Parking first for Curtin with new bay-finding system

Curtin University is set to become the first Australian university to utilise artificial intelligence for parking availability.

Starting next semester, surveillance cameras will be used to see which bays are available, displaying the information on electronic boards at the many different entrances to campus.

Curtin University operations and maintenance director Graham Arndt praised this first as a mark of continual success and improvements to campus parking.  

“Yes this will put us ahead, we were the first to introduce pay-by-phone technology so that everybody will be able to use this system,” he said. 

“Parking income is being used to improve the parking experience.

“This helps students get to class on time, reduces congestion because people won’t be driving around looking for a bay.” 

Cellopark, a private parking system, arrived at Curtin five years ago after the university moved away from parking permits which many of the other universities in WA still have in place.

But Curtin’s pay-by-hour ranges from 76c to $3.45, proving to be more costly than ECU’s $45.55UWA’s $89 and Murdoch’s $120 parking permits per semester. 

Curtin Student Guild president Finlay Nolan said the new camera system was a double-edged sword because its implementation was still at the expense of students. 

“It will have a positive impact on the efficiency of finding parking and I think it is a good thing to put back (parking income) into making parking services better,” she said. 

“I think the issue will still remain of there not being enough parking.

“With a lot of students just barely scraping by, students can’t stay on campus in terms of social life or studying in the library without feeling the pressure of the pay-per-minute charges.” 

According to Mr Arndt, there has only been one day this year when the demand for parking has equalled the supply.

In February this year, Curtin announced the completion and opening of the Central Bus Station that facilitates up to 80 bus services during peak times and links the university from the CBD and its surrounding areas. 

Trial process underway at Hockey Stadium carpark. Photo Christopher Tan.

The bay-finding technology is currently undergoing various trials and alignments.

As a result, students may notice several parking lots blocked off in the many different zones. 

The project is understood to be on track for semester two.