Smart KielRegion model project: Smart City Eckernförde digitizes parking spaces


Eckernförde near Kiel in northern Germany uses IoT to optimize public parking and traffic conditions. This made it the Smart KielRegion model project. The lido in Eckernförde is popular, so traffic jams are the norm in summer. As a result, the city is partly forced to work according to the principle of “barriers against summer traffic jams”. Dataport is an IT service provider for northern German municipalities. In spring 2021, the city administration’s service provider first proposed an IoT-based parking solution to ease the traffic situation.

Smart KielRegion model project: Smart solution from Dataport

Dataport had already started building an IoT platform for various municipal application scenarios in 2019. This includes the monitoring of parking lots and traffic flows, which was relevant for Eckernförde. The model project was started at the beginning of 2021 with a needs survey.

Result: The Baltic Sea resort decided to register the occupied parking spaces and the free parking space and to display them in a mobile phone app. In addition, they wanted a dashboard for evaluation, planning and support for decisions within the administration. Another point: LED display boards should inform road users about free parking spaces.

Start recording the parking spaces

After the council meeting had given its approval, the model project of the Smart KielRegion started in June 2021. First, the large number of parking spaces had to be recorded. Different approaches were examined and it was decided to equip all pitches with their own sensors. Advantage of sensors: They can determine the parking space occupancy more precisely than counting loops and allow the detection of e-charging stations and barrier-free parking spaces. In addition, installation is easier.

There is no need for complex earthworks or a separate power supply. The mass of metal above the sensor is measured using an oscillating circuit with a coil and capacitor. The recording devices actually calibrate themselves. Nevertheless, it was necessary to adjust the sensors several times in the initial phase. For example, the carbon chassis of models like the BMW i3 caused difficulties. Later, one would also like to integrate data from the counting loops into the platform.

Real-time analysis thanks to processed data

Dataport has been working with the IT service provider it-novum since 2019 to set up its IoT platform. This is a specialist for IoT systems with open technologies. This includes, for example, the IoT platform ThingsBoard. This is the heart of the parking lot management. A local gateway secures data exchange between the devices counting loops and parking lot sensors ). The information is bundled here and passed on to the platform, where it is processed and enriched using ETL processes.

In the next step, the information is passed to a message queue. Among other things, this is responsible for the real-time capability. It also ensures that the information can be retrieved from the downstream systems according to their performance. ThingsBoard is the system for entity management and data processing and this is where it comes into play. This is where the data is processed for the city administration. The IoT information is displayed on a dashboard, making real-time analysis of the traffic and parking space situation possible. Dataport itself hosts the solution.

Smartphone app provides easy access

One of the goals of the project was that the citizens can use the solution as well as the city administration. The smartphone app “dParkingPartner” was developed for this purpose. It supports the search for the parking space of choice and for e-charging stations. Real-time data is used and the targeted destination is connected to the user’s navigation app. Online dashboards are also available as a second element. In the future, LED display panels will also be used. Due to a shortage of materials, these will not be installed until spring 2023. This will get you in time for the summer season.

Model project Smart KielRegion: Dataport uses experience for standardization

The experiences from the model project in the Kiel region Eckernförde help Dataport to further standardize the IoT platform. Especially for smaller towns sol

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