Misuse of mobility parking spaces in Christchurch will be addressed with some new technology.
The city council and CCS Disability Action have joined forces for a pilot project aimed at making it easier to find mobility parking spaces and to stop them being abused.
Sensors have been put on selected mobility spaces that detect Bluetooth tiles affixed to the back of mobility permits.
If the sensors do not pick up a Bluetooth signal they will send a real-time alert to enforcement teams that a non-mobility card holder or someone using a mobility card that is no longer valid might be parked in a mobility parking space.
The project involves the development of an app that identifies where mobility parks in Christchurch are located.
It also allows alerts to be sent to authorities if a car is illegally parked in a mobility park.
If the reported misuse relates to a public carpark it will be shared in real time with the Christchurch City Council’s Parking Enforcement Team so it can take action.
The Access Aware app, developed for CCS Disability Action by ThunderMaps, is due to be released on 1 October and allows users to share information about the location of mobility parks.
“Misuse of mobility parks in New Zealand is a big issue and a real concern for those with disabilities who have a genuine need for these parking spaces,’’ said city council Smart Cities Programme Manager Teresa McCalllum.
“With this project we hope to begin solving the problem of mobility parking card abuse and make it easier for those with disabilities to find parks.’’
CCS Disability Action chief executive David Matthews said this world-first initiative could prove life-changing for Christchurch residents with access issues.
“Our research shows that levels of parking abuse have not approved in 10 years, with abuse rates still unacceptably high despite increases in fines and attempts to grow awareness of the problem.
“Using a mobility parking space without a permit even for just a minute can block a disabled person’s opportunity to live life freely,’’ Mr Matthews said.