Case Study: Guildford

In Guildford, we have built the world’s largest multi-asset parking and retail monitoring system. Sensors in car parks and key shopping streets are delivering live information on the parking and retail environments, 24 hours a day.


Recognising the global trend for urbanisation, Ethos has been looking to build a City Scale Technology and Business Model Demonstrator for novel urban technologies in the UK. Following over a year of negotiations with several local authorities, we are happy to announce that Guildford is our first chosen location.

A large town in Surrey with a population of 96,000, Guildford has a vibrant centre with 468 retailers and several large employers. Although not a city per se, It experiences many of the common problems of urban areas with road congestion, poor air quality and a less than ideal distribution of parking spaces.

The aim is to monitor car parking spaces around town and shopper movements on two main shopping streets: High Street and North Street. This data will be used by a range of applications that allow shoppers to easily find available parking spaces, retailers to gain valuable insights and the local authorities to better understand Guildford’s needs and to develop and maintain a thriving town centre.

Parking Management

As a first stage in the development of the City Scale Demonstrator, Ethos is working with Guildford and Surrey Councils to explore the potential of our GEOmii Parking Platform (the map below shows our current live parking data feed from Guildford), which we are developing as part of a £1m Innovate UK funded project. Following the agreement of the local authorities we have installed parking space sensors across the centre of the town and connected to existing car park systems. The system uses fixed parking space sensors for high frequency areas, off street carpark counters and, for wide area coverage, our own vehicle based mobile parking space sensor system

In total, we monitor over 5,500 spaces and provide live parking space availability data for the vast majority of on street, off street and park and ride parking spaces. Our fault tolerant prediction analytics technology allows us to reliably predict where parking spaces will be in the future, allowing drivers to better plan their journeys, save time and have a better experience when visiting Guildford.

Key facts:

  • The GEOmii Parking system is being trialled in Guildford with £2m of funding from Ethos and Innovate UK.
  • The system is currently in a test phase, which is due for completion in summer 2016.
  • The system provides real time and predicted future parking space availability covering 5,404 on street and off street parking spaces.
  • We have been working with Clearview Intelligence and have installed 352 parking space sensors on the main shopping streets in Guildford.
  • We have also installed occupancy counters for the 3 new park and ride car parks outside the centre of Guildford.

Retail Footfall

In addition to the GEOmii Parking Platform development Ethos is working with Experience Guildford (Business Improvement District) to trial a system that will provide detailed footfall monitoring across the main retail areas. These trials will use Bluetooth and WiFi sensors and proven data analytics to identify how shoppers move around the retail areas, and will help improve the management and long term development of the city centre offer.

Key facts:

  • We are working with Experience Guildford to install sensor systems to help retailers better understand how shoppers move around Guildford.
  • This system will provide live heat maps of how people are moving around the town centre’s retail areas.
  • Retailers will have the tools to understand what is happening directly outside their store front.
  • The system is anonymous and uses sensors and statistical techniques to calculate accurate footfall and movement.
  • We are working with local company Flexeye to design a data dashboard to help town managers gain the insights they need from our network of sensors, predictive analysis and an increasing amount of data from the Internet of Things (IOT).

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Geomii is a limited company registered in England and Wales. Company number 3853277. Registered address: White House, Beech Road, Merstham, Surrey, RH1 3AEG