Digital Permits for Disability Parking

banner programmed to show disabled parking availability in nearby streets

Funded

Rockhampton Regional Council

Rockhampton Central Business District, Queensland

Project stage

Completed

Timeframe

Start date: 22 January 2018
End date: 30 November 2018

Project value

Australian Government funding:
$125,000
Total:
$250,000

Partners

  • Database Consultants Australia
  • Stankey Electrics Contracting Pty Ltd
  • Digital Signs Queensland

Focus area

  • Visitor experience
  • Innovation and economic development
  • Other

Project type

  • Visitor experience (information, wayfinding...)
  • Smart parking

Technology type

  • Smartphone applications
  • Wireless sensor networks
  • Smart poles
  • Online portal

Open data link

Project link

Project summary

  • Develop a database parking verification system within the e-permit environment.
  • Install, test and commission 375 parking sensors and digital parking wayfinding display units in the Rockhampton CBD (including disability parking spaces).
  • Design and implement graphical user interfaces for use on smart devices for Disabled Parking Permit Holders and Parking Officers.
  • Engage with stakeholder groups and seek user feedback on the solution provided and make improvements to the system based on this feedback.

The challenge

There was a need to develop and implement a digital wayfinding solution for motorists to visually display standard and disabled parking availability throughout the Rockhampton CBD. This complements the existing smart device App which displays parking availability. The additional 375 on-street parking bay sensors has augmented the existing 521 sensors to cover the CBD's regulated parking district.

The project also connected specialist technical expertise with local stakeholders to design an easy to use web portal to link the Australian Disability Parking Permit Scheme to the parking sensor system. This provides an ePermit solution in support of the paper based system that provides an alternative to permit holders displaying the permit. Council's system is integrated with the portal to display permit holders. Permit holders would use the portal to switch the permit from one vehicle to another.

Solution

The CBD smart parking initiative is assisting motorists to seek out vacant parking spaces in high demand areas, resulting in increased economic activity in the CBD of Rockhampton. Traffic congestion has eased, with an expected decrease in vehicle emissions. Through innovation with a focus on community the disabled parking layout has been redesigned ensuring equitable access to mobility impaired community members and a solution developed for some of the shortcomings of the existing Australian Disability Parking Scheme.

The sensor technology implemented in this project has improved efficiency and effectiveness of Council's compliance activities in terms of parking space management in the Rockhampton CBD.

Council in collaboration with its commercial partners has developed and implemented:

  • A digital wayfinding solution in the CBD displaying parking availability; and
  • A proof of concept for an ePermit system developed for disability parking permits and integrated with Council's local authority systems.

RRC has an open data publishing framework and publishes datasets on the data.gov.au site. An aligned project is the implementation of Council's data warehouse. With the planned implementation of a data warehouse and community dashboard, Council intends publishing the parking sensor datasets and presenting information on Council's public website community dashboard.

The implementation of the parking sensor system and full integration with the local authority infringement system has resulted in efficiency gains and simplification of the infringement process (e.g. no longer physically chalking tyres—the digital chalking with the sensors means the Local Laws officers can walk directly to the offending vehicle and the sensor data from the parking bay is transmitted to the officer's device).

Benefits

  • With the use of a mobile device application (PayStay), motorists are able to search available parking in the CBD. The parking bay sensors send a signal to a cloud based system (occupied or vacant) which then displays this information on the PayStay app.
  • Providing a graphical / mapping display of the parking availability has resulted in motorists being able to drive directly to vacant parking bays, and therefore reducing traffic congestion and vehicle emissions. Prior to being able to view parking availability via the PayStay App or digital wayfinding banners, motorists would have to weave throughout the streets of the CBD contributing to traffic congestion and vehicle emissions.
  • Having a visual display of available parking has provided an incentive for the community to visit the CBD for business and shopping. Motorists can now plan their visit to the CBD knowing that they can use technology to find parking options.
  • The availability of real time data has meant that Council's traffic engineers can easily view current parking behaviour and be more effectively informed for future parking strategic planning.
  • Greater efficiencies with parking space management, due to integration with Council local authority systems.
  • Proof of concept for an innovative digital solution for the Australian Disability Parking Scheme, with in-principle support from sample stakeholder groups.

Lessons learned

From a technology perspective and working with vendors, we had established arrangements and had delivered projects in partnership with them. So things went fairly smoothly in that area.

However, with regard to the disability ePermit portion of the project, the project team identified that RRC would require a government agency agreement to share a portion of the QLD Department of Transport and Main Road information. This would be accomplished under the QLD Information Privacy Act and IPP's. As a proof of concept task, this was acknowledged by both parties, but was not taken any further from in-principle acknowledgement.

Potentially need to change the QLD Road Rules (s203), which requires disability parking permit holders to physically display the permit certificate.

Outcomes

  • 375 sensors (now more than 900 sensors in total) installed below the surface of on-street parking bays in the CBD. The sensors use three axis electromagnetic technology to detect vehicles in the parking bays. The sensors are low powered units with a five year battery life. The installation also includes solar powered relay devices installed in traffic sign poles throughout the CBD and a Wi-Fi Access Point which transmits the sensor data to a cloud based web presence.
  • Three double-sided digital banners mounted on Smart Light Poles within the CBD which displays numerically the available standard and disabled parking spaces throughout the CBD.
  • The sensor data provides real-time parking availability to motorists via the PayStay* mobile device app. This data is also displayed on the digital wayfinding banners. * Noting RRC parking is free, ‘PayStay’ is the vendor name for the App.
  • The data, made available via a cloud based web presence, is used by Council Traffic Engineers to develop real-time reports on parking behaviour (this was previously done by inefficient point in time physical counting of vehicle occupancy).
  • The sensor data, integrated with Council's Local Laws systems, provides efficiencies and innovation with parking enforcement.
  • Based on the utilisation of the parking bays in the project area (2 July 2018 to 5 December 2018), 205,484 motorists parked in the sensor installed parking bays.
  • Based on the utilisation of the parking bays in all areas of the CBD (2 July 2018 to 5 December 2018), 596,402 motorists had access to view the parking wayfinding digital banners.
  • Based on the utilisation of the 16 designated disabled parking bays in all areas of the CBD (2 July 2018 to 5 December 2018), 10,399 motorists used the disabled parking bays and had access to view the parking bay availability via the parking wayfinding digital banners.

Contact details

Name: Drew Stevenson
Phone: 07 4936 8529
Email: drew.stevenson@rrc.qld.gov.au