I have previously covered a parking app trial in Westminster (also here and here), and it seems like the next city to look into this idea is Birmingham. The BBC report that 200 sensors have been installed in the Jewellery Quarter, and these will soon be used to provide real-time information on how many spaces are available. It’s planned that the information will be accessed via a smartphone app and/or a website.
So far the initial reporting seems positive, and the trial is being managed by infrastructure provider Amey Plc:
“It is our belief and desire that by using the data collected from the sensors, drivers can cut the time they spend and the fuel they use looking for a space, as they will know where there are pockets of availability.”
What has been noted in the Westminster trial, but not so far here, is whether the data will also be used for parking enforcement. The sensors offer the potential to not only see when spaces are free, but for officials to see how long cars are parked. Enforcement Officers armed with this information may find it easier to locate vehicles which have overstayed for example.
It seems that trials like this will become more common in future. In the US there are already apps available that take this another stage further, and allow people to book spaces in advance (which I may cover in a future post).