ParkFind - the solution to Cape Town's parking woes01 June 2017 ‐ 5 min read
Ask any office worker, company representative, business person or housewife what the most annoying thing about driving in Cape Town is and they’ll tell you: it’s the difficulty of finding a good parking spot in Cape Town!
As this busy cosmopolitan city grows in stature and size, parking space is at a premium, wherever you go. Our client, Street Parking Solutions, is a Cape Town-based company that manages parking marshals in and around the city’s busy central districts. They provide parking management solutions to on-street and off-street parking sectors, using a combined approach that involves people, technology and effective processes. When they needed unique and effective assistance with solving some of Cape Town’s parking woes, they approached us for a mobile solution.
Over 30% of city traffic is caused by drivers looking for a parking spot.
What’s the Problem?
According to an IBM report, over 30% of city traffic is caused by drivers looking for a parking spot. Cape Town is no different – it is exceptionally difficult for commuters to find open parking bays especially in the CBD. Parking marshals oversee designated areas, with a specific number of parking bays allocated to their watch. This team of marshals use devices to issue tickets and track how many bays are available or open in each of their areas.
Working closely with the Street Parking Solutions team, we created ParkFind, a mobile application that helps drivers find specific areas within the Cape Town CBD, where they are most likely able to find an open on-street parking bay. The application works quite simply, making use of a colour-coded reference that indicates the likelihood of finding open parking spots. The colour coding functions, as follows:
Green – users are very likely to find an open parking spot here
Orange – users have a good chance of finding an open parking spot here
Red – it is unlikely that users will find an open parking spot here, but there are one or two open spots
Grey - no parking information is available at this time
How Does ParkFind Work?
ParkFind works intuitively from the moment it’s installed on a user’s mobile device. The user signs in, and using their mobile phone’s GPS coordinates or location-based information, ParkFind will automatically indicate areas closest to them where they are most likely to find open parking bays. Once a user finds a spot and parks, the Street Parking Solutions marshal then scans in the car’s number plate and initiates a parking session, using their device. When the user returns to their car, the parking session ends and they can pay for their parking using the mobile application, as linked directly to their bankcard. Users can also choose to pay for their parking with cash, and simply select the option to end their parking session and pay the marshal directly. ParkFind also stores parking slips for parking paid for via the app, enabling users to view their parking history. It’s also very useful for plotting routes, as a user can input a specific destination, and ParkFind will automatically create an illustrated view of areas where they’re most likely to find parking.
ParkFind will automatically indicate areas closest to them where they are most likely to find open parking bays.
Team Perspectives On ParkFind
This was the first mobile application our team has worked on that utilised clustering. If there are more than a certain amount of ‘pins’ on the map showing the likelihood of parking bay availability, it is grouped so that the user’s screen isn’t overloaded with pins. The “in-field testing” has been super interesting and we’ve already learned so much. Working with Street Parking Solutions and PayGate as the payment gateway provider, has proven to be an incredible experience for our team.
We’re excited about the first phase of the ParkFind application which has just launched, and focuses on Cape Town’s CBD. This will be used as a pilot phase, before rolling out to a larger area in Cape Town or other Street Parking Solution managed parking areas. The possibilities for ParkFind are infinite right now, as we look ahead to solving parking woes and creating unique solutions for commuters in Cape Town and beyond.