Smart Parking bays in UK city centres in 2014


Next year, ‘Smart Parking’ bays able to inform drivers of any available parking spaces in the city centres will be introduced. The scheme will have infrared sensors put on the tarmac of the parking spaces that will detect any car that may be in the bay. The details of these empty spaces will then be sent out to a central computer system that will then be fed to drives through a smartphone app.

In order to see any empty parking spaces in the surrounding area, the drivers will be able to enter a postcode. It is however not clear how the postcode would be useful in informing drivers that specific spaces are not vacant. The Westminster City Council tried the systems on five streets, and from January, they would introduce the technology to other areas.

Around 3000 SmartEye sensors will be put at various metered parking bays in the West side of London. Edinburgh, Manchester and Birmingham are also undertaking trials. Council leaders are very optimistic about this system saving drivers time as they will not have to drive around streets looking for a parking space. The system will also reduce carbon emission due to reduced driving that drivers will not have to do as finding parking spaces would be easy.

The council indicated that when the system paid of receipts is able to work, the system will also be introduced to around 7000 bays across the city. The director of the RAC Foundation, Stephen Glaister told The Times that everyone had one time driven around looking for a place to park without knowing that there was an empty parking space just around the corner that they did not know about.

He went on to say that, the technology was already being used in the United States and statistics indicate that utilisation of the parking spaces has greatly improved leading to less congestion.