iPhone app targets misuse of handicap parking spaces

A new iPhone app has been developed by a Canadian non-profit company, designed to both help handicapped people find accessible parking spaces – as well as report inappropriate use of the reserved spaces by drivers without a proper permit.

Called Parking Mobility, it was developed by Vancouver resident Campbell MacDonald and his Calgary business partner Craig Spradling, who suffers from cerebral palsy.

In order to report illegal use of the reserved spaces the app allows the user to upload a series of photos (the licence plate, the front windscreen showing there isn’t a placard, and a shot showing the parking spot) and then automatically adds a GPS stamp to show where the infraction took place and a time stamp to show when it occurred.

The City of Vancouver is accepting the information at this stage on a trial basis, without actually enforcing or sending tickets to the car owners. The council is also working with the system developers to see how they can integrate the technology with the city system. One problem is that there are only 50 accessible parking spaces under municipal control. The other 4,000 spaces scattered around town are in private lots, which are not monitored by the city.

We welcome any additional form of monitoring that is going to increase the availability of parking spaces for those who are less mobile and expect that other similar apps will be developed locally in the near future.  Whilst at this stage the technology is only available to those with an iPhone handset, it will be an interesting trial for the power of ‘citizen reporting’ in enforcing parking.

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