The App that finds you a parking space

How about an App that can find you a parking space? It's already a reality with tiny sensors embedded into empty or full parking bays, transmitting the information via wi-fi to your mobile.

The system is now being trialled by London's Westminster Council with 135 bays charging up to £4.40 an hour - and could be extended across the Capital soon if successful.

'Real time' info

London streets where the technology is being tried includes Jermyn Street, St John's Wood High Street and Burlington Gardens, to name a few. One of the big breakthroughs is that information transmitted is in 'real time' direct to a smart phone or iPad, allowing users to find parking spaces as soon as they become vacant..

The technology could also help the scourge of disabled parking badge fraud as well as, potentially, allowing people to pre-book spaces. The current Westminster City Council trial is being supported by technology from Car Parking Technologies Ltd.

Park smart will cost

This technology will likely make it easy for App sellers to create different tariffs - the pricier the tariff, the more up-to-date information you're likely to be given. You could argue that rather rely on luck - involving, often, relentless trawling of local streets - coughing up more cash can simply buy you immediate info access.

Paul Watters, head of Roads Policy at the AA, told AOL Money he welcomed the technology. "The better information you have, the safer you are. City traffic is often dense." Watters says the AA already has a car park App available but individual parking space technology is clearly where things are going - as long as it can be integrated into a hands-free format he warns.

Reduced space

It's no surprise Westminster is trialling the technology. According to a recent survey the central London borough has the smallest amount of parking space per car in England. Looking at the UK overall, it's thought 9% of British car owners now have to pay to park outside their own home.

There are also plans for the alerts to be also sent direct to traffic wardens. But it's also likely that users could be able to simply pay for more time automatically via their 'phone, should they need it.

But there is one problem that hasn't been solved: cars generally are getting bigger while many parking spaces remain the same size they were 20 years ago. Can an App solve that?

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