Parking woes could be ended by data project

It is hoped the scheme will increase footfall on high streets and ease congestion caused by drivers searching for somewhere to leave their car.

National guidelines for sharing parking data will make it easier for drivers to find a space, the Department for Transport (DfT) has claimed.

The new standards for how local councils and private companies exchange parking information were described by the DfT as a “world-first”.

The project is expected to boost the development of parking apps to help motorists identify the availability, price and dimensions of spaces across the UK.

It is hoped this will increase footfall on high streets and ease congestion caused by drivers searching for somewhere to leave their car.

The standards have been created by the Alliance for Parking Data Standards (APDS), which was set up by parking industry bodies and funded by the DfT.

Research and development projects in Cambridgeshire, Essex, Manchester and Oxfordshire will receive a share of £1 million to begin using the standards.

APDS chairman Nigel Williams said: “The new standards will enable the next generation of apps and connected cars to find a parking space, park and pay with little or no intervention from the driver.”

Future of Mobility minister Michael Ellis said: “We are on the brink of a revolution for the future of transport, with ground-breaking technologies creating huge opportunities for cleaner, cheaper, safer and more reliable journeys.

“We now need to ensure the infrastructure surrounding these technologies is in place and can accommodate these innovations. The new parking data standards will bring government, private organisations and technologies together to ensure a smoother parking experience for drivers.”

The standards could also help drivers avoid parking tickets which can cost up to £100 each.

Some 6.81 million penalty charges were handed to British drivers by parking management firms in 2018/19, according to RAC Foundation analysis.

Parking companies obtain records from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to chase car owners for alleged infringements in private car parks such as at shopping centres, leisure facilities and motorway service areas.

AA president Edmund King said: “It has been estimated that the average motorist spends up to four days per year just looking for a parking space which causes congestion, increased emissions and sometimes road rage.

“Improving smart and shared data on parking availability would be welcome relief to the millions of drivers just going round in circles searching for the holy grail of a parking spot.”