A number of studies have shown that vehicles cruising around to find parking are a significant cause of congestion. In addition to the congestion itself, this leads to wasted time, fuel, money and unnecessary CO2 emissions which have a negative impact on the environment.
The aim of ParkUs is to reduce the amount of time people spend driving around looking for parking when there isn’t any, and the pollution and congestion that can cause. The goal isn’t to encourage more driving, but to help make it easier for those who do have to drive, and reduce the negative impacts of car use for everyone. The app will help people who need to drive to choose a good time to go shopping for example, or you might use it when you come home from work instead of driving around looking for a space.
This real-time parking availability app made by Toshiba Research Labs with the aim of reducing parking space search time can be downloaded now for free. The app is being trialed in a localised area within Easton, with data contributed by other users of the app to provide parking availability information.
How does it work?
ParkUs uses anonymous crowd-sourced data from many phones to give ParkUs users an idea of parking availability for the places they might want to visit – like shopping streets for example. It will also let you know when it is unlikely to be any parking available, meaning it might be better for you to travel at a different time, or use a different way to get to your destination (if that is an option).
This new Android phone app will work best when we get lots of people using it, as it relies on feedback from users about their ability to park, so we need lots of people to have a go and help us test it out. When you use the app it will give you an idea of where there might be available on-street parking at a destination you tell it. As more people use it, so the information will get more accurate. Use of the app is anonymous, and it does not collect any personal information during use.
When and where will it be ready to use?
ParkUs has been tested and polished in the University of the West of England campus during the last year. Now it has been made open to the public in Bristol. We will focus the trial mainly in the Easton area of Bristol for a couple of months, but the app can be used in any area of the city. Findings from this study will help to refine the app.
How to get involved?
Those interested in using ParkUs and helping us develop the app to create a powerful tool that will improve the way Bristol citizens move around the city can find the app on the Google Play store, download it by clicking here or scan the following QR:
ParkUs provides information on the availability of parking spaces on the streets depending on how do the users act with their vehicles. If a user looking for a parking space does not stop in a certain street the app will assume that there are no available park spaces in it. Therefore, the more users the app get, the more information will be able to offer ParkUs to its users.
Grey streets on ParkUs’ map means that there is no information available about them. To get information a user would need to drive around them or manually input the information on the app.
Electric bikes →
Electric power-assisted bikes will be trialled in participating organisations for their staff to use during the working day and make commuting to and from work easier.
Electric taxi-bus / The Buzz →
An electric taxi-bus will provide convenient journeys in a vehicle shared with other passengers at an affordable price.
Electric vehicles →
Several electric vehicles will be available to hire in Ashley, Easton and Lawrence Hill, as part of the Co-wheels car club scheme.
Travelwest Journey Planner →
A new and improved journey planner will be launched and will include new ways of getting around Bristol and the project area.