New Zealand capital to deploy smart parking system

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Wellington has joined the ‘smart city’ revolution with the introduction of a smart parking system, which could transform the way that residents, visitors and commuters park their cars in the New Zealand capital.

Following a successful trial, Wellington City Council in partnership with Anglo-Australian company, Smart Parking Limited, is set to launch Sector 1 of the city’s new system, which will see approximately 900 parking bay sensors placed in the Golden Mile and the surrounding area, with a further three sectors and over 2,580 sensors to be rolled out before Christmas, making it the largest deployment of the technology in the Asia Pacific region.

Drivers will be able to download the free ‘PayMyPark’ smartphone application, which allows them to pay for their parking session straight from their device, and extend their time remotely. Once downloaded, they simply enter the bay number into the app and press ‘Start’, then continue at their leisure. Upon return to the vehicle, they then select the ‘Stop’ function, therefore only paying for the time they use. Smart Parking’s infrared sensors automatically detect when a car arrives and relays the information to PayMyPark, alerting the application of the cars arrival and departure.

Drivers are also given the option to pay for a ‘fixed period’ in advance. When their parking period is about to expire, they will receive a text alert and the option to extend their time remotely. If they finish early, they can simply stop the parking session and receive an automatic refund to their account. Drivers will no longer have to search for coins or keep a ticket/receipt, and will only pay for their actual parking time. Smart Parking’s central database SmartRep collates and analyses the live information on how parking space is being used. Accurate vehicle-by-vehicle, minute-by-minute data on actual usage of the city’s facilities gives Wellington City Council the leading edge in day-to-day management and future planning.

“The new system builds on our Smart Capital approach toward making transport choices easier,” noted Wellington City Council’s chief operating officer, Greg Orchard. “Having real-time information about parking space use is one step to understanding parking trends in the city. The information about parking space use, turnover and occupancy will help plan Wellington’s parking and transport needs.”

The Smart Parking Group’s chief executive officer, Paul Gillespie, said, “Our sensors work in conjunction with PayMyPark to make parking a stress-free experience. No more looking for change or racing back to the car. Simply park and enjoy! Not only does this improve the driver experience, but it also indirectly helps Wellington CBD businesses by improving access to the CBD [central business district].”

Parking services manager for Wellington City Council, Michelle Riwai, commented, “The introduction of this new technology means you just enter the parking space number at the parking machine, pay for the time you need, and it’s done. You don’t need to return to your vehicle to display a receipt. Parking sensors also mean that we can implement more convenient ways to pay.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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