The anxiety that accompanies searching endlessly for a carpark on a busy morning, time sifting away, as each fresh circuit of surrounding streets takes you further and further from your destination.
An phone-based application developed by a team of researchers at Charles Sturt University aims to put that frustration into the past.
“The key finding is that 30 per cent of traffic congestion in cities happens because people are [driving] around trying to find a suitable parking spot,” said Dr Sabih Rehman, research spearhead.
“It’s a waste of resources and time, and it adds to the air pollution.”
Using real-time algorithms, the app predicts the exact parking spots that will be available at any given destination by the time the driver arrives at that location.
“So far, we’ve been able to pinpoint the parking spot to between 70 and 75 per cent accuracy,” said Dr Rehman.
Before making the technology publicly available, Dr Rehman’s team is hoping to increase the accuracy to a consistent 80 per cent.
Although the app does not have the power to make a bad driver better at parking, its features do allow for those who are among the ‘parking challenged’ population.
“Say, that I am a bad driver, and I will be reaching my venue in 30 minutes,” said Dr Rehman.
“I can factor into that time an extra five minutes, which will be the time I need to struggle into that parking spot.”
Trialed firstly in Port Macquarie, the technology is far from cheap.
For the availability function to be entirely accurate, a sensor needs to be deposited in each parking spot around a city.
Each individual sensor used in the test runs costs in excess of $300, but they will be scaled-down lower tech versions used when the plan turns into an actuality.
“Prices do vary, and technology is always evolving. It’s becoming cheaper and smaller, so what we’re looking at the moment would not be as [expensive] as the current units,” said Dr Rehman.
With a battery life up to eight years, Dr Rehman considers the purchase to be an investment in safer cities.
“In the long run, it’s drivers that are saving through convenience,” he said.
“Councils, that own the parking will also be supplying better services.”
It will be a matter of time before the operation makes its way to Wagga proper.
So far, scheduled tests will continue in Port Macquarie, but since Dr Rehman lived in Wagga up until 2017, he is keen to bring the technology back home.
“I’d really like to explore opportunities in Wagga,” he said.
“It really is the same model applied anywhere, so we would like to develop it in Wagga too.”