Oxfordshire County Council turns to tech to solve parking problems

A new project has been announced that will see a high-tech approach to solving the problem of finding a Blue Badge parking space in Oxford and Witney.

The project is the result of a successful Oxfordshire County Council bid for almost £240,000 of government and will use big data and smart technology to guide vehicles towards available parking.

Called CASPAR (CollAborative Smart PARking project), the scheme will help provide up to the minute information showing the occupancy of Blue Badge spaces, carparks and some city centre pay and display spaces, as well as any new electric vehicle charge points.

Now that the money has been awarded the county council will look closely at the best ways to deliver the information and the infrastructure that would be needed.

It is likely that the information would be sent to a smartphone app that would be versatile enough to show users not only where there was a Blue Badge space available near their destination, but also to reroute them to the next nearest one if that space was taken before they got there.

The county council hopes that the scheme will help reduce stress for people trying to find somewhere to park as well as reducing congestion. Improved access to information effectively helps people to look ahead and plan journeys according to where facilities are available.

Llewelyn Morgan, Service Manager Infrastructure, Innovation & Development for Communities at the county council said: “Oxfordshire County Council is working at the cutting edge of transport at the moment and is helping a range of visions such as driverless cars and intelligent transport smartphone apps get off the ground. The way we travel continues to change, and technology has a valuable role to play through intelligent transport systems.

“The work being done now is great news especially for people who are seeking Blue Badge spaces or to charge their electric vehicle. Looking to the future there is also the prospect of the information collected by the system being pushed out to the next generation of ‘connected vehicles.”

A total of £238,928 for the project, which will start in April 2017, has been awarded from the DfT’s Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems fund following a bid submitted by Oxfordshire County Council.

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