Parking sensors will alert motorists to empty spaces

Motorhome insurance policy owners may find parking in Westminster, London a little easier in future, as new technology is introduced in a bid to cut down on congested streets.

Westminster City Council is starting a three month trial in which sensors will be placed in the streets of the borough indicating whether parking spaces are available. The idea, which is concurrently being tried in San Francisco, is that motorists entering the borough will access the information from an app on their mobile devices and head straight for the spot rather than driving round and round looking for a parking space.

With traffic experts believing that 30% of motorists in towns and cities are actually driving around looking for a place to stop, the benefits of the system for a city looking to reduce its carbon emissions would appear to be inviting and exciting, and anyone who has ever driven in London will appreciate the thought of moving around with a reduction in traffic by a third. The scheme will just operate in half a dozen streets at first including Saville Row but if successful will cover the whole borough by the end of 2014.

Authors of the pilot anticipate motorists will eventually register a vehicle with the scheme and a strategically placed sensor on the vehicle will log its position on a data base. This will allow the system to charge for the parking place on an account already set up by the vehicle owner. They also believe a successful outcome would lead to the idea being introduced to satellite navigation systems rather than mobile devices, which would automatically make the prospect more appealing to road safety campaigners.