App to tell drivers where vacant parking spaces are

The new parking app is being brought to Edinburgh. Picture: Ian Georgeson
The new parking app is being brought to Edinburgh. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A PARKING pioneer wants sensors to be installed in thousands of spaces across the city – allowing drivers to identify a vacant spot before they begin their journey.

Dan Hubert’s smartphone app AppyParking even alerts motorists on their mobiles if the space is taken before they reach it.

Mr Hubert has launched his free app in the Capital – but at the moment it only shows drivers where spaces might be available.

In the London borough of Westminster, however, thousands of sensors have been installed by Smart Parking which allow the app to provide real-time updates on parking vacancies.

Mr Hubert said: “We will see 10,000 car parking spaces fitted with sensors in Westminster by early next year.

“We don’t have a set date to roll this out in Edinburgh yet, but it is our vision to roll this out nationwide in our quest to make parking easier, stress-free and quicker for motorists.

“We have an easy-to-install, full-stack solution to turn cities into smart cities nationwide.”

The app currently offers drivers in Edinburgh information on the nearest and cheapest on and off-street parking spaces, electric car-charging points, disabled bays and multi-storey car parks. In Westminster, however, around 3000 parking spaces have been fitted with sensors by Smart Parking which allow drivers to identify available spaces before they even set off.

If they select a position and it is taken by another driver while they are travelling, the smartphone user receives a 
notification.

Mr Hubert has said the use of real-time data cuts down the amount of time a person spends looking for a parking space from an average of 20 minutes to around 30 seconds.

He said: “We have a really great user community who are always letting us know what features or content they would like to see next so it’s a real team effort between drivers and AppyParking.”

His plans have won backing from Neil Greig, the director of policy and research at the Institute of Advanced Motorists.

He said: “This type of thing is the future. I think we are still a long way away from this, but eventually being able to select your parking space before you leave home is the way forward.”

But while the city council has welcomed the app, it said it was not considering installing parking sensors – even though Mr Hubert has offered to pick up the £250-per-sensor bill.

Transport leader Councillor Lesley Hinds said: “We were happy to provide information on parking spaces and charges to AppyParking, and support their plans to provide free, accessible technology allowing residents and visitors to find parking spaces more easily.”