Parking & Mobility, July 2021

Page 49

Examples of a PARCS Pay-onFoot Machine and APGS signs using LCD technology PHOTOS COURTESY OF SKIDATA AND PARKASSIST,

Some modern LED and LCD signs can be mounted and display needed information without any outer encasement and without needing static words or symbols such as level numbers, directional arrows, etc. Sometimes the higher cost of the LED/LCD sign display elements may be offset by the savings from not needing a custom enclosure. ■  Have you planned for the power and communications connections that digital signs will need? All digital signs, both traditional and newer, require power and data communications. Some run only on low voltage DC power, others on 120/240VAC, and some can accept either kind of power. Traditional signs tend to use RS-485 low-speed data communications over twisted pair, while modern LED signs usually use TCP/IP over CAT6 wiring or LTE/5G cellular modems. Planning properly up front for power and data requirements can save rework and extra expense later. ■  Are there code or other similar guidelines that govern where and how you can use digital signage? This issue is most applicable to signs that are visible externally to a parking facility, such as curbside or roadway signs. Many governmental bodies and even private developments have codes or other guidelines governing signage appearance, brightness, etc. Be sure

you are aware of these requirements and their implications on your signage choices prior to procurement. ■  Have you verified the compatibility of your chosen signs with your PARCS and APGS systems? The most amazing signage in the world may be rendered useless if your PARCS/APGS system cannot control it! When choosing signage, ask many questions about how the signage content and messaging are controlled. For example, can they only be controlled by the PARCS or APGS if the signs are bought from the same PARCS/APGS manufacturer? Or do the signs offer a more open control standard or API that enables their content to be flexibly managed by a wider variety of systems? What sort of content customization features are available to allow you to control the signage color palette, layout, character size, graphics, and other content. ◆ * Figures provided by vendors are used with permission and are for illustrative purposes only. Inclusion of these figures does not constitute an endorsement of these vendors.

PETER FILICE is a senior consultant with Walker Consultants. He can be reached at