Smart parking in London : a new way to find a free parking space.

New sensors on parking spaces in Westminster will allow drivers to find a free place to park.

source image : ParkRight Google Play store

source image : ParkRight Google Play store

Westminster council has anounced that it will shortly be installing sensors in parking spaces that will be able to detect if a car is parked over it and therefore determine if the space is free. It will then send the information to an app, where drivers will be able to find in an empty space in real time.

It is reported that 3,000 sensors will be installed at first across the West End, each with a battery life of five to seven years. And according to the results, Westminster will increase this number to 7, 000.

It is hoped this project will reduce congestion and pollution as it is understood that it takes a driver on average 15 minutes to find a parking spot in the area.

“Installing parking bay sensors is a simple concept that will deliver major benefits for people visiting Westminster as well as those living and working here,” said Councillor Nickie Aiken, cabinet member for street management. And it will no doubt be true considering that the data collected will also be fed into London’s transport information network. Visitors will have the driving and parking time available for consultation as well as train journey times and walking distances to stations.

This technology is not new since it was installed in San Francisco in 2011 and is currently analysing the results of the trial. However, San Francisco used the data collected by the sensors to change the parking prices in higher-demand areas. Westminster has passed on that they had no intention to do so, or to use it to catch out drivers who have overstayed their paid parking time.

The app, called ParkRight, is available for IOS and Android devices on the Apple store and the Google Play store. Furthermore, it was rewarded with the Innovation Award at the 2013 Tech Success Awards.

This kind of technology may be the start of a new way of thinking about cities and making their citizens’ lives easier.

 

Victoria LAFAY

Law student in digital economy

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