The last two days have been busy for team Tainan.
On Wednesday, we visited the National Freeway Traffic Control Center for Southern Taiwan. They showed us their command center where traffic conditions are monitored and controlled. They also described the array of tools they use to determine traffic conditions and requirements, including vehicle detectors, automatic vehicle identification, e-tags for tolling, closed-circuit TV, and automated sign displays for traffic times and routes. As Irv Lustig mentioned in the previous blog, we then drove out on the freeways and provincial roads to see the traffic conditions and tools first-hand.
Thursday was a great day where we learned about parking operations in Tainan. The Americans in the group had a hard time getting our heads around the on-street operation – parking spaces are not limited in time. The city simply charges for the amount of time spent on the street, and when a car moves away from the space, the meter stops. Meter maids issue parking slips to track cars and time, and they are bar-code scanned every hour that the car is on the street. The driver then simply takes the slip to a convenience store, where a kiosk scans the same bar code and indicates the amount charged. The bill can also be paid online.
We visited a new city public/private parking garage built underneath a major shopping street. Originally conceived as an indoor mall, the space is now a high-tech garage, with plans to install space-available indicators and even reservations by the end of the year. The reservation is a smartphone app that allows you to allocate a space in advance of arrival. The charge for the space starts from time of reservation, but it means you’ll have your space ready when you arrive and will be directed to it by low-energy bluetooth sensors throughout the garage which communicate with the smartphone app.
Day 4 concluded with a banquet along the Anping district river, complete with stinky tofu (plus many more-appetizing dishes), karaoke, and fireworks. A wonderful night with our hosts!