Parking guidance system helps hospital employees find open spots faster

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC) became the first hospital in the United States to install a complete INDECT parking guidance system.

As a way to create more parking spaces for patients and visitors, NHRMC constructed an employee garage featuring 580 undercover spaces and an additional 145 open-air spaces.

With nearly 7,000 employees, NHRMC is the largest employer in the region. The parking guidance technology uses lights and digital signs to help employees quickly and easily find a spot in the garage.

Sensors are placed above each parking space, giving drivers a clear view of available spaces. Different colors indicate each space's status: green for available, red for occupied and blue for disabled/handicapped parking. The lights are clearly visible from several hundred yards away and LED signs at the end of each driving aisle help direct staff to the nearest available space.

"One of our colleagues went to Florida and when she came back she mentioned a parking deck she saw," said Facilities Construction Project Manager Ken Williamson. "So we did some research and thought that it would help because we have shift work, we have a lot of employees at one time, that it would help with queuing, so the faster we can get them in the parking deck, the faster we can get them off the street."

The construction of the garage allows patients and their visitors to have easier access to surface lot spaces closer to the hospital entrance. The employee garage is located across from the main hospital, which allows employees to use the bridge over 17th Street.

"Hospitals need to be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week," said Dale Fowler, president of INDECT USA. "Staff come and go at irregular hours, which impacts the daily flow of traffic within the garage. NHRMC wanted to make the parking experience as easy and stress-free as possible."

Signs in the garage allow the hospital to display a wide range of information including welcome messages, daily information, parking counts and specific guidance for employees with disabilities.

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