Thanks Berlin! Next Stop Copenhagen...


Last week I embarked on a tour of Europe with an Austrade delegation. First stop was Berlin, arguably the startup capital of the continent, where we were hosted by the Australian Ambassador to Germany Lynette Wood welcoming the Austrade delegation to Europe. 

Having spent the week at an intense bootcamp, we’ve now arrived in Copenhagen to kick off the ITS congress.  For me, this trip is not only about introducing Spot Parking to a wider audience - although, telling our international friends the possibilities that our technology presents is no bad thing. The AusTrade cohort is actually pretty special this year as it is the first one to focus entirely on a single sector - mobility and transport.  

Australia has so much to offer in this sector and it is exciting to be here alongside other inspirational Australian based startups. What I am most excited about at the congress is the opportunity to connect, learn and share between Europe and Australia in the mobility, smart city and autonomous vehicle sectors. Learning from each other and building better cities around the world. I’ll be sharing trends, insights and a little bit of news from the congress, so stay tuned.

Elizabeth Zealand is the CEO of Spot Parking

What's parking got to do with safety?

Ask someone what they think the main impact on pedestrian safety is and most will say speeding. However, in heavily congested areas, pedestrian safety is slightly more nuanced.

When we are talking about heavily congested areas we are talking about congestion in terms of both pedestrians and vehicles.  Picture a local school at drop off or pick up times and you will probably picture an element of chaos, with parents and children crossing roads, impatient drivers stuck in traffic, and cars strewn along the roadside.

There are actually two behaviours that, when tackled in unison can greatly improve pedestrian safety in heavily congested areas: Speeding, and Illegal Parking.



It goes without saying that speed kills. Speed impairs a driver’s ability to control their vehicle, increases the distance travelled while the driver reacts to the potential collision, and increases the possibility of a fatality in the event of a pedestrian impact.

Research shows that if a pedestrian is hit at 50km/h, the probability of death increases by over 55% compared with the same accident at 40km/h.


Illegal parking

Illegal parking is perhaps less of an obvious factor to pedestrian safety. Nonetheless, research from Europe revealed that 30% to 50% of child pedestrian crashes involved visual obstacles.  These visual obstacles are usually parked cars where children are emerging unsighted to cross the road (Child pedestrian's exposure, accidents and behaviour – Van der Molen).

‘No stopping’ zones are well thought out and positioned in such a way as to maximise visibility for both pedestrians and drivers. Increased fines and demerits in active school zones were introduced to act as a deterrent to ignoring these parking rules, however not everyone realises the implications of being fined within an active school zone.  Parents are often busy, stressed, and rushing when picking up and dropping off children.  What’s more, not everyone is aware of the potentially fatal impact of ‘just stopping for a minute’ and ignoring parking rules in school zones and beyond.


How SPOT is helping

In an effort to help change this behaviour, SPOT is proud to have teamed up with the City of Parramatta council to deliver an innovative educational dashboard designed to support onboarding of new parents.

The School Parking Finder dashboard leverages our data collection technology and allows time dynamic visualisation of parking restrictions.

With a simple three colour legend, new parents can easily familiarise themselves with the restrictions around their children’s schools, and plan their journey appropriately.

Significantly, the dashboard also serves as a behavioural prompt – reminding parents of the increased fines and demerits as well as speed limits in school zones.

Now that we have developed this resource, SPOT would like to deploy this project in other schools over NSW and Australia and wants to hear from you if you know of a school which suffers from speeding and illegal parking.

Get in touch:

Check out the School Parking Finder here:

Oliver Lewis is the COO of Spot Parking

Compark 2015

Congratulations to the ANPSG (Australian National Parking Steering Group) on ComPark 2015. An Interesting and thought provoking speech was given by Parking Australia CEO @Lorraine Duffy on the impact of future technologies. Some take-aways for me from the presentation were:

  • 60% of people will abandon an activity if parking is too difficult, and they will try somewhere else

  • Parking guidance systems can reduce time of journey by 43%, and distance travelled by 30%

  • Like the revolution in the accommodation industry with Wotif, a channel manager for parking could overlay all the separate systems we have for a better customer experience

  • Mobile, infrastructure-less solutions are the way of the future

  • Legislation has to keep up with technological changes

  • We need to use the data we obtain from our various systems in a more strategic manner

Lorraine also posed a question – how will the introduction of driverless vehicles impact your industry? I had a think about it.  A driverless share vehicle for instance may only need to ‘park” to refuel/charge up. Car parks could become more like service hubs for a city share fleet.

Driverless vehicles are lauded as a better safety option – will it one day become illegal to actually drive a car as a less safe/ less skilled human? Will the attachment we have with owning a vehicle dissipate? And what new safety or security risks arise from computer controlled devices?

Driverless vehicles will not speed, run red lights or park where they shouldn’t. What does this mean for infringement revenue?  How do the externalities we benefit from with lower fatalities be calculated and distributed? Will we ever need a bus driver or a taxi driver again?

A thought provoking speech indeed!

Elizabeth Zealand is the CEO of Spot Parking

Lessons from Las Vegas - 5 Key trends in smart parking

A couple of months ago I was lucky enough to attend the International Parking Institute’s conference in Las Vegas. There is a lot of talk around smart cities at the moment, and smart parking should be front and centre. Here are the 5 key trends I observed from around the world.

1.    Big Data

The integration of intelligent transport solutions, geospatial and parking data from sensors, meters and cameras helps predict demand and helps improve commercial opportunities as well as improve a city’s management.

In one example an Authority mapped parking and travel patterns to time of day and weather data. This allowed for dynamic pricing. E.g. sunny Friday’s showed excess capacity and an opportunity to lower prices to encourage demand. Another example mapped demographic and survey data to parking data, and found a mix of theatre goers and baseball fans simultaneously using a parking facility. The car park offered theatre patrons premium spaces for $20, whilst the fans parked further away for $5.

2.    Mobile

Mobile cashless parking is a very fast growing category and is transcending the dated SMS and IVR phone solutions in favour of GPS/Cloud based solutions such as SPOT. The jury is out on using apps to discover spaces, as many of the authorities were cautious to encourage mobile phone use whilst driving. Integration with smart vehicle navigation systems such as BMW was also showcased.

3.    Intelligent Transport Solutions (ITS) & Smart parking integration

It was often lamented that in many cities, the management of the roads and the management of parking is managed by separate and silo-ed entities. As we move to more ITS implementations such as driverless vehicles, connected vehicles, automatic number plate recognition and intelligent traffic signals, we can extend the prediction and risk management of traffic to the parking availability and access. After all, the transport journey doesn’t end until you’ve parked.

4.    Green/ Community

Sustainable solutions from everything like the construction materials of carparks, to better navigation thus burning less fuel while looking for parking was a growing market. In line with the growth of mobile solutions, the requirement for environmentally unfriendly meters, machines and paper tickets is reducing. Community access to a city car park for events was also trending, for instance a community fete in a car park that is disused on weekends or after hours.

5.    Social applications for wayfinding/collaborative consumption

Everything from apps that let you warn others in your area when a parking inspector is approaching, to “Airbnb” type schemes where you can rent out your parking space, the share economy has come to parking. Apps like Waze, where simply by having it on whilst you drive contributes to real time traffic data for everyone set the tone for a share economy based on minimising dwell time to commute and park.

Elizabeth Zealand is the CEO of Spot Parking

Spot Applauds an Open Approach

Congratulations Ben Rimmer on the appointment of a Chief Digital Officer, Michelle Fitzgerald.

As a recent survey by SAP has shown, the satisfaction with the digital experience in Australia needs improving across a wide range of industries.  By having an experienced CDO to look beyond just technological innovation and to the customer experience, including opening the access to data, paints a bright future for a Smart City.