New Zealand begins ‘smart parking’ trial


New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington, has begun a pilot project to test ‘smart parking’ technology. Wellington City Council has gone live with an initial trial that has seen 72 of Smart Parking’s SmartEye V2 infrared bay-availability sensors installed in Allen Street. Upon completion of a successful trial, which is scheduled to run to the end of April, a NZ$1.4m (US$1.05m) rollout of 4,000 sensors across the inner city streets is being planned by the Council. The parking sensor system will also include UK-based Smart Parking’s SmartApp, which will allow motorists to identify streets with available bays and avoid driving around searching for a spot on roads that are already full. The smartphone application finds the nearest available space to the driver’s current location and provides directions to it. Larry Eade, Smart Parking’s New Zealand head of operations, commented, “The move will make finding a parking space easier, whilst reducing congestion and improving motorist satisfaction in the process.”

The SmartEye sensor network connects with the SmartRep back-office parking management system, which will allow the city’s wardens (parking enforcement officers) to get real-time information about where people are overstaying. Equipped with this information, wardens will be able to spend less time looking for violators and have more time to guide and provide parking advice to motorists. The Council is also investigating the possible opportunity for the equipment to be used in a future ‘dynamic parking’ scheme, where the price would increase at times of peak demand and drop as more parking spaces became available. “Early data from the trial suggest it is very successful,” noted council spokesman, Richard MacLean. “Sensors have already been used in New Plymouth, but technology has moved on considerably, and the equipment proposed for Wellington can do much more.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).