Date of Award

Spring 2012

Access Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Factors & Systems


Human Factors and Systems

Committee Chair

Dahai Liu, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Albert Bouquet, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Massoud Bazargan, Ph.D.


This study was conducted to investigate the effect of smart parking systems (SPS) on parking search times (PST) in large parking lots. SPSs are systems that disseminate real-time parking spot availability to drivers searching for parking. The literature review revealed discrete event simulation (DES) to be a suitable tool for studying the dynamic behavior in parking lots. The parking lot selected for data collection was a university parking lot with 234 spaces. The data collected included arrival rates, departure rates, the geometric properties of the parking lot, preferred parking search strategies, and driving speeds. Arena 13.9, by Rockwell Automation, Inc, was selected as the modeling software. The base model was built from observed parking search strategies (PSS) of drivers. The model was validated using a t-test for independent samples to compare the PSTs of the base model and actual parking lot. Once the base model was verified and validated, the logic was altered to reflect (PSS) (IV) with real-time parking availability (i.e. simulating the presence of an SPS). The PSTs (DV) for the base and experimental models were compared using a t-test for independent samples. It was found that SPSs reduce PSTs by an average of 11 seconds. This shows great potential for a multi-lot SPS that might save a larger amount of time and harmful vehicle emissions.