A little tech thing with potentially amazing consequences is about to kick in in some council offices around the country, with a handful of our regional administrators offering their car parking data in one unified "parking language" format. This could mean it'll be possible to browse available car parking spaces in towns you're nowhere near. How exciting does that sound? I know. I know. Yes, I know. I know.
Like, you could see if the Bodmin's Victoria Square Car Park has any available spaces while in, say, Nottingham. You could keep an eye on Brighton's NCP Car Park as it quickly fills up on a sunny day, and feel glad you are nowhere in the vicinity and are not the one paying and fighting to get out. It'll be the best thing to happen in transport data since live arrivals and departures boards for trains.
The first places to see the digital car parking data launch are spots in Manchester, Oxfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Essex, where chunks of a £1m government Department for Transport grant are being used to encourage councils to share their availability data in identical formats so app makers can have their tedious way with it. Not all councils have posh car-counting modern parks, mind, so much of urban parking in the near future will still involve winging it and gambling on how near to the centre you dare go before bailing out.
Nigel Williams of the British Parking Association said: "The new standards will enable the next generation of apps and connected cars to find a parking space, park and pay – with little or no intervention from the driver." [GOV via BBC]
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