Smart parking: Orange Belgium and Arlon innovate


If traffic is managed by data, the whole city benefits. This is illustrated by a smart parking system in Arlon, where the city was able to call on Orange’s expertise.

Driving into Arlon, they’re hard to miss: five (soon to be six) digital road signs indicate the location of available parking spaces nearby. The system uses 4G connectivity and IoT to optimise the flow of traffic. Thibaut Vincent, mobility consultant for the city of Arlon, and Benoît Muller, Smart City project manager for Idelux,, were responsible for leading the project, with Orange Belgium taking care of the technical execution. They gave us a look behind the scenes of this system that’s full of technical features.


Response to a growing need

The smart parking system was primarily designed to improve mobility. “We want to help drivers navigate the city more efficiently by preventing parking problems and keeping them from driving around aimlessly,” Vincent explains. “For instance, in some car parks there are quite a few places left because they are not that well known by the general public. The new signage alerts drivers to the existence of these parking facilities and encourages them to adapt their habits. We also want to guide drivers to nearby car parks in order to reduce traffic in the city.”

The signs not only map out parking options but they also display other traffic information or news about festivities or cultural events. The city’s inhabitants, who had advocated for a smart parking system, are pleased with the result.


Technical challenges

At every parking facility, the number of available parking spaces is counted. This data is shared on the road signs along the main access roads and on the screen at the car park itself. It is also shared in real time in the city’s app, so users can efficiently plan their movements. Benoît Muller was in charge of the technical side of the project. “Since every parking facility is different, we were looking for a solution that would be compatible with any potential configuration,” he says. “We put out a tender for this project and thanks to a combination of technologies, the solution of Orange Belgium came out the winner.”

An additional challenge was the fact that the city wanted the signs to display information about air quality too. Muller: “That was a first for all parties involved. Orange Belgium developed a completely new application for this purpose, which they will also be able to offer to other customers in the future.”



Respect for privacy

In terms of data management, Arlon aims to set the right example. “The Walloon Region asked us to make our city’s parking data available as open data,” Vincent says. “We guarantee the privacy of our drivers because the sensors do not store number plate information and the cameras are not used for continuous video monitoring. The images are not constantly recorded, and only recent freeze-frames can be consulted.”

The anonymous statistics on car park occupancy rates can be consulted by the system admins and are invaluable to city councils. The system is proof that data can be used to improve daily life in a city.


Are you looking for a smoother parking system? Find out all about IT solutions for smart parking.

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