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How Leipzig and SONAH solved match day parking pressure with Park&Ride

With its ‘Triangulum’ project and Green City Plan, the city of Leipzig has been long seen as a ‘lighthouse’ city for the world of smart city development. Read on to discover how a state-of-the-art parking guidance system helped Leipzig achieve its goals.

Smart Parking in Leipzig 

For the fans of Bundesliga team RB Leipzig, congestion and a long search for parking is part and parcel of a home game’s excitement. For those living near the Park&Ride areas around the stadium, it was simply a huge and unfair inconvenience. Although Leipzig city was motivated to improve the experience of the residents, they first had to know: what was really going on during match day?

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Green Cities, Frustrated Residents

We all know that dense populations in cities mean air pollution from cars can concentrate. Now add parking traffic to the mix; an inefficient parking management system leads to a much longer time spent driving slowly/cruising to find a parking spot. Which, of course, forces everyone on the roads to drive slower, longer, and less environmentally consciously. 


When the Green City Plan for Leipzig came into effect in 2017, cutting down transport emissions was a big goal - and relieving parking pressure through Park & Ride systems was one way to achieve it. But when it came to weekends where home games were being played, even those systems weren’t cutting it. 



Leipzig city was sure the solution wasn’t to simply create more parking areas. Instead, it wanted more effective parking management solution - better communication, live data, and a full utilization of the existing Park & Ride facilities.

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The ParkIT project

According to representatives from the city of Leipzig, parking ground sensors were dismissed early in the process, leaving SONAH's advanced overhead sensors to stand out. Ground sensors, though seen as cost-effective and durable, face challenges such as vulnerability to flooding and vandalism. For a large project like this, it would also be a disadvantage to only be able to digitize one spot at a time. In contrast, SONAH's overhead sensors utilize sophisticated machine learning and neural networks to monitor up to 72 parking spots simultaneously.

The parking occupancy detection process works using camera-based, embedded vision technology which uses edge computing to process data without saving any images. This means that we go beyond the usual standard of privacy regulations (i.e. GDPR) during the detection process, with just metadata being transferred and no personal data being processed. For a residential quarter like Meusdorf, this is even more critical than usual.

“For any privacy-conscious project, SONAH makes a great partner. It’s a priority in their technology and their mindset.”

Felix Mühl

Stadt Leipzig


Installation & Power Management

Overhead sensors for parking management need two things; a high mounting point and 24/7 power. That’s a constant for all customers, but what differs from project to project is which solution is used.


The options include but are not limited to:

  • Mounting on a building and connecting the sensor to a continuous current

  • Mounting on a street light with continuous current

  • Mounting on a street light that receives power only at night, and supplementing it with a battery that charges overnight

  • Mounting on a mast and powering with a battery and solar power


The original plan at Leipzig had been to install each sensor to the street lights with integrated batteries. However, there were several street lights where the battery  integration into the mast itself was not possible.

The solutions were manifold; external battery casings were installed and the services of some electricians were taken on to provide a connection to grid power in places. Solving the power question was a complex process, no question, but the knowledge and experience that SONAH gained from it was invaluable. And with that sorted, the next steps could begin!

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“Working with SONAH meant facing challenges together and meeting each new demand with a solution-oriented approach.”

Stephan Rausch

Stadt Leipzig



A Holistic Mobility Concept

With parking data pouring in, Leipzig was now in the position to not just HAVE data, but to truly effect change. For those busy match days, Leipzig now has a way to ensure  improved, more efficient use of parking assets, less emissions, and happier residents. 


We at SONAH see Leipzig as a true role model for creating holistic mobility solutions, and here’s why:

  • Citizen first communication:

One of Leipzig’s aims was to be able to communicate the real utilization numbers for parking during events like home games. With accurate data and a clear picture of where and when the parking fills up, the city can now provide citizens with the information needed to ease frustration and discontent. 

  • LeipzigMOVE

Creating a digital mobility app is a great step for cities, and Leipzig has produced one of the best we’ve seen. It covers far more than just parking, but rather connects the entire public transport network in Leipzig, with carsharing services and e-bikes available to be booked and even live parking data. The usage is growing - but rather than us raving about it, check it out yourself.

  • Accessibility 

Making your mobility concept accessible to all isn’t just about making it digital. It’s also about providing barrier-free access to important information like where Park&Ride facilities are without requiring digital skills or hardware. Representatives from Leipzig made sure that the signage and any changes to such information is clearly displayed - and they report that the combination of both manual and digital parking guidance systems is really taking effect.

Leipzig: A Model for Smart Cities

For a city as forward-thinking and smart-city-minded as Leipzig, there’s no end to what they can - and will - achieve. The city continues to make progress in what it covers with the LeipzigMOVE app, and representatives from the city are taking part in discussions regarding future parking-related goals. Elsewhere, residents of Leipzig can find parking spots while RB Leipzig fans are free to watch their team pursue parking-unrelated goals…

We thank our colleagues at Leipzig for taking the time to speak with us, and look forward to any future collaboration!

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