The app that finds you a parking space
Aug 14 2012
A smartphone app that can alert you to the whereabouts of a vacant parking space is being trialled.
The new technology uses dome-shaped sensors embedded in the centre of parking bays that can tell when a space is occupied. When the device detects that the space is free, a central database will send out information to the app via wi-fi or a 3G data connection to show drivers available parking spots.
Motorists will then pay for their parking using their phone. Once the system is fully operational, the technology will send special alerts to drivers indicating their pre-paid parking time is running out, with the option of topping up their balance to further their stay.
More controversially, if a driver overstays his or her welcome, parking bosses will instantly be notified and can then send a traffic warden to the exact location to issue a ticket.
The latest technology is already in operation in San Francisco but is being trialled by Westminster Council in London. Parking tariffs will cost up to £4.40 per hour for on-street parking.
The system’s two-month trial begins on the 15th August using 135 bays across five streets, including Burlington Gardens (5 spaces), Jermyn Street (16 spaces), Savile Row (29 spaces), Sackville Street (31 spaces) and St John’s Wood High Street (54 spaces).
Car Parking Technologies LTD has developed the system with Westminster Council and will link the information to Parkopedia.co.uk, the website that provides the app.
If the experiment proves successful, the infrastructure could be rolled out across the UK, including more spaces in the capital, as well as implementing the technology in Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Manchester and Newcastle.
Traffic officials are also exploring ‘pre-booking’ avenues, allowing drivers to reserve spaces in advance for situations such as lorries and coaches loading and unloading goods and passengers.
A spokesman for Westminster Council added:
“The sensors will provide the latest real time information about parking space availability to reduce congestion and minimize the need for motorists to endlessly trawl the streets searching for somewhere to park.”
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