by Alan Jacques
LIMERICK is leading the way in making parking in the city more accessible and less frustrating for disabled drivers.
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 local firm ParkMagic, and now supported by the Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland (DDAI).
The revolutionary new SpaceFinder app will ensure that disabled drivers no longer need to search for accessible parking bays only to find them occupied. By using the app, available on Apple and Android, they will instead be able to pinpoint vacant accessible spaces and for those with Apple CarPlay, provide real-time navigation to the nearest available space.
The local authority’s Traffic Department have installed small sensors at accessible parking bays in the city centre. Information from these sensors provides real-time updates on the SpaceFinder and Limerick eParking apps about the occupancy status of that space.
The 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.
“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,” said Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Daniel Butler.
The Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland (DDAI) is now asking every local authority to consider using the SpaceFinder service.
“For many of our members and others in 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,” said Richard Ryder, Communications Manager with the Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland said.
“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.”