Parking & Mobility, July 2021

Page 48

UPGRADING THE MESSAGE

range from 6 to 20mm, with a lower pitch number offering higher resolution due to more closely spaced LEDs. As a result, such signs can be made in almost any size. Examples are provided below showing how full matrix, full color LED signs can be used in parking systems. Notice how these signs provide significantly more flexible characters, colors, and layouts. Furthermore, some models can provide scrolling text or images to compress more information into the same screen space, or they can even be shaped into curved form factors. Another hidden benefit of these signs is that they can allow for much simpler encasement—no longer does a sign encasement need to be painted or labeled with static lettering or arrows. All content can now be digital and variable. This provides the ability to standardize all sign formats and vary the content depending on where they are used, which can lead to much easier procurement and maintenance. It also allows decisions about signage content to be made later in the design process, which offers increased flexibility in the installation phase. However, full matrix, full color LED signs are not a panacea. They are still somewhat more costly than

traditional signs, are more complex to control, and consume more power. Additionally, the content must be carefully designed to reflect the message to be conveyed in a meaningful and actionable manner.

Other New Signage Technologies In addition to modern LED technology, there have been some clever innovations using its first cousin, LCD Displays. LED and LCD technologies actually have many similarities—an LED display actually still uses some LCD technology in it but it uses a different lighting source. Several PARCS vendors have incorporated large LCD screens on their entry stations and pay-on-foot machines, some of which have touchscreen capability to display parking pricing and availability and to allow user-friendly payment. Also, one APGS vendor has introduced a very large format LCD monument-style sign to provide colorful, flexible, guidance and wayfinding information. We expect to see LCD technology continue to be used in appropriate use cases.

Questions to Ask When Considering Digital Signage for Parking and Transportation Systems Here are some high-value questions to ask when considering acquiring and deploying digital signage technology in your parking or transportation facilities: ■  Where and how many digital signs are need-

Examples of fullmatrix, full-color LED Wayfinding and Parking Signs PHOTOS COURTESY OF DAKTRONICS, CLEVERCITI AND INDECT

46 PARKING & MOBILITY / JULY 2021 / PARKING-MOBILITY.ORG

ed? Too few signs provide inadequate guidance information, but too many signs can be distracting or confusing. A good rule of thumb is to place signs at what are known as driver decision points, i.e. locations where a driver decides whether to proceed, turn, or reroute. ■  How flexible do you want the information shown by your digital signs to be? On the one hand, if your use case is very simple and you believe it is not subject to future changes, simple traditional digital signs may be suitable. On the other hand, if you anticipate changes in your future parking layouts or wayfinding scenarios, spending more on flexible modern digital LED/LCD signs may save you substantial money down the road. ■  Have you compared the cost of using traditional digital signage and requiring custom-made enclosures vs. the cost of using modular LED signage with minimal or no extra enclosures?