Westminster joins commercial trial of parking app

Council aims to cut time that drivers have to spend searching for a parking space and provide scope for payment by the minute

Westminster City Council is taking part in the trial of a mobile app aimed at reducing the time needed for vehicle drivers to find a parking spot.

London trafficIt has joined a project with the Department of Transport and app developer AppyParking to trial a solution that also provides for payments based on minutes in the space.

The trial has the potential to contribute to one of the prime aims of smart traffic initiatives in reducing driving times and cutting emissions. The company has said it could reduce the average time needed to find a space from 20 minutes to 30 seconds.

A commercial trial has been launched in Westminster, following a beta test last year with Pimlico Plumbers. Companies including Handy Squad and Polytech have signed up for the trial of the One Click Parking product, with a total of 150 commercial vehicles taking part.

Finding space

Drivers can use the AppyParking app to identify the nearest parking space and see the hours of restrictions and hourly rate. Once they have found a space, they can confirm their location through the app, and when ready to leave just pull out of the bay for the parking session to end immediately.

Each vehicle will be fitted with a dongle under the steering wheel to connect it to the internet. When ignition is turned on and a certain distance travelled, a signal is sent to the payment back office system and AppyParking’s platform sends an email notification showing details of the stay.

The council will charge drivers only by the minutes they have parked for, rather than requiring payment for a set time up front.

Ending fines

AppyParking chief executive officer Dan Hubert said: “We’re excited to roll out One Click Parking in Westminster and to have some of the UK biggest brands on board. 40% of parking income and fines comes from London even though Londoners own only 10% of UK cars and it is our aim at AppyParking to make parking fines a distant memory.

“Every day drivers and fleet businesses are on the roads and it is impossible to predict how long an appointment or emergency may take. One Click Parking will take the pressure out of parking and benefit the local area by reducing congestion and pollution that comes from unnecessarily circling round the block.”

The company said it is aiming to roll out the use of the app around other London boroughs soon, then around the country next year.

Image by Dan Ox, CC BY 2.0 through flickr