Santander Smart Parking Challenge


Finding a parking space, in particular in dense urban areas, is one of the most common transport related problems of cities of all size.

Studies show that each year car drivers in Europe and North America spend tens of hours per year only searching for parking spaces[1], which has huge environmental, economic and health impact.

Santander city is not an exception. However, the city is actively looking for means to improve parking in the city center and to optimize the parking space usage among the drivers by guiding them in real time to most adequate parts of the city.


Specific requirements

The city wishes to work with partners who can help it understand, analyse and optimize the parking space usage in the city. The city wishes to improve the citizen experience in finding parking spaces and reducing its environmental impact. The city is in particular interested in

  • Analysis of the parking space usage in different places and time periods
  • Analysis of historic data real time parking space usage data
  • Prediction of parking space availabilities in given areas and given time of the day/week/month/year.
  • Providing real-time guidance to drivers to available parking spaces or zones with more available parking spaces.

Infrastructure/data available

Santander city has an extensive testing environment (aka SmartSantander) open to experiments of innovative ideas aiming at improving the quality of life of its citizens. Until now, the testbed has supported more than 30 experiments involving more than 100 experimenters. Furthermore, it has been used by several companies, and used in different events, such as hackathons or summer schools, as well as part of national and international research projects.

About 400 parking sensors, buried under the asphalt have been installed at main parking areas of the city center, in order to detect parking lot availability in these zones. Ten panels located at the main streets’ intersections have been installed in order to guide drivers towards the available parking lots so cars energy consumption should decrease as well as CO2 emissions.

Additionally, the SmartSantander testbed includes around 3000 IEEE 802.15.4 devices, 200 devices including GPS/GPRS capabilities and 2600 joint RFID tag/QR code labels deployed both at static locations (streetlamps, facades, bus stops) as well as on-board of public vehicles (buses, taxis) a wide IoT infrastructure is already deployed around the city. Around 2000 IoT devices installed (mainly at the city centre), at streetlamps and facades, are provided with different sensors, which offer measurements on different environmental parameters, such as temperature, CO, noise and luminosity. Apart from measuring parameters at static points, 150 devices located at public vehicles (buses, taxis) retrieve environmental parameters such as CO, NO2, O3, particulate matters, temperature and humidity. Around 50 devices have been deployed in two green zones of the city, to monitor irrigation-related parameters, such as moisture temperature and humidity, pluviometer, anemometer, solar radiation, pressure and humidity, in order to make irrigation as efficient as possible. The testbed also includes a set of devices deployed throughout the city to measure the electromagnetic field and the impact of different wireless networks, such as Wi-Fi, UMTS or GSM. Additionally, SmartSantander supports the usage of LoRa-enabled devices, providing LoRaWAN coverage in the city of Santander.

Value to the city

Efficient management of parking spaces have numerous benefits for the city and its citizens

  • Positive impact on the environment, reduced CO2 emissions caused by the traffic jam generated by vehicles looking for parking spaces
  • Positive impact on the citizen’s health, reduced stress, better air quality
  • Positive impact on the economy, less time wasted in traffic jams, more economic activities, knowing that 60% of drivers have given up on an activity recently due to the difficulty of finding parking