Belfast shopping centre uses variable message signs linked to embedded road sensors to direct traffic to available parking places.
Swarco Traffic has installed an innovative new parking guidance system at one of Northern Ireland’s premier shopping centres, Abbey Centre, Belfast. The investment is part of a major rebrand and redevelopment to attract new retailers and further enhance the customer experience.
A combination of seven Variable Message Signs (VMS) and seven car parking count sensors were commissioned and installed by Swarco as part of the contract. The technologies combine to alert visitors to where spaces are available, helping to reduce congestion, improve convenience, and ease the customer journey. Abbey Centre attracts some 115,000 visitors every week, and provides 1,265 free car parking spaces.
The signs and sensors were strategically installed both outside and inside the car park to direct drivers appropriately and ensure they park safely and efficiently. The sensors also automatically report to the relevant VMS on how many spaces are available at each of the centre’s car parks, bringing greater convenience.
Mark Stewart, Centre Manager at Abbey Centre, says the installation was at a key retail period and therefore required the utmost efficiency: “Swarco designed, installed and managed the process seamlessly with all works occurring out of hours to minimise inconvenience to shoppers, retailers and all stakeholders.
“The entire process was effortless – the company’s experience knowledge and enthusiasm for the project was apparent from the start,” he adds.
Additionally, Swarco implemented its PGS Management software that communicates directly to the centre’s management via GPRS. Key strategic information is made available to inform the client’s decision making, and ensuring they are aware of the centre’s peak times – so that the messages displayed can be amended accordingly.
Jeremy Cowling, Managing Director at Swarco, says the installation ran very smoothly: “The team installed and commissioned all of the signage and detectors over four days, working overnight to complete the project ahead of schedule,” he says. “Now installed, Abbey Centre has been able to swiftly move on to undertake the rest of its upgrades as planned.”