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Welsh capital launches ‘smart parking’ technology across the city

Cardiff has announced that it will introduce a new 'smart parking' system, as part of local officials overall strategic approach to address urban congestion in the Welsh capital. The new technology will assist and aid drivers to find available car parking spaces in the city.

Research into traffic issues in Cardiff have indicated that a lot of urban congestion is caused by motorists being forced to drive around for a lengthy period of time in order to locate a vacant parking space. However, Cardiff Council has now announced in conjunction with technology firm Smart Parking that it will implement and install 3,300 sensors in 'paid for' and disabled parking bays around the city.

It is expected that the new smart parking system will directly reduce traffic congestion in the city ten-fold. Populated with data collected through the sensors, it has been disclosed that drivers entering the Welsh capital can download an application entitled 'Park Cardiff'. This app allows motorists to search and navigate real-time maps of parking availability and drivers will be directed to an empty space by the application's algorithm.  Cardiff Council becomes the first council in the EU to introduce this technology across its citywide road network. The rollout comes on the back of a very successful pilot program which has seen 225 sensors installed in streets including Museum Avenue and Sophia Gardens car park.

Caro Wild, a cabinet member for strategic planning and transport at Cardiff Council hailed the introduction of the smart parking technology, and said the council's strategic focus was to create alternative forms of transport and to reduce the amount of time motorists spend driving around looking for vacant car spaces, citing that it was a central component in traffic congestion in the city.

Wild said, "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. We want people that park in and around the city center to download the free app - it is easy to use and will help both the motorist and the 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."

In addition, it emerged that Park Cardiff can connect users to Cardiff's mobile payment service which is provided by MiPermit, which comes with free information and reminder texts. Paul Gillespie, group chief executive officer, Smart Parking says the synergy between the two applications would provide huge benefits for people that need to park in central Cardiff.

Gillespie said, "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 deliver major benefits for people who need to park in central Cardiff. It will make finding a parking space easier so that drivers can reach their destinations faster and more conveniently and make a contribution to reducing the congestion and pollution associated with drivers speculatively searching for a space to park."