The project puts the smart city concept into practice by developing a technology and connectivity platform that enables the creation of new electronic service systems. It was developed an innovative software product for comprehensive and intelligent parking management at city level (SM@RT CITY P@RKING). The innovative product developed by the project included the following modules:
- free space detection system;
- integration platform;
- control tool - control mobile application;
- tool for analysis of parking occupancy, contravention zones, control planning;
- digital / electronic services - portal for the public;
- mobile application for the public.
The project was implemented in the city of Sibiu.
There is no concrete information on any environmental effect of the project and whether it contributed to CO2 reduction. It is highly probable that already news about the system increased car traffic since drivers now believe that it will be easier to find a free parking space. The project tried to correct a market failure (too many cars for the existing number of parking spaces) with a technical development and public money instead of using proper market instruments to correct this failure. The solution would have been simple: the principle of free market should have been applied, i.e. the parking fees should have been adjusted so that at least 15% of the parking places would always be free within walking distance (this is also the recommendation of the European Parking Association). Thus, it was a big mistake to use public money for this project.
It is all the more regrettable that public money has been used to finance an activity which by far does not pay its full costs (see: https://transport.ec.europa.eu/transport-themes/sustainable-transport/internalisation-transport-external-costs_en).
5.981.489,00 RON (aprox 1.300.000,00 EURO), Operational Programme Competitiveness
In principle, it is a useful to invest in digitalization to enhance sustainability. However, no public money should be used to correct market failures in case these failures could be corrected by applying “the user pays” and “the polluter pays” principles. Our recommendation is to thoroughly analyze the results of this project, including its environmental implications, take the conclusions, and make the conclusions available so that no similar mistakes are committed in the future.
The SMART city concept has many possibilities and aspects and it is recommended to be used in an integrated way not only for one purpose, like in this case for traffic.