Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


MIRACLES Report Summary

Project ID: 11953
Funded under: FP5-GROWTH
Country: Ireland

Implementing a mobile phone based parking payment scheme

This measure introduced a system for parking-fee payment by mobile phone. People interested in availing of the service applied to a company called the Park-by-Phone (PbP) Consortium who issued them with a registration pack.

Following registration, each registered user pays a small sum of money into their PbP account which is drawndown whenever they use the service. To use the service they receive a barcode from PbP which they affix to their vehicle then whenever they park in a PbP zone they call the PbP number & input their PIN & the streetzone number on the PbPsign. Customers can receive a text reminder 10 mins before they need to go move the car or top-up payment for 1 extra hr. To monitor compliance with Parking Payment By-Laws traffic wardens were issued with handheld devices which they use to scan the barcodes for automatic feedback about the users parking payment status. The handhelds can also be used for recording all parking violations printing parking tickets, thus greatly increase efficiency of parking enforcement and reduce paper/card consumption.

This is a system which could be introduced be introduced by any municipality operating/considering operating a system for on-street parking restrictions. The PbP system is highly innovative in an Irish context. When Cork proposed it for MIRACLES in 2001, no other municipality in the Irish Republic had such a system. Subsequently, a phone-based parking system: MPark was introduced in Dublin in Mid 2004. This is quite different from PbP as it simply offers a cashless payment at pay&display machines.

Customers simply ring a number to automate payment to the machine, which then prints off the appropriate receipt/ticket for display. It is thus a more time-consuming payment method than PbP but it also requires no changes to the aprking enforcement regime. Another system for parking payment by phone: ParkMagic(PM) was introduced in Limerick in Nov. 05. This has the advantage of greater anonymity as users simply by an electronic display with an ID number and parking credit, which they top-up as they would a phone; so it requires users to visit a shop or use the internet to top-up. Once registered PbP users no longer need to shop for parking payment tickets/credits.

Cork City Council is still the only Irish city using PbP. In Feb 06 User-Surveys 97% were satisfied-very satisfied with it, 99% would use it again & 90% found it easy to use, 10% had slight difficulty- but 9% were 1st time/rare users. The main reasons for use were faster/easier than disc parking 79%, ability to top-up remotely 18% & easier cost/billing method 1%. However when the service was 1st introduced it was confined to citycentre. In response to user demands it was subsequently expanded into 120 suburban streets.

Cork City Council also benefits from PbP because of:
- Reduced demand for the production of parking discs- which has significant financial and environmental associated costs.
- The PbP system is supplied by a System for Automatic recording & relaying of information about all parking violations form warden handhelds and systems for on-line phonebased payment of parking fines. This greatly expedites the parking enforcement and fine payment system.

Critical Success Factors:
- Discuss the new system with Traffic Wardens before introduction of a new parking payment system and maintain good dialogue during training and implementation.
- If issuing handhelds to wardens they can carry them safely or affix to belts.
- Ensure handheld printers and paper have high water impermeability.
- If users need to register on the system, make this easy: provide the barcode/user display with the registration system. Consider on the spot, on-street registration/display issue.
- Ensure the area in which the new system can be used is of sufficient size & parking demand to be attractive to users. Areas far from shops selling parking discs should be particularly considered. Incentives like a months free parking can encourage initial uptake.
- To maintain usage total costs to users including call costs should be no more than disc parking.
- Text warning of fee expiry & an extra hr grace can also encourage usage.
- Weigh up eco-benefits of lower paper consumption against Life Cycle Analysis of electronic Equipment.

Reported by

Traffic Division, Roads & Transportation Directorate Cork City Council
Albert Quay House, Albert Quay, Cork City
N/A Cork
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