Westminster council launches world-first sensor trial to detect illegal parking

In a world first, Westminster City Council is to introduce new technology designed to address the problem of inconsiderate drivers parking in disabled bays.

The plans are linked to Westminster’s successful pilot of parking bay sensors in central London. Working in partnership with Smart Parking, the city council has rolled out more than 3,300 sensors which detect when a vehicle has occupied a parking space. Drivers can use a phone app, called ParkRight, to see when parking spaces are available in real time.

Now, disabled drivers can be issued with electronic permits which communicate with the sensors in the road.

Should a car without an EPermit park in a disabled bay with a sensor illegally, nearby traffic wardens will be alerted so that they can go to the site and ask the driver to move on. They also have the power to issue a fine as a last resort, the city council said.

Cllr Heather Acton, Westminster City Council cabinet member for parking, commented: Parking in a disabled bay must be one of the most inconsiderate things a driver can do — yet we still see it very regularly in Westminster.

We hope this new technology will put an end to this poor practice and help improve the day-to-day lives of disabled drivers in the city.

Funding for the latest trial has come from the city council’s parking fund, paid for by drivers who pay for parking in the city, and also from Transport for London’s incubator fund which supports innovative new transport ideas.

The pilot project is planned to last around eight weeks. If it proves successful, the scheme could be rolled out across the city.

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