Sms Parking Network Architecture Computer Science Essay

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Mauritius is a small island with limited resources. It has an increasingly growing population rate as a result of rise in quality of service provided and high standard of living. This is putting extreme pressure on its limited resources.

The increase in the number of vehicles used in the island has forced Mauritian government to build new roads and highways in order to ease the congestion. But with the limited amount of land available and the ever-growing number of vehicles have resulted in traffic jam, accidents and parking problems. It has become very difficult for law officers to control the increasing flow of cars in and out of urban areas.

In order to cope with the above stated problems and help municipal councils and police officers to regulate the traffic in towns and plan a better parking structure, a study of SMS Parking System (SPS) has been made. SMS Parking System has been a great success in many big cities worldwide such as in Muscat, London, Zagreb and Belgrade. SPS has led to many advantages like low administrative costs, few people needed on site, a reduction in the municipal council cost, immediate income reporting, among many others.

The SPS will facilitate the usage of parking areas in the cities of Mauritius and will help people know where and which parking is available. People will not have to go to buy parking tickets. People who will not be registered also can use the SPS to park their vehicles and after the confirmed message received in the user's mobile phone, the amount charged is immediately deducted from his prepaid account.

The increasing number of private vehicles all over the world has made it very difficult for people nowadays to search for a suitable place to park their vehicles. To come up with a solution to this problem, intensive research is being carried out in many developed countries in order to make maximum utilization of Advanced Car Park systems. Because this would help people to get information beforehand about empty car park spaces before they reach the location physically. Moreover, these countries are investigating also about a proper way to facilitate the payment mode to the car park facilities.

Today's challenge is to offer a parking payment solution to drivers which provides them with peace of mind that they will not receive heavy fines, and that they do not need to search for small change or coupon parking each time they park.

Municipalities and parking authorities also need better and more flexible solutions which offer detailed reporting facilities and which are not prone to vandalism and routine malfunctioning. They also require a better means of evaluating whether a car is in violation of the parking restriction or not.

Today mobile phones have reached such a wide penetration of the world's population that for most people, it is the only item that they will not leave the house without. Banks, retail stores, advertisers, and large corporate organizations are taking advantage of this fact and turning to mobile marketing and mobile ticketing solutions.

This project aims to propose a parking system based on mobile phones in order to make the optimal usage of parking facilities in a densely populated area of Mauritius called Port-Louis. During weekdays, Port-Louis is crowded with influx of vehicles from all over the island. People waste a lot of time and fuel in searching for car park. As a result, they come to work late and during tea breaks they have to go to fill for coupon parking. Moreover, inappropriate car park may result in traffic jam and accidents. At present, there is no SMS based system in use for parking. Traditional methods such as parking coupons are being used for the car park.

In order to propose the SMS based parking system, a study was made for different car park scenarios in many different countries worldwide. Before going deeper into design specifications, it is important to understand and become familiar with the following technical terms:

what SMS is,

how it works, and

a brief about SMS parking.

What SMS stands for?

Short Message Service (SMS) is a communication service that allows the interchange of short text messages between mobile telephone devices. SMS is also often referred to as texting, sending text messages or text messaging. The service allows for short text messages to be sent from one cell phone to another cell phone or from the Web to another cell phone. Including spaces, text messages traditionally can't exceed 160 characters.  SMS messages often use T9 Predictive Technology. T9 makes text messaging faster and more efficient on non-Qwerty cell phones without full keyboards.  

SMS text messaging is the most widely used data application on the planet, with 2.4 billion active users, or 74% of all mobile phone subscribers sending and receiving text messages on their phones. The SMS technology has facilitated the development and growth of text messaging. The connection between the phenomenon of text messaging and the underlying technology is so great that in parts of the world the term "SMS" is used as a synonym for a text message or the act of sending a text message, even when a different protocol is being used.

How the SMS actually works?

The Short Message Service is a standardized service in the GSM mobile communication system which allows messages to be broadcast to all mobile users in a specified geographical area. Messages are sent to a Short Message Service Centre (SMSC) which provides a store-and-forward mechanism. It attempts to send messages to their recipients. If a recipient is not reachable, the SMSC queues the message for later retry. Users may request delivery reports to confirm that messages reach the intended recipients.

To better understand how the SMS travels from the mobile phone to the SMSC Figure 1.1 and Figure 1.2 was made. On this figure you can see which protocols are used and which GSM network entities take place in the communication process. As shown, the mobile phone (Mobile station) transmits the SMS message to the GSM base station (BTS) through a wireless link. Then the message goes though the backbone network of the service provider. The Mobile Switching Center (MSC), the Home Location Register (HLR) and optionally the Visitor Location Register (VLR) is used to find out the appropriate Short Message Service Center (SMSC) that will store and forward the message when the receiving party becomes available.

Figure 1.1 shows architecture of SMS

Figure 1.2 shows block diagram of architecture of SMS

What Parking SMS is?

SMS parking is a platform which allows people to pay the parking via SMS. User has to send a SMS from his mobile phone to a certain number. After verification, the user receives a confirmation message about the parking information. A notification message is sent to the user just before the expiry of the parking time.

Literature Review

A research was conducted in order to see what other countries are doing to solve this problem. We will concentrate more on the different methods that they are adopting and then we will take the one that will most suit Mauritius. Furthermore, it can be noticed that whatever method a country may adopt will depend how easily it can convey parking information to its people. Moreover, mobile technology is the most accepted technology nowadays.

PARKING GUIDANCE SYSTEMS (PGS)

In the article of Lauren Smith and Hans Roth, it has been noted that drivers often congest the traffic flow while searching for parking spaces in highly dense areas. This results in time and fuel wasting. In order to alleviate the problem, Intelligent parking systems is used to guide people from congested areas to nearest empty parking spaces. This system provides also information about the position and number of spaces available within a parking structure.

The PGS system gives information to drivers about vacant parking spaces by using message signs. For example, if parking area is full, the message sign will display "FULL" on the main board. This will prevent drivers from entering the area. If there are vacant parking spaces then the number of parking available is displayed on the main board. The picture below shows the number of available parking spaces.

The number of parking spaces that is available in each facility is fetched from sensors that calculate the number of cars entering and leaving the parking spaces. This information is sent to the main server that processes it, determining the locations of available parking.

The PGS is also used to guide car drivers to the nearest parking area by displaying the sign "Parking" and its direction. For example, the picture below shows a parking sign with its direction.

This system of car park has been used in many big countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Japan and so on. One thing can be noted about this system being implemented in each of these countries. They have used the same concept but they have implemented it differently. This can be shown as follows:

The PGS was designed in St Paul, US to improve traffic and ease the search of parking in downtown. A central computer system obtains information from 10 different parking facilities, processes it and sends it to LED-based Variable Message Signs (VMS). A VMS is a large 4-digit LED display housed in an outdoor enclosure that clearly shows the availability of car parking spaces.

In Pittsburgh which is also found in US, has a PGS that consists of a series of linked signs that guide drivers not only to parking facilities but also to special attractions in the area.

In Europe, e-parking is used as a parking management system that relies upon mobile phone technology. It enables drivers to obtain early information on available parking spaces so that they can reserve spots at desired times.

The conveniences of e-parking are achieved through parking space optimization service (PSOS). The PSOS can:

check the number of empty parking spaces in a certain area or at a certain time of a day;

reserve a parking space in an area on a certain time or day;

help drivers find parking spaces through PGS systems; and

interact with other systems to book parking spaces (i.e. near a cinema)

In UK, the Bristol system guides drivers to available parking spaces inside a three multistory parking facilities, with a combined total of 2,645 spaces. Sensors are used to detect empty spaces. This information is transmitted to a main server which shows the number of available spaces on each floor through VMS. This is used to guide the drivers to empty parking slots. In this way, the system software has the ability to process the information that is received so that it can forecast when a particular facility will be full and accordingly divert drivers to other facilities.

Japan having a population density of 340,000 makes the use of Advanced Parking Information Systems. This is used in order to make optimal usage of parking facilities. Information is conveyed in the following ways in this city: 

Information about traffic congestion, road unavailability and parking facilities is given over phone. 

VMS is used to guide drivers to the parking facilities. 

Other message signs show drivers way to a named parking facility. 

Message signs at entrance of parking facilities.

Information on congestion and parking availability can be obtained also from answering machines (phones) and via the Internet. In this way, useful and precious information can be quickly and easily be transmitted to the drivers.

In the above scenarios, it is mentioned about either reserving or guiding drivers to parking spaces. But if the parking space is too big, then drivers might lose their way and this can cause congestion within parking facilities too. In order to avoid this problem, VMS is used also inside parking facilities to guide drivers to the nearest empty parking spaces. Sensors are used in each parking space to determine whether it is occupied. Then this information is sent to the VMS via the central computer. In this way, the parking facility remains uncongested.

In Baltimore/Washington Airport, the "BWI Smart Park" system is a programmed parking guidance system that is a user friendly system and quickens the search for empty parking slots. Sensors found in each parking space control the occupancy status of each slot by updating the illuminated electronic "way-findings" signs that are found at the ends of each parking row with three different colors. Green arrows indicate vacant spaces while red Xs indicate lanes where no spaces are available. Blue lights direct drivers to accessible parking areas.

These advanced car park systems also provide advanced, electronic payment options for the customers. The idea behind these electronic payment options is to prevent the customers from having to wait in long queues to buy a ticket. "Queues can cause congestion in areas within and outside of parking facilities" are according to Lauren Smith and Hans Roth article (Smith and Roth, 2003). Therefore, the PGS provides the following advantages:

Benefits of PGS

Time and fuel consumption are saved while drivers will no more search for empty parking slots.

Congestion on roads is reduced to a certain extent because fewer drivers will be out for searching of parking spaces. 

Queues are eliminated at entrance of parking facilities as drivers will not go where the parking area is already filled up. 

This reduces vehicles to be parked illegally. Fine charged to these drivers as a result reduces also. 

The parking area is better distributed among vehicles.

This kind of system increases revenues for parking facilities. 

SMS-based ticket service for Helsinki City Transport

This method of parking found during a two-day trial in Helsinki city was based on mobile technology. People willing to travel on the city's green trams and metro service have to buy the tickets through their mobile phones. During these two days, the ticket was especially priced and was valid for a full day of travel

The people using this technology did not face any problem to buy the ticket. It takes only a couple of seconds to receive the ticket. The network and technology works together without any hitches.

According to Mr Seppo Vepsalainen, Planning Director of Helsinki City Transport, "buying and getting tickets via the mobile will make public transport more accessible to the general public, especially the younger commuters and tourist".

The above statement shows that people will be encouraged to travel through public transport. Thus, this will help to decrease the demand for private vehicles and this will lead in a reduction of traffic jam.

Cutting the search time for Parking space

This section talks about the funding of an e-parking project by multinational companies. This will make the buying of parking spaces through mobile phones possible. This will also allow drivers to pay beforehand for the available parking space. The driver will be given an access code soon after he finishes paying. The access code will allow the driver to park his vehicle when he enters the parking slot. The validation code is sent to the database by using Bluetooth technology. The figure 2.1 below shows how system actually works.

Figure 2.1

This project is expected to yield long term benefits after its completion. The costs incurred by the parking authorities will be reduced as they will have to employ less people to check for unauthorized parking of vehicles and to sell tickets at the counter. As a result, this will boost up the revenue of the parking facility tremendously. The drivers of the vehicles will also benefit as they will no longer waste their time for searching of empty spaces both inside and outside the parking facility. People will not look for small change when leaving the parking space as they will be paying electronically. 

Parking Meters

Parking meters refer to coin-operated devices that register the amount of time purchased for the parking of a motor vehicle, at the expiration of which the driver is liable for a fine. Meters are convenient for parking inspectors to check since the meter shows the prepaid time remaining, or whether it has been expired. However, there are many disadvantages to meters: the driver needs to prepare small change or cash in advance which means that he has to predict in advance for how long he will be parked. Municipalities have to cover the overhead outlay for the infrastructure of the meters, which fill up with quickly with coins and need to be emptied regularly by the parking authorities. Parking meters are prone to theft and vandalism.

Scratch Cards

These are prepaid parking cards bought from retailers with various date and time options which can be scratched off. The card is then displayed in the car window while parked. Scratch cards are believed to be less prone to fraud and vandalism, but they too have many disadvantages. The cards need to be bought in advance and drivers will usually overestimate the amount of time they will be parked so as to avoid from heavy fines. Different scratch cards are needed for each city and are only available for purchase in the specified city which makes it difficult to purchase them in advance. There is no possibility for remote extension of parking time with scratch cards.

What will you choose?

Many countries such as London, Oman, Dubai and Czech Republic have run trial periods and many have gone to embrace the technology. When parking the driver simply has to send as SMS to a given number and on receiving a confirmed message, he can park his vehicle. The payment is done through the driver mobile phone.

With mobile parking solutions, there is no need for the driver to prepare cards or coins in advance. Overpayments are avoided since the drivers do not have to predict how long they will be parked. If the mobile parking makes the use of prepayment, the driver is able to top up the payment if necessary from wherever they are sending by sending another text message and can even be warned in advance when the payment for their parking is about to expire.

Despite the many advantages of parking via mobile, there are many disadvantages associated with it. Firstly, the driver has to have a mobile phone. However, today almost all people have at least one mobile phone with them while travelling. Mobile phone has become a must in today's world.

Moreover, statistics show that the many of the elder generation are not familiar with SMS services that are used for parking vehicles via mobile phone. But the trend is rapidly changing. This problem can also be solved by using IVR system instead of texting - where the end user calls a number in order to start or stop the service.

Finally, there are sometimes delays in SMS that is in times of high load of the cellular operator, SMS messages are queued, and wait in line at the gateway. Such delays can then result in fines from enforcement agents. Realistically, these delays are few and far between.

Parking inspectors type the car's license plate number into a PDA, or type in the car's license plate number using a secured WAP portal in order to check parking validity.

Mobile Phone Parking offers both drivers and parking operators several distinct advantages. End users benefit from the convenience of being able to pay for parking from the comfort of their car with their mobile phone, and parking authorities are not obliged to invest either existing or new street-based parking infrastructure.

In summary, the advantages of mobile parking are as follows:

The system is easily implemented and easy to use for all parties involved.

Will result in increased revenues for the municipalities or parking authorities as well as increased savings on parking for drivers.

Reduces municipality costs for infrastructure.

Simplifies revenue collection.

Improves reporting, monitoring and control.

Reduces fraud.

Customers can send SMS from anywhere he likes provided there is network connection.

Renewal of parking time from any location.

Reduction of risking a parking fine.

More secure parking procedure.

No more of printing parking permits.

No ticket loss problem.

No need for queuing on parking exit in order to pay for parking tickets.

Provides drivers with a simple, cost-effective, flexible parking payment solution.

The technology that we have chosen is parking through mobile phone because of the above advantages and its simplicity. It costs lesser than other sophisticated technology and easy to implement. Mobile phone is user friendly and people cannot think of living without it.

Software Implementation Procedure

Fact Findings

A survey of the location Port-Louis was conducted which has led to the following observations:

Parking in Port-Louis is possible with ticket.

These tickets can be bought at gas stations. They are valid for either half-hour or one hour and must be filled by the driver when he parks the car. One of the tickets is shown in the figure 2 below.

There are two different zones and depending on the zone parking is either 10 or 20 Rupees an hour.

There is parking area in Caudan Waterfront where when you enter, you have to take a ticket that will be used later to pay for the parking place. This is a secure parking place.

Multilevel car parking can also be found. Similar to the one mentioned above, while exiting the parking lot, you will have to pay.

There is currently no facility of buying the tickets electronically.

Vehicles have to queue up in order to make payment.

The driver needs to prepare small change or cash in advance which means that he has to predict in advance for how long he will be parked.

There is no means to provide the drivers with the exact location of the vacant car parking.

Figure 2

How the System should be?

The system will be called SMS Parking System (SPS). The SPS system will consist of Registration Module, Administration Module and Reporting Module. Registration Module will allow people who seek daily parking to register online. These are the people who are working in the current city or organizations operating in the region. Registration is mandatory in this case because people can benefit from parking for longer periods of time. The administrator will verify and approve the online application forms.

Such kind of registration is not necessary for the public as they will not be parked for longer periods every day. General public will only send SMS to a number indicated near the parking slot if they need to park. These people do not come to the city everyday or often.

The administration module will record all the references such as site, location and street of parking, different types of zones, company Info, occupational Info, types of vehicles and user details for people who registers online. These are set-up parameters that are needed when deploying the SPS system.

There are other screens where the parking Id is associated with different rates, Zones and parking types. Parking types can be either reserved (for companies), permanent (for people working in the current city) or public (where anybody can park). There are people or organization that can apply for the reserve type parking online for certain day/s. In this case, please note that no SMS should be sent as a bill will be issued every month for the duration applied. But the administrators will decide in the end if the application is approved or not. Valid reasons should be there in case of rejection.

For permanent parking, the person has to send SMS everyday to a specified number saved in his phone book. The System will be checked against a list of registered mobile phone numbers. If the person exists, then only the message will be processed as permanent and the former can specify also the number of hours he needs to park his vehicle. In this way, the user can benefit from longer durations of parking.

For public parking, the procedure is somewhat similar. The difference is that the person has to send SMS to a number specified on the parking plate and one SMS lasts for one hour only. In this case, the System is not checked against a list of registered people.

There will be also a transaction form that will record the daily parking for the public and for people working in the city. This form cannot be modified by anybody. These are recorded by sending messages through mobile phones. There will be two different transaction tables: one for the public and the other one for private. Administrators also cannot modify the data found in these two tables via forms. Audit trails will be recorded for any modification of system parameters.

Finally, the reporting module will consist of reports that will help the municipality to see the different statistics based on the data captured. As a result, they will be able to take immediate action after analysis of the reports generated.

In brief, the System will look as follows:

Reference Module

Maintain of Location

Maintain of Streets

Maintain of Zones

Maintain of Parking Types

Maintain of Occupation Info

Maintain of Company Info

Maintain of User Details for Business

Maintain types of Vehicles

Record of Parking Info

Associate different zones, rates and parking types with the parking Id.

Allocate the private parking to business people

Transaction Table

Recording of daily parking for public

Recording of daily parking for business purposes

Registration Module

Online application for business parking with different number of plates to a mobile number

Verification and Approval of parking

Re-allocation of parking

Reporting Module

The number of parking used per day

The number of parking not used per day

The amount of money charged per day

The number of parking used between periods

Fines receipts used by officers

The number of fines issued in per day

Business Logic

Public will send SMS to the system in a specific format:

"Parking no Vehicle Registration number" to a certain number.

Permanent people will be given a number that will be saved in their phone book. Their SMS format will differ from public and will look like this:

"Parking no Vehicle Registration number Duration" to either business number.

For registration people, monthly bill will be sent to home address or office address depending on the user preference when applying for parking.

For public, the amount will be deducted after receiving the confirmed SMS.

Each parking slot will be identified by a unique number. In this way, people will know the information about an available parking slot by sending "ParkInfo@Location" to a number that will be published on the website with other steps and facilities for the users to better use the system.

Hardware, Software and Network Setup

Description

The hardware for the SMS Parking System is located in a custom-Built data center that is built and maintained by Trio Company. The data center is fully secured and has the following features:

It is back-up by a diesel or petrol generator in case there is a power cut.

It has internet connections from two different backbone providers in order to ensure multi-homed bandwidth and continuous connectivity.

The center is also connected over a secure VLAN connection to three major mobile operators namely Orange, Emtel and MTML.

The data center has an automatic climate control system with camera surveillance.

The access to data center is restricted and controlled.

The back-end system comprises of the following:

Router

The CISCO Router connects to the different Internet providers and establishes the VLANs with the mobile operators.

Switch

UPS

There are two UPS devices are cross-connected to each piece of server and network equipment on the rack to ensure continuous power supply in case of UPS malfunction.

Tape Back-up

Log server (Intrusion Detection System)

The Log server is a security server which is responsible for logging all network traffic, web server and database activity, security monitoring and reporting. It is connected to the tape back-up device and makes a differential backup of recent logs (logs and database) to the tape.

Web Server

The web application is deployed in web server. Port 443 (SSL) of the web server is made accessible over the internet (assigned to a static, real IP address) and is used primarily for communication with the PDA devices used by the controlling officers in-field. Communication with the mobile operators is also done on port 443 but over secure VLAN (and restricted by internal IP address).

Database Server

The database server contains the database of the system which records data. Connections to the database are allowed only from the Web Server machine, over SSL, on a non-standard port, restricted by IP, and after proper authentication. No other services run on the Database Server.

Monitor, Keyboard & mouse

This is used for the user to communicate with the server.

Printer

This is used to print reports or other information from the server.

Interaction of the SMS parking system

There are 3 possible ways in which the system will interact with different people:

Public, administrators and controlling organization

The public can register through web. The administrators will approve the application and control and maintain the SMS parking system. The controlling organization will generate reports.

Controlling officers

The controlling officers will use their PDA devices for querying and updating the server with information associated with a specific License Plate number or Phone number.

Mobile operators

The system will communicate with mobile operators for the exchange of incoming and outgoing SMS. The system will communicate via SMPP protocol and exchange SMS as XML messages. Therefore there will be two java APIs: one for receiving SMS from (SMSC) mobile operators and the other one for sending the SMS to the (SMSC) to the mobile operators.

The SMS parking will cost Rs (SMS cost + parking rate) and there are two parking zones in Mauritius. With each sent SMS, the client is charged their standard SMS tariff (determined by their mobile operator) plus the parking fee of Rs xxx should the transaction be successful. The working hours are from 09:00 to 16:30, Monday through Friday, and from 09:00 to 12:00 on Saturday.

In general, the SMS payment process abides by the following pattern:

Client sends SMS message containing the license plate number of the vehicle they wish to park, the parking number and duration. Messages are sent to a unified short-number (1302) regardless of the mobile operator.

Mobile operator receives SMS and relays it to SMS System via SMPP.

SMS System does preliminary validation of the message and (if everything is OK) attempts to charge the owner of the phone number from which the SMS originated.

If the owner has been charged successfully, SMS System extends the vehicle's parking time by 1 hour and sends a confirmation SMS via SMPP to the mobile operator.

The mobile operator receives SMS and relays it to the client's mobile device.

5 minutes before the expiration time, SMS System sends a reminder SMS to the client, informing them when their parking time expires and how they can extend it.

The Proposed System

Design Description

The outcome of implementing such a project as described above may not be successful although this has been accepted almost all over the world. There should always be some trial before the full implementation of such project because there is a large amount of risk and cost associated with it. The user also will take a lot of time to get used to the system.

The proposed system will consist of implementing a part of the project. It will rather consist of a simulation of the project. Then, after analyzing the feedback of the public, we can decide how we are going to implement the whole system. We will also be in a position to improve the SMS PARKING SYSTEM (SPS) and make it more user-friendly. In this way, the users will get used to the system easily.

The proposed system will take care of many aspects of the system. The first one is that the user will be able to park his car by sending short message service (SMS) to the SPS system. The user should get a proper reply status from the server.

Secondly, the SPS system should be able to provide information about the vacant parking areas. If a user wants to know about the vacant parking in area, the former has to send some text messages (the name of the area) to a certain number that will be given. After checking in the database, the system will respond by sending a list of vacant nearby parking spaces in a text message to the user. In this way, the user will not waste his time in searching for parking spaces and will free up ways to other vehicles.

Moreover, there is no system at Port-Louis to issue tickets to vehicles. Instead, the drivers make the use of paper based tickets namely coupons which have to be kept on the dashboard of their vehicles. But in the proposed system, the parking tickets are in the form of text messages in the drivers' mobile phones. To check for paid parking, the officers will be provided with PDAs. They have to enter the vehicle registration number in their PDAs and click on search button. The system will reply by sending the expiration date & time of the parking vehicle.

Furthermore, the payment of the electronic parking tickets will be automatically deducted by the service provider. For every 1 hour of parking, a certain amount of money will be deducted from the users' prepaid account. The amount of money charged will usually comprise of money charged by service provider and the cost of the parking ticket. If the account of the user has insufficient money balance, then no parking tickets will be sent to the parking driver and the latter will not be allowed to park his vehicle. If the driver continues to park his vehicle, the parking officer will fine the former after verifying from the database. For the time being, no post paid account will be available to users.

SMS Parking Steps (Drivers):

Step 1: User sends SMS with vehicle number [operator number contains information about provider, city and parking zone] to premium rated number advertised on the site or near the parking sites.

Step2: User receives a SMS receipt confirming the parking payment if the user has enough money in his/her prepaid account. If the user is a postpaid customer then the system will not check for available cash in the user account.

Step3: User receives a notification 10 minutes before the expiry of the paid parking time.

The Figure 5.1 shows the driver sending and receiving SMS

Figure 5.1 shows SMS Parking Architecture (Driver's Part)

Control message steps (Police Officers):

Step 1: The officer types the vehicle registration number on the hand held device for checking.

Step2: The system returns an information message including the remaining time period.

Traffic policemen will benefit from the new system, enabling them to use their portable GPRS enabled terminals, PDAs or any mobile device to check online whether the fee has been paid for a vehicle.

Figure 5.2 below shows the police officer making a check using PDA.

Figure 5.2 shows SMS Parking Architecture (Officer's Part)

Java as a programming language

Java is more platforms independent; it runs on several operating systems including Windows, Mac and Linux. This means that the SMS Parking System cannot be restricted to one platform only. Therefore people implementing the system can use more or less the same infrastructure. They do not have to incur extra costs in buying servers specific to one operating system and licenses depending on the number of users accessing the system. These things make people think a lot before implementing such systems. In this way, programmers can freely switch to open-source IDEs and tools. Costly projects can, in this way, turn into low budget projects. Moreover, the new IDEs are supposed to facilitate the tasks of the programmers.

Furthermore, Java is often known as "write once, run anywhere". This makes the java framework limited in scope and richness. But developers often use proprietary classes to access features available in the target platform. They can make reuse of the classes whenever similar platforms are used. In this way, time is saved and the project life span is shortened.

Reuse of Java Classes

A number of java classes have been identified so that later it can be used for similar projects. These are as follows:

CONNECT.java

This class is used to make connection to the database. The driver for ODBC connection is included in the class. This is used when connecting to Access database. All the JSP (Java Server Page) pages interacting with the database have to use this java class in order to make a connection.

QUERY.java

This class is used to execute the different DML statements against the databases in order to manipulate the different tables in the database. All the queries are defined in this class. Exceptions are thrown if an error occurs.

CONSTANT.java

This class is used to define all the static variables and constants that are used throughout the project.

Scenario of the system

Customer drives in with his/her car to the parking slot.

Customer parks the car and reads the sticker on wall telling him/her about how to park by SMS.

Customer sends SMS after careful reading.

Time passes.

Customer receives notification at the restaurant.

Customer replies (extends the duration of the parking time).

Customer enjoys his/her food with friends.

Customer leaves the restaurant.

Customer leaves the parking.

SMS Parking System Simulation's Result & Analysis

User Interface

The application involves user's interaction. First of all, the user inputs the plate number and sends it to a specific number shown in the parking plate. This can be shown in Figure 6.1 below.

Figure 6.1: User sending message.

After sending the message, the user waits for the server's respond. The server replies by sending either a failure or successful car park. It tells the user also when the parking time will be expired. This can be shown in Figure 6.2 below.

Figure 6.2: The response of the server in the user mobile.

Moreover, the officer in charge of the area can make the use of his PDA to search if the vehicle has been paid for. This is done by entering the vehicle registration number. After clicking the search button, the status of the vehicle is immediately displayed as shown in Figure 6.3 below.

Figure 6.3: The usage of officer's PDA to search for vehicles' parked

Furthermore, the administrator can view all the vehicles parked in the screen below. Figure 6.4 shows the different information about the vehicles. For example, the date the SMS was received, the text message sent by a particular user, the time the parking expired and so on.

Figure 6.4: The different information about the vehicles.

The Database schema

The SMS Parking System makes the use of four tables namely the Transaction, Parking Info, Reference Code and Reference Type. The tables have been developed in Microsoft Access and the schema for these tables is described below.

Table Name: Transaction

Function: This table keeps a record of each ticket issued to the user.

Field Name

Description

Data Type

Parking_ID

The Identification number for each parking space

Text

Ticket

The ticket number issued

AutoNumber

Vehicle

Vehicle Registration Number

Text

Operator

The mobile phone operator

Text

Message

The message typed by the user

Text

Phone

The phone number on which the message was sent

Number

Date_Received

The date & Time the server processed the user's message

DateTime

Expired

The date & Time the parking is going to expire

DateTime

Table Name: Parking Info

Function: This table registers all the parking space in a particular region.

Field Name

Description

Data Type

Parking_ID

The Identification number for each parking space

Text

Sites

The Sites in Mauritius

Text

Location

The Location for the parking area

Text

Street

The Street names of the parking area

Text

Table Name: Reference Code

Function: This stores all the values for Sites, Location, and Streets of the parking space. For example, if the reference type is Sites. Sites will group the different regions (Port-Louis, Vacoas, Curepipe etc ) in the country. Reference code will be the different regions grouped under Sites.

Field Name

Description

Data Type

Ref_Type

The reference type used to group the reference codes.

Text

Ref_Code

The reference code

Text

Ref_Desc

The reference code description

Text

Table Name: Reference Type

Function: This stores all the Sites, Location, and Streets of the parking space.

Field Name

Description

Data Type

Ref_Type

The different reference types used.

Text

Ref_Type_Desc

The reference types description.

Text

Conclusion

In this report, we analyzed the various car parking implementations done by many countries across the world. This has permitted us to propose an appropriate car parking system with a minimum change to the existing infrastructure. As a result, this has helped to reduce the initial cost of the SMS Parking System. An affordable price of the cost of parking can thus be offered to the general public. Because of low maintenance of the System, the revenue of the municipality will eventually increase. The saving can be used for the future scope of the project where the SPS System can be integrated to other software.

The SPS System will also help people to save more fuel and to be punctual at work as they will be able to get vacant parking spaces more quickly. Last but not the least; the SPS System will reduce the traffic jam and the pollution at the same time.

Scope for Future Work

At a much later stage, the SPS System will be integrated to sensors that will calculate the exact number of vacant spaces and will send the control officer a message if the driver has failed to renew the parking space he is occupying. Message signs (VMS) will automatically be updated with the latest information. Moreover, the proposed system can be integrated to parking guiding system also.

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