Cardiff launches app for Europe’s first citywide roll-out of smart parking technology


Cardiff Council has launched a new parking smartphone application that, when combined with other equipment, makes it the first local authority in Europe to roll out smart parking technology across its citywide road network.

Working with Anglo-Australian parking technology company Smart Parking Limited, Cardiff Council has installed 3,300 sensors in all of the Welsh capital’s ‘paid-for’ and disabled parking bays. The combined infrared and electromagnetic SmartEye vehicle detection sensors, are wirelessly-linked via SmartLink data transmitters for onward distribution to the SmartRep software platform, which collates and analyses live information on how parking space is being used.

Populated with occupancy data collected through the sensors, drivers can now use the Park Cardiff app, to search and view a real-time map of parking availability and be directed to an empty space. Available for Apple and Android devices, Park Cardiff can also connect users to the city’s mobile parking payment service, provided by MiPermit, which comes with free confirmation and reminder texts.

The full roll-out follows a successful pilot project in 2015, when 225 sensors were installed in city center streets. Smart Parking’s bay sensor system has already been successfully deployed in Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East, South Africa and Europe. Through the SmartRep platform, Cardiff Council will also gain accurate vehicle-by-vehicle, minute-by-minute data on actual usage of the city’s facilities, helping the authority with day-to-day management and future planning.

“Although our priority is for people to use public or alternative forms of transport, we accept that there will still be a requirement for people to use the private car. Given this, we want to provide the technology to make parking as easy as possible, so that people don’t have to drive around the city to find a parking space,” explained Caro Wild, cabinet member for strategic planning and transport at Cardiff Council.

“Congestion and driving at low speeds significantly increases pollutants from cars, so we want people to find a space and park as quickly as possible.”

Paul Gillespie, Smart Parking’s group CEO, said, “The launch of our system is an important step in realizing Cardiff’s vision of being a high quality, liveable smart city. Through the use of this innovative technology and the information it gathers, the city now has the opportunity to better understand the dynamics of traffic and parking. The app will make finding a parking space easier, and make a contribution to reducing the congestion and pollution associated with drivers searching for somewhere to park.”

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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).