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2020-11-25
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Parking shortage inconveniences residents and Taipei City Government

Smart Transportation

Ulock system

Sharing economy-based parking solution

Highlights

  • Platform has opened up more than 1,500 private parking spaces in Taipei for use in off hours
  • Expansion to Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka in Japan creates income opportunities for owners of parking spaces and alleviates shortage

A salesman’s appointment with a potential client is scheduled to take place soon, but he cannot find a parking space in downtown Taipei after spending more than 30 minutes circling around the narrow streets. This is the daily challenge for thousands of motorists: finding a parking space in the capital, which has a serious lack of public parking spaces.

As of 2015, there were a total of 712,990 vehicles registered in Taipei alone. The city, however, has only 669,523 public parking spaces available.

The lack of parking has caused trouble not only for motorists, but also the Taipei City Government, which must constantly address residents’ complaints regarding the matter amid requests to build more parking lots to meet demand.

To solve this problem for all the parties involved, USPACE Tech Co. has come up with a solution. Inspired by the example of home-sharing services provider Airbnb Inc., the shared parking space start-up has found a business opportunity in connecting drivers with those who have spare parking spots. Its efforts not only save motorists a significant amount of time in finding a parking space in downtown Taipei, but also create extra income for owners of parking spaces.

App and remote-controlled lock free up idle parking spaces

USPACE has developed its own app and a smart lock device called the Ulock, which is used to prevent unauthorized parking. The Ulock can be easily installed, as it is bolted to the floor, and can be raised or lowered remotely, allowing owners to rent out their parking space and allow immediate access via the USPACE app. Its battery is designed to last three to six months before needing to be recharged, freeing parking space owners from the need to constantly manage the device.

The app also allows drivers looking for parking to see the location and availability of all parking spaces in the system. Once a space is selected and paid for, the lock is lowered via an Artificial Intelligence of Things interface when the vehicle approaches. If a user has overstayed the time they have paid for in the parking space, the app will not only notify them and the space’s owner, but also the police to tow the vehicle if necessary.

Partnership with Chunghwa Telecom enables the use of cutting-edge technologies

As part of ongoing efforts to improve its services, USPACE has entered a partnership with Taiwan’s largest telecommunications services provider, Chunghwa Telecom Co., to take advantage of the latest pre-5G and Narrowband Internet of Things technology to more easily connect and operate the locks remotely.

USPACE’s approach to the sharing economy is also benefiting Taipei and realizing a goal set in 2015 by Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, who proposed introducing the sharing economy concept to improve transportation in the city.

Additional parking spaces alleviate shortage and save city government millions of dollars

Since 2016, USPACE has worked with the Taipei City Parking Management and Development Office to provide a platform through which residents of apartment buildings can rent out their unused personal parking spaces. Thanks to this collaboration, today there are more than 70 apartment buildings in the city offering more than 1,500 parking spaces in off hours.

By freeing those unused private parking spaces, the platform is helping to resolve the parking issue in Taipei, creating a win-win situation, said Allen Song, founder and chief executive officer of USPACE.

The city government has not spent a dollar in the collaboration with USPACE and could potentially save millions of dollars that would be needed to create more parking spaces, Song said.

Export of technology to Japan met with growing adoption

Following its success in Taipei, USPACE has entered a partnership with Taiwan’s largest parking management company, ALTOB, to export the technology it has developed to Japan, where public parking spaces are even more rare. Japanese law stipulates that to buy and register a vehicle with the police, people must provide proof that they have a parking space, creating a huge discrepancy between private and public-owned parking.

An autonomous parking system that uses USPACE’s app and Ulock technology can now be found in Fukuoka, the capital of Fukuoka Prefecture, and in some areas of Tokyo and Osaka, as more Japanese are beginning to see the benefits of the parking space sharing economy model.

With its solid technological foundation, USPACE has begun venturing into the field of electric and self-driving vehicles. It has already started to install electric vehicle charging stations in select areas of Taipei.

Leaning on its core business, it is also developing technology to allow self-driving vehicles to automatically find parking spaces, as well as an automated parking system.

 

Uspace Tech Co., Ltd.

https://www.uspace.city/

Smart Transportation

Ulock system

Selling points:

  • Low cost — equipment investment significantly less than creating new parking infrastructure
  • Automated alerts notify drivers and owners when vehicle has overstayed its rented time, as well as police if towing is required
  • Ulock designed to operate for three to six months without charging
  • App helps drivers find and book available parking spaces
  • Provides owners of idle parking spaces an additional revenue stream
  • Helps to alleviate parking shortages in dense urban areas
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