No longer will disabled drivers need to search for accessible parking bays only to find them occupied. The revolutionary new SpaceFinder app, available on Apple and Android, can now pinpoint vacant accessible spaces and for those with Apple CarPlay, provide real-time navigation to the nearest available space.
Limerick City and County Council, having completed extensive trials in the pilot phase, is the first local authority in Ireland to begin using the SpaceFinder service, which has been developed by Limerick firm ParkMagic and now supported by the Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland (DDAI).
Limerick City and County Council Traffic Dept installed small sensors at accessible parking bays in its city centre business district. Information from these sensors provides real-time updates on the SpaceFinder and Limerick eParking apps about the occupancy status of that space.
The SpaceFinder system will enable local authorities, for the first time ever, to collect real time information on accessible bay usage and turnover. Such data would be key in planning the provision and location of accessible spaces in the future.
The Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr Daniel Butler, said “Limerick City and County Council is delighted to be leading the way again in supporting disabled drivers and visitors to the city with convenient on street parking. We are embracing the use of innovative technology to give them real-time information on where free spaces are located. We can also use the information to analyse usage levels to allow us to plan for the future.”
If their local authority comes on board with the SpaceFinder service, disabled drivers can use the App to locate a vacant accessible bay in their area. In car navigation to the driver’s chosen available space is available in Apple Carplay with Android Auto support arriving in early 2022. In addition, users of the Limerick eParking App on both IOS and Android can now use their App to locate accessible bays in that area.
Commenting on the launch, Paul Fitzgerald, the Chief Executive of ParkMagic said “We were delighted to spearhead the development of this service and its launch in Limerick City with the assistance of Limerick City and County Council . We believe it demonstrates the real-world benefits for both drivers and the environment of using the very latest technologies to shorten the search time for available spaces, saving time, fuel, traffic and stress!”
The Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland (DDAI) is now asking every local authority to consider using the SpaceFinder service.
Richard Ryder, Communications Manager, Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland said: “For many of our members and others in the disabled driver community, finding an available accessible parking bay can be an incredibly difficult, time-consuming and frustrating experience. Often, it can mean a lot of searching and in some cases, a wasted journey as the driver is forced to return home and try again later.
"A service like SpaceFinder that gives real-time information on accessible parking bays in cities and towns across Ireland would be a huge boost, and we would ask local authorities to give serious consideration to this excellent initiative.”