as a facility fills up. Thus, as a rule, the higher the level of the current average utilization of the facility, the higher the value a PGS can generate for it.

Below is a graph demonstrating a correlation between the facility’s current average utilization and estimated driver time savings for a typical medium-sized parking garage. For example, at 60% occupancy, a per-space PGS solution would save an average of 1 minute of searching time per driver, at 80% – 5 minutes, and at 99% – 15+ minutes on average, reaching 30+ minutes when drivers must leave the facility in search of parking elsewhere.

In situations of medium utilization, a car-counting PGS can be a good initial solution. Vehicle counter systems are installed at the entrance and exit from an enclosed parking lot or a garage structure and count the number of vehicles entering and leaving the facility. Vehicle counting is an excellent way to measure the overall level of parking activity and approximate lot utilization and overall usage statistics.

For a vehicle counter to be a viable solution, the parking lot must be enclosed with defined and relatively narrow entrances and exits. Such a solution is inappropriate for municipal on-street parking and will work less for parking lots with multiple and wide entrances/exits.

Target accuracy level

An important consideration of counting solutions is “error accumulation”. While no vehicle detection and counting hardware is 100% accurate, best-in-class counting technology provides 98%-99% accuracy. And unlike per-space solutions, where this error is automatically resets every time a parking space is occupied or vacated for overall solution accuracy, such detection error accumulate in a counting solution until it is manually reset. When 1 to 2% errors build up with each counting detection event, in 10 days, the accumulated error can exceed 10%. The only way to minimize this problem is regular manual counting and adjustment or reset of the counting solution. However, there are human errors and factors, too: you cannot always be sure that a manual reset is 100% accurate.

Due to the nature and limitations of the counting solution, it is typically most appropriate when “order of magnitude” occupancy numbers for a facility (e.g. 40% vs. 60% vs. 90%) are sufficient. As summarized below, such data can still provide significant value to both drivers and facility owners. On the other end of the spectrum, per-space solution delivery always accurate and most granular actionable data for both drivers and facility owners.

Presence of high-value spaces

In addition to regular parking spaces, most facilities today have a limited number of special category spaces designated, such as EV, disabled, reserved, etc. Obviously, the availability of these spaces is a much more important factor for these category drivers than the total spaces available in the facility. Thus, the same “average occupancy” concept can be applied not only to the total spaces but to each of these categories to determine an optimal PGS solution for these drivers.

For example, let’s take a facility that is, on average, only 60% occupied, so a total count of PGS seems to be the right answer here. However, let’s also say that 20 EV spaces are, on average, 90% occupied. It follows that for the EV drivers using this facility, these spaces are high-utilization spaces and they will benefit significantly from having granular occupancy data about these spaces. In such situations, a counting PGS system can be complemented by per-space sensors for these high-value spaces, making it a so-called “hybrid” PGS solution. Having granular data for these high-value spaces would provide the facility owner/management with the analytical insights needed to make decisions about the corresponding capacity changes.

If a facility has a large percentage of the high-value spaces, e.g. > 50% of total spaces, from the cost-value and accuracy point of view, it starts making sense to consider a full-per-space PGS system.

Facility complexity and driver preferences

Let’s again take an example of a facility with 60% average utilization. But, this facility had a complex driving pattern resulting in highly-used areas next to most logical driving patterns and underused “pockets” where fewer drivers venture out. For this situation, a typical driver would experience more difficulties in finding a free space, effectively making it a higher-utilization facility for a typical driver.

Let’s also consider human behavior and driver preferences. In general, people prefer to park in “higher convenience” zones, e.g. next to the exit/elevators, etc. and, in general, prefer to park in the lower (first to drive in) levels of the facility and, in particular, try to avoid parking on the roof/open levels. Such preferences tend to lead to higher occupancy for certain areas/levels of a facility vs the theoretical “average” occupancy for this facility, increasing the perceived occupancy for an average driver and, thus, increasing the benefits of a more granular PGS system.

While thinking about counting vs. per-space PGS selection, it is important to note that, in principal, it does not have be one or the other. A counting solution can be viewed as “starter” PGS solution that can be expanded and grow with time to a “hybrid” PGS and a full per-space solution if required.

Tables below summarize some of the most important considerations driving an initial PGS selection between counting and per-space approach for a particular facility, with a “hybrid” solution potentially offering a balanced approach for many typical facilities.

Selecting between Counting and Per-Space PGS

Counting vs. Hybrid vs. Per-Space PGS: Driver and Facility Owner/Operator Benefits

Sensors vs. Cameras

Based on the vehicle detection method, PGS solutions can be grouped into two categories:

  • Camera-based – indirect vehicle detection, based on camera image analysis, commonly employing machine learning algorithms to recognize various vehicle images.
  • Sensor-based – direct vehicle identification using a range of physical detection or sensing techniques (magnetometer, radar, lidar, ultrasonic, light, etc.)

For detailed analysis of the pros and cons of PGS solutions, refer to the Nwave Smart Parking Planning Guide. Below is a chart excerpt from the Guide and important considerations.

Important Considerations:

Camera-based solutions

  • Detection accuracy can be affected by environmental factors, such as lighting conditions, line of sight obstructions, and inclement weather including rain and snow. Cameras are not recommended for outdoor applications.
  • Initial hardware, electric, and data infrastructure costs are significant.
  • Each project requires individual planning and customization to take into account specific environmental conditions. Complex camera tuning to facility lighting conditions and learning driving patterns by highly-specialized technical staff is typically required for initial deployment, Ongoing monitoring, technical support and adjustment are required to accommodate changes in environmental conditions, driving, patterns, etc.
  • Dirty camera lenses reduce recognition accuracy, regular camera lens cleaning is required to maintain accuracy.

Overhead wired per-space ultrasonic/radar sensors

  • Overhead sensors do, generally, provide high detection accuracy for “normal” vehicles. However, it is not uncommon to see these sensors not being able to detect smaller vehicles and other objects that may be blocking the parking spaces (e.g., forklifts) – displaying the spaces as “free”, while not actually available for parking. Installation requires electric and data cabling and supporting infrastructure and is limited to indoor applications.

Ground wireless per-space sensors

  • Wireless sensors are highly accurate and can be deployed in all indoor and outdoor applications, including locations with inclement weather.
  • Ground per-space sensors work based on direct physical detection signal processing principles vs. indirect image-based analysis for cameras.
  • Sensor deployment process is simple and standardized, and can be performed both by the end client and by a wide range of electrical and general contractors.
  • Ease of installation and standard deployment procedures lead to easy scale up – same process to follow for 10-space and 1000-space projects, indoor and outdoor, curbside or off-street lots.

05 – Wired vs. Wireless PGS

What wireless PGS is, and how it compares with wired PGS

In simplified terms, a fully “wired” sensor-based PGS requires an extensive network of electrical and data wires and conduits to connect all critical components of a PGS system: vehicle detection sensors, lights, and Digital Messaging Signs (DMS). Wireless PGS, on the contrary, leverages battery-operated sensors and wireless communications between all major PGS components to minimize wiring and conduits infrastructure requirements.

Wiring was the accepted industry standard in the early era of Smart Building Parking Guidance systems, and for decades, there have been few alternatives. Wired PGS is costly to install and maintain, has accuracy limitations and is typically limited for indoor projects only. A wireless alternative is game-changing for small and large facilities that need a less expensive, flexible, and highly accurate PGS.

Modern wireless PGS solutions utilize data cloud architecture (e.g., AWS, Azure, etc.) for central solution management. Such architecture effectively manages multiple projects with thousands of sensors across multiple geographical locations, centrally deploys all software updates, and provides customer device status alerts.

06 – Significant factors driving wireless PGS adoption

The growing number of vehicles and lack of proper and designated parking spaces drive the need for parking management solutions, specifically PGS. Additionally, the growing pace of development of smart cities, combined with government support for the expansion of parking solutions, is driving the industry demand.

Cost savings versus wired solutions are among the most significant factors driving wireless PGS adoption.

Wired PGS solutions require extensive infrastructure, including power and data cables and overhead hardware to support wired sensor infrastructure.

This results in high per-space costs in terms of materials, planning, and installation labor. Long installation times delay revenue and increase opportunity costs. Installation of wireless PGS is fast and efficient in comparison.

For wireless PGS, adhesive-based installation of wireless sensors and a limited number of wired elements significantly reduces the need for wires and hardware infrastructure and allows full system installation planning in terms of hours and days vs. weeks or months for an average-size built project.

Below is a summary comparison of a high-level relative comparison between wireless sensor per-space PGS (taken as the “base” 1X/Y cost) vs. a traditional wired overhead sensor PGS for a typical medium-size covered/built facility. Section 9 presents an additional costs benefits analysis for a range of various types of PGS solutions.

Complex designs and high implementation costs were limiting factors for most facilities until now.

Cost, flexibility, and the speed of implementation are among the most significant factors driving wireless PGS adoption.

Simplified Planning and Installations

A wireless PGS solution’s key element significantly simplifies the planning and installation process and makes such solutions easy to modify. In his article, Peter recalls a case of loop wires embedded in the wrong place vs. painted ramp lanes, illustrating the high cost of errors in a wired PGS deployment. Wireless adhesive-installed sensors can be re-positioned as necessary to optimize locations for sensor counters and add or remove sensors in designated spaces. As the projects evolve, wireless PGS simplifies adapting to new conditions with the capability to easily re-program, add new or move existing DMSs and add or remove wireless sensors.

An important consideration for indoor PGS projects is to ensure adequate clearance between overhead-mounted hardware (sensor and signs) and the floor to ensure adequate clearance for vehicle traffic. These clearances, also referred to as “Above Finished Floor” (AFF), is determined by many factors, such as the parking facility’s geometries, local codes, and vehicle headroom requirements. In the case of a wireless PGS, with low-profile sensors installed on the ground, no per-space sensor hardware infrastructure above, and only a limited number of the overhead directional DMSs, it is clear how such a solution significantly simplifies PGS-related AFF planning vs. a typical wired solution and reduces the probability of costly mistakes.

Improved system reliability

Electrical and data cable or wired parking guidance system connection failures can be difficult to locate and resolve. Moreover, power or data connection failure of a single row of wired sensors can lead to a loss of the total parking management system’s accuracy.

Unlike fully wired and semi-wireless parking guidance solutions that still rely on electricity to power their sensors/cameras. Nwave PGS platform ensures that any local electric failure does not impact the functionality and accuracy of the overall automated parking guidance system.

In case of a local electric power failure, battery-powered sensors, backed up by 2-3x redundant long-range wireless base station coverage, ensure that all parking availability data continues to flow to the cloud, ensuring continuous operation and accuracy of the Parking Guidance Mobile App, operational Digital Signage and Analytics Dashboard.

PGS is a sustainable parking solution

The most significant source of U.S. greenhouse gases is the transportation sector, with most emissions coming from vehicles. The U.S.needs to make changes to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

PGS can immediately reduce C02 emissions through less idling and searching for parking.Long-life sensor batteries eliminate the need for hard-wiring devices to AC power, reducing energy usage. Moreover, sensors with a replaceable battery reduce landfill and guarantee the most extended product life.

Additionally, modern wireless PGS is easily configured for permanent and dedicated EV charging stations on the fly.

Facilitating touchless payment solutions

Post-COVID, there has been an increase in reliance on digital methods for safety purposes. The market has seen an increase in demand for automation across different applications for system management and seamless user experience

Touchless parking allows drivers to pay their parking charges without touching any payment machine. Parking Guidance Systems improve efficiency and user convenience of payment solutions by giving drivers the ability to quickly find a free parking space. The same data sets give parking operators the ability to better and more efficiently manage all aspects of their parking assets, including increasing the facility’s utilization, facilitating compliance, supporting variable rate capabilities, and providing insights into the facility usage and drivers’ behavior.

Enabling efficient counting and hybrid solutions

Some wireless sensors, including Nwave, provide counting functionality. Such functionality allows the building of cost-effective wireless ingress/egress lane counting solutions to provide overall vehicle count and space availability for a parking facility without physical infrastructure, power, or data cabling at the install location. Combining counting functionality with per-space sensors for high-value or non-standard spaces (e.g., EV, Disabled, etc.), enables flexible “hybrid” solutions that provide the right mix of accuracy and granularity vs. cost for each facility and circumstance. Moreover, the wireless nature allows it to evolve seamlessly by “tacking on” additional per-space monitoring spaces for higher data granularity and accuracy.

07 – In-Facility Traffic Flow Management

The main objective of a good in-facility traffic flow management system is to efficiently direct traffic flows to various levels/areas of a facility to save space-searching time for an average driver. In essence, these systems are the means to deliver real-time occupancy data gathered by the PGS’s vehicle detection/sensing systems to the drivers. Accordingly, the selection of the type and the number of these systems would primarily be defined by the counting vs. hybrid vs. per-space PGS selection process discussed earlier.

Directional DMS

Effective traffic flow management in large built facilities with multiple levels and complex levels layout can benefit from directional DMSs positioned at key traffic intersections. The DMSs need to be large and bright to be clearly visible to be effective, which drives relatively high-power consumption. And although solar-powered wireless signage is feasible for outdoor, it may not be as bright and visible as mains-powered. For indoor garages, there is hardly an alternative to mains-powered DMS. On the other hand, the signage data connectivity has been evolving in the last several years – from Ethernet cabling to WiFi/4G and LoRaWAN (direct gateway-to-DMS radio control) most recently. The latter allows both to realize significant infrastructure or mobile connectivity cost savings and to extend wireless PGS solutions into the areas of no mobile internet or WiFi coverage.

Another trend we see with DMS development is full RGB matrix DMSs that display text or graphical information and can vary displayed information as project requirements change. It is easy to see how bringing these fully data-wireless fully-matrix DMSs into a wireless PGS solution can take the system cost efficiency, functionality, and flexibility to yet a new level.

Overhead Lights

While overhead lights can complement a wireless PGS solution, the value such lights bring to a PGS depends on the size and layout of a particular facility. Many smaller garages utilize a simple spiral unidirectional pattern that directs a driver through all the floors and all the parking spaces. A single entrance DMS that informs a driver about space availability on each level is sufficient for such facilities. In more extensive facilities with a more complex layout, directional DMSs would be beneficial to efficiently direct traffic flows to levels and areas of the facility with space availability.

In very large parking facilities, with hundreds of spaces per floor, and complex bi-directional driving patterns, in addition to the directional DMSs positioned at major traffic flow intersections, isle-mounted overhead light indicators can provide a cost-effective last-turn solution for drivers. A one-to-four overhead isle-mounted lights, where one light indicates the availability of at least one of the four nearby spaces, provides most of the incremental benefit of the overhead light solution in most such facilities, while still remaining a more cost-effective option vs. per-space overhead light option.

08 – Parking analytics are key components of PGS

The Importance of Data Analytics Parking Lot and Garage Management

Data analytics are an extremely valuable tool for parking operations. Parking data insights drive everything from where and how a facility is used, to planning infrastructure repairs and mainteance and even predict demand and trends for optimized pricing and increased revenue.

How Parking Data Analytics Works in Lot and Garage Management

“Real-time analytics is the discipline that applies logic and mathematics to data to provide insights for making better decisions quickly. For some use cases, real time simply means the analytics is completed within a few seconds or minutes after the arrival of new data.” – Gartner

In parking, data analytics refers to converting data into information, knowledge, and insight to improve operations by understanding how drivers use parking spaces or garages. Transactional reporting delivers a higher level of understanding and insight into parking data, including parking diversity, frequency of use, space turnover, and duration of stay trends.

09 – Practical Guide to PGS Selection

In practical terms, choosing a PGS solution comes down to choosing two main domains:

  • Type of Vehicle Detecting/Sensing solution
  • Type of In-Facility Wayfinding solution

As discussed above, to a large extent, the selection of the vehicle detecting/sensing solution largely defines the selection of the wayfinding solution. It is obvious that if you gather only ingress/egress total vehicle count data for the entire facility, you cannot do any level or directional wayfinding inside of the facility, simply because you do not have the data.

In addition to the available data granularity, the layout of the facility and the budget/costs considerations will, typically, be primary drivers for selecting the optimal type and number of the hardware elements for a specific in-facility wayfinding solution. As discussed earlier, we believe that a combination of entrance, level and directional DMSs provide the best value-vs-costs approach for a majority of built facilities.

Putting together all of the information discussed earlier, below is a practical step-by-step decision tree to assist in optimal PGS selection.

Nwave PGS Decision Process

10 – PGS Cost-Benefit Analysis

Below is a table presenting a high-level comparison of average installation times and relative per-space costs and the overall PGS solution value for a number of wired and wireless counting and per-space PGS variations for a typical 400-space, high-utilization (80-90%) garage with medium driving pattern complexity. This comparison is not inclusive of all possible solutions available in the market, but rather aims to provide a high-level comparison of major PGS solution categories. Individual systems from different providers differ substantially in terms of costs, accuracy and value provided. Thus, this table aims to present a simplified view of “average” system in each category, based on the authors’ best information.

Cost benefit analysis observations

Wireless counting vs. per-space solutions:

  • Counting solutions in general (WLC & WC), and wireless counting in particular (WLC), present cost-efficient entrance-level PGS solutions, provided the limitations of counting solutions that we discussed earlier.

  • Counting solutions require less solution hardware to install and maintain, thus reducing the initial and hardware replacement and maintenance costs.
  • Counting solutions are much faster to install, they require least design and planning time.
  • However, counting solutions exhibit lower real-life accuracy and require regular manual space count and correction/reset of the PGS count, increasing the operational costs due to a need for regular human staff engagement.

  • Limited value generated by counting systems in high-utilization facilities significantly reduces the final “Solution Value” score for counting systems vs. per-space systems for this particular high-utilization garage example.

Wired ultrasonic solution with overhead per-space lights is less than optimal.

  • Overall “Solution Value” for wired ultrasonic solution with overhead per-space lights (WSPL) is reduced by the highest solution costs and longest installation times (relatively to other options). They also involve substantial design and planning time, with any post-installation changes leading to significant additional design and re-installation costs.

Per-space wireless PGS with Entrance (WLS) and Directional DMS (WLSD) present the best value for this particular facility vs other solution options:

  • vs. counting systems (WLC & WC) – due to the high-utilization nature of this facility, no need for manual resets.
  • vs. wired per-space systems (WSPL) – due to the lower solution cost, shorter installation times.
  • vs. other wireless PGS options (WLSD+OL & +OC) – due to higher costs but limited value contribution from adding overhead lights for such medium-sized facility with medium complexity driving patterns.

11 – Estimating PGS Economic Value Generation (NPV, ROI)

Modeling Value Generation

Specific value (NPV, ROI) that can be generated from installing a PGS system in a specific parking facility can be estimated based on several considerations and drivers, including:

  • Nature of the facility (free or paid parking)
  • Nature of the facility owner (e.g. enterprise vs. commercial parking operator)
  • Current facility utilization
  • Expected increase in facility’s utilization due to the PGS’s installation
  • PGS costs
  • Parking costs (for paid parking), implied value of people’s time (for free parking e.g. employees, customers, etc.)
  • Average base paid utilization for each space (for paid parking)

Generally, the PGS value generation can be broken in two major categories:

  • For free, enterprise or client parking, the value of time saved, a function of the average time saved per driver and the implied value of the driver, employee or client’s time
  • For paid parking, the value of the increased utilization of the parking facility, a function of average current utilization, PGS utilization boost %, and hourly parking rate.

Please see below several examples how some of these key parameters impact estimates of value generated for a typical 400-space high-utilization garage we considered in the section above by a typical Wireless Nwave PGS solution with directional DMS (WLSD):

Free Parking: Value Increase vs. Time Saved per day and Implied Value of Driver Time

NPV 10 Years


  • Current facility utilization: 90%
  • Hourly parking rate: none
Average Driver/Employee Saved per Day

Paid Parking: Value Increase vs. Paid Base Utilization and PGS Utilization Boost


  • Current facility utilization: Average Base Space Paid Utilization
  • Hourly parking rate: $2/hr

12 – Summary

Wireless PGS is a highly configurable, flexible, robust, and easy-to-install evolution from expensive and restrictive wired systems. Cloud-based PGS platforms streamline operations, improve revenue, increase asset use, and reduce emissions while making parking fast and easy. This, combined with the exponential growth of cars on the road and a significant push by smart cities to drive green sustainability initiatives, is expected to speed PGS adoption.

Next Steps

If you are thinking that Nwave Wireless PGS may be a good fit for your specific project, but still have questions, you may find our FAQ section to be a helpful resource. You may also want to reach out to us for a free consultation – it is our commitment to you to stay objective, when it comes to pro’s and con’s of different systems, drawing on years of our hands-on experience with a wide range of projects.

About Nwave

Nwave is powering the world’s leading tech enterprises and proptech projects. Because there are no cables, planning, and deployment are flexible and fast, with installation and launch typically requiring a tenth of the time of traditional systems. Initially designed for outdoor environments, wireless sensors are becoming increasingly popular in indoor environments due to the ease and simplicity of installation.

Learn more at:

1 Fact MR, April 2022
2 IoT Insider, October 2022
3 Global Market Insights
4 Future Market Insights Global and Consulting, June 2022
5 Precedence Research