Happy City© is a patented parking management system for small e-vehicles in cities. “We have zero tolerance for misplaced e-vehicles . Happy City promotes shared micromobility while keeping pedestrians safe and cities beautiful,” says Igor Pancevski, CEO of SparkPark.
In 2020, Pancevski and co-founder Thomas Bråten sat together outside a coffee shop looking at all the e-scooters strewn about. It looked a mess. Pedestrians zig-zagged around the obstacles. There and then, the two men made a commitment to solve the problem.
“Cities have started to prohibit the use of e-scooters, but that is not the answer,” says Pancevski.
“Shared e-scooters are crucial in urban transport. They are a cost-effective way to increase access to public transport, limit the number of cars on the road and reduce our environmental footprint,” he explains.
Happy City© solves the micromobility problem with a parking management system using AI and IoT. The solution consists of a small IoT device and cloud-based backend software. This gives municipalities the infrastructure to control where e-scooters, e-bikes and other e-vehicles are parked.
The concept is deceptively simple: Cities designate multiple small parking areas for small e-vehicles. Surrounded by digital fencing, these areas contain an IoT device, normally mounted on a traditional parking signpost.
Cities contract with micromobility rental companies to install the Happy City system on their vehicles. When drivers use a shared vehicle, they know exactly where to park near their destination. Payment for use of the vehicle only stops when the driver parks correctly in a designated space.
“Our major strength is our precision. We can track Bluetooth devices on vehicles down to the centimetre,” explains Pancevski.
This small IoT device is normally mounted on a parking signpost.
Happy City© brings a new level of flexibility to shared micromobility parking. The solution’s infrastructure is digital. This means no docking stations, no major installation and no electricity use. Cities can easily change the number and size of parking areas for special events, such as marathons and festivals.
Moreover, the solution makes urban sidewalks accessible to all. “Many elderly and people with disabilities are staying home because they can’t walk safely in the city anymore. We want them to enjoy urban life like anyone else,” says Bråten, the company’s CMO.
The environment is on the co-founders’ minds as well. “Our solution promotes the concept of shared micromobility and sharing culture in general. Mass production and consumption are destroying our environment. Nobody needs to own their own things all the time,” he says. Plus, fewer cars means less air and noise pollution.
According to McKinsey & Company, the shared micromobility market is projected to reach almost USD 101 billion by 2030. At the same time, major European cities are seeking solutions to the parking problem, and over 50 per cent of consumers want to see cities regulate micromobility operators.
Enthusiasm is growing for the solution. Inurba Mobility, a leading European city bike operator, is implementing a pilot of Happy City in the City of Stockholm. SparkPark is also working with the City of Bergen in planning a pilot project for e-scooter parking. Letters of Intent are signed regarding 12 other European cities as well.
“Parking management is just the beginning for us. In the future, our technology can be used in other areas, such as healthcare and welfare,” concludes Pancevski.