Innovation and changeDigital TransformationData on parking spaces set to be standardised

Data on parking spaces set to be standardised

Standardised data on parking spaces could lead to smoother parking and free up more space in cities in order to ease congestion and boost high streets

All parking space data released by local councils and companies across the country will follow new national parking data standards, it has been announced.

The move should support the development of apps to make parking easier for drivers. Such apps could also highlight the cheapest spaces, or those that are located next to electric car charging points. The new standards will first be tested in Manchester, Oxfordshire, Cambridgeshire, and parts of Essex, where councils will be given a share of a £1m fund for research projects, with a further 7 projects being commissioned to identify ways to open up local authority data.

Created by the Alliance for Parking Data Standards (APDS) and funded by the Department for Transport, the standardised data on parking spaces could lead to smoother and easier payment methods right across the country.

Future of Mobility

The announcement is another milestone for the government’s Future of Mobility Grand Challenge, which aims to tap into the extraordinary innovation across the country in order to improve everyday journeys.

By helping to streamline the parking experience and making it easier for drivers to find a suitable parking place, the standards could ultimately free up crucial space, easing congested cities and boosting British high streets.

Future of Mobility Minister, Michael Ellis, said: “We are on the brink of a revolution for the future of transport, with ground-breaking technologies creating huge opportunities for cleaner, cheaper, safer and more reliable journeys.

“We now need to ensure the infrastructure surrounding these technologies is in place and can accommodate these innovations. The new parking data standards will bring government, private organisations and technologies together to ensure a smoother parking experience for drivers.”

A government report, published in March, into transport innovation in towns and cities said that new technology could help provide more green spaces by reducing the number of parking spaces.

Improving customer experience of parking

The standards could also help drivers avoid parking tickets which can cost up to £100 each.

Some 6.81 million penalty charges were handed to British drivers by parking management firms in 2018/19, according to RAC Foundation analysis.

Chair of the British Parking Association and Chair of the APDS, Nigel Williams, said: “The new standards will enable the next generation of apps and connected cars to find a parking space, park and pay – with little or no intervention from the driver. The involvement of the British Parking Association in APDS has ensured that the UK is at the forefront of innovation to improve the customer experience of parking.”

Intelligent parking system

Local Government Minister Rishi Sunak said: “Hunting for a parking spaces and then checking if you have the right change to pay for it isn’t the best start to any shopping experience, but it can be the reality more often than not.

An intelligent parking system will not only make life easier for commuters, but could also improve footfall to our town centres – meaning both people and local businesses benefit.”

Edmund King, President, Automobile Association said: “It has been estimated that the average motorist spends up to four days per year just looking for a parking space which causes congestion, increased emissions and sometimes road rage.

“Improving smart and shared data on parking availability would be welcome relief to the millions of drivers just going round in circles searching for the holy grail of a parking spot.”

Last year, Greenwich rolled out smart parking initiative to solve the problem of high parking pressure around the University and National Maritime Museum.

Not a given

Parking consultant Steve Vollar said: “It was not a given, though, that apps built with the newly standardised data really would revolutionise parking. People are seldom deterred from driving into a town centre over parking availability.

“There will be a lobby who will object to online payment details and knowledge of their movements.”

Data security is also a concern. Two years ago, the RingGo smartphone parking app used by numerous councils up and down the country has exposed users to a serious data breach. A glitch with a new version of the iPhone app meant that details of hundreds of registered users were exposed to other users.

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