On-street parking in Sydney is often expensive, difficult and confusing. Scratching heads over illogical street signs has become as much of a local pastime as sunbathing at Bondi and complaining about rent prices. Spot Parking wants to change this.
Founded in Sydney by Elizabeth Zealand (who was previously CEO of the NSW Opal fare system), Spot has mapped more than 200,000 parking signs around the US and Australia, placing them in real-time, interactive maps. So far in Sydney it’s covered the streets of Sydney CBD, Pyrmont, Redfern, Surry Hills, Alexandria, Bondi Beach, Coogee Beach and Parramatta CBD, and will soon be extending its range from Glebe to Bronte Beach.
“As the former CEO of Opal card, I have a love of infrastructure-less solutions (I think parking meters are the typewriters of transport),” Zealand tells Broadsheet. “But Spot really started after I received two parking fines in one day, one due to misunderstanding the sign.”
Accordingly, the map shows drivers how long they’ll be able to stay in parking spots at the exact time of the day they’ll be there, approximately how many spots are located on a stretch of road, and whether it’s free or paid (or car-share only). It also gives users the option to search for the specific time they want to park and for how long, and it highlights disabled parking spots, as well as no-stopping and no-parking roads and loading zones.
Spot hopes to help reduce fuel consumption, reduce traffic congestion from circulating cars, and help people find on-street parking more efficiently.
As well as various roads in Sydney, Spot has also mapped out the parking signs of Melbourne’s CBD; school areas in the City of Parramatta; Bendigo’s city centre; the neighbourhood of Hollywood, LA; and Ohio State University in Columbus in the US (which has more than 36,000 parking spaces).
It’s all done using technology that can map, digitise and then translate information sourced from parking signs for users.