Atlanta Parking System Redesign
Part of a group project for Engineering Psychology, the parking system redesign grew out of a shared frustration with the parking payment system on Georgia Tech campus. We used engineering psychology techniques to analyze the task objectively and identify where improvements could be made to the system. We also suggested minor updates to the surrounding area that could improve visibility of key components such as the parking numbers painted on the street.
- The system must operate in real time.
- The system must maintain the state of parking spaces (occupied or vacant).
- Status of spaces communicated to User/Customer and Attendant.
- Users must be aware how much time is purchased and when said time expires.
- Attendants must be made aware when users’ time expires so that they may ticket them accordingly.
- The system must be able to function continuously twenty four hours a day and seven days.
Three user personas were created to desribe the range of capabilities of potential users. Each persona included a short profile, a list of behaviors and information needs.
Functional Flow Diagrams
Diagrams were generated to describe the user's interaction with the parking system. One parking transaction is described as the time between parking the vehicle and leaving the parking spot.
These diagrams describe user interaction points with the system and help to pinpoint any part of the process that requires too many user choices to activate.
Cost Projection and Benefits
The prototype was designed to incorporate the most beneficial additions for the user at the least cost to the city. The existing multi-space parking systems are modular in nature, meaning each piece is an individual unit. These units are combined in a set arrangement to form the structure of the meter. The majority of our redesign simply requires rearrangement of these units. With no added materials used in its creation it would remain at its current price for all newly created systems.
The improved user interface would reduce costs to the city through less human resources required to help users understand the system, and accesibility benefits to users with disabilities.
Wireframes and Mockups
The layout of the interface was cluttered, with similar functions located in different areas of the screen. The prototype groups similar functions together, and also aligns those groups to generate a straight flow through the system during use. For example, in the existing meter, the add time buttons are located to the left of the numeric keypad which is used to input the space number. Because the space number will be entered first by typical users, the numeric keypad has been moved to the left.
During night use, it is difficult to see the parking space number and also find the meter associated with those spaces. To account for this we use a paint that glows during low light conditions. The parking spaces, the boundaries for those spaces, and also the parking symbol on the parking meter all will be decorated using this paint.