London Westminster City Council introduces smart parking system

By John Leonard
16 Jan 2014 View Comments
Modec electric vehicles driving past Parliament and Big Ben

Westminster City Council will start rolling out it's smart parking scheme next week. Eventually the smart bays will be installed throughout the authority's entire road network.

The scheme is being implemented by British firm Smart Parking which was awarded the £890,000 contract last year. The company's SmartPark system consists of sensors, hardware and software that promises advantages for both the Council and drivers alike.

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The full rollout follows a pilot project in which 189 sensors were installed in streets including Savile Row and Jermyn Street. The next stage of the programme will see 3,000 sensors installed in metered and disabled parking bays, with a further 7,000 being added provided the initial phase proves successful. The entire programme is expected to be completed in about three years.

The SmartEye sensors are emedded into the road and detect whether or not the parking bay is occupied using infrared scanners. This information is collated in real-time via 3G to produce a map of parking space occupancy. Drivers in Westminster will be able to use an app on their mobile device to to locate a vacant parking space and receive directions on how to get there.

The ParkSmart system is also able to identify residential parking permits and allows cashless payments to be made via an e-wallet interface.

Westminster City Council believes this will reduce the congestion and pollution associated with drivers aimlessly searching for a space to park. It will also help it to apply more flexible pricing policies.

"Parking bay sensors are 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.

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