Tiny sensors in the road could make it easier for motorists to find vacant parking spaces. Westminster City Council has begun embedding small glass-domed sensors in the road surface, which can tell when a car is present, has vacated the space, or even if it’s over-stayed its allotted time.
The sensors will be linked to the Parkopedia Web site, which provides a smartphone app that motorists can use to locate empty spaces. Once you’ve navigated your way to the correct location and are safely nestled in an empty bay, it’s then possible to pay for your parking session using your handset.
The system, which is the brainchild of parking firm ‘Town and City Parking LTD’, has the potential to revolutionise parking. It has the potential to increase journey times and reduce congestion caused by cars constantly circling around towns looking for empty bays. It even has the potential to allow customers to pre-book spaces, which could be useful for large vehicles wanting to load or unload at specific times.
Its makers suggest the system could be used to protect motorists from fines. In theory, they say, traffic ‘marshals’ could be hired to direct people to available bays, although the chances of this happening are slim to say the least. It’ll more likely be used to identify people who have overstayed their welcome at parking sites, alert nearby wardens to take action, or even to issue fines automatically.
It may also be used to eliminate the phenomenon known as piggybacking, where one motorists passes a valid parking stub to another.
A two-month trial of the system will begin in mid-August 2012 and will include 135 bays in Savile Row, Jermyn Street, St John’s Wood High Street, Burlington Gardens and Sackville Street. If it proves successful, the system could be rolled out across the capital and crop up in other cities countrywide.