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Enabling district shared parking via energy harvesting wireless sensing technology

Participants:

Professor Joshua Smith (PI)
Alex Brennan, senior planner, Capitol Hill Housing
Zerina Kapetanovic, graduate student, electrical engineering
Saman Naderiparizi, graduate student, electrical engineering

There is a growing body of evidence in the urban planning community that as a society, we are building many more parking spaces than are actually needed, because so many parking spaces are unused most of the time. For example, most new urban apartment buildings are constructed with a dedicated parking spot for each apartment, but many of these spots are empty during the work week. This inefficient use of resources contributes to a host of secondary problems, from increased emissions to higher rent.

Urban planners at Capitol Hill Housing (CHH), together with University Washington (UW) engineers, are working to address this problem by enabling District Shared Parking: sharing parking spots fluidly across garages in a neighborhood. To enable District Shared Parking, an inexpensive, energy efficient, and accurate network of sensors is needed to provide information about unused parking spots.

Professor Joshua Smith and his team are using their battery-free wireless sensor technology to enable district shared parking. As a part of a 2016 Embedded Systems Capstone course taught by Prof. Smith, UW undergraduates confirmed that new magnetometer chips, developed for phones, could do the same job as large, expensive-to-install magnetic loop sensors used to detect cars. Professor Smith’s lab has developed energy harvesting and ultra-low power wireless communication technologies that can connect such sensors to the internet without batteries.

Through the Amazon Catalyst Fellowship, Professor Smith and his team will create and test the first battery-free district shared parking demonstration system in CHH-owned garages.