City of Melbourne’s Data Speeds Up On-Street Parking
Soon to be gone are the days of circling for a parking space in the City of Melbourne, Australia. The ICF’s Intelligent Community of the Year has launched high-value open data providing drivers with real-time information on 4,300 in-ground city parking sensors to boost transportation transparency, clarity, and efficiency to new levels.
This is all part of a push by the City of Melbourne (CoM) to explore and release high-value datasets that make a real impact on the Melbourne community as part of the city’s strategic Smart City Approach. The data was released on CoM’s open data platform.
It didn’t take long for the CoM to realize the high demand for “car park” parking sensor data. As in many cities, streets have become congested in Melbourne and drivers were looking for a speedy, innovative way to find parking.
Based on direct community feedback, CoM knew drivers often struggled to know where there was available car parks or if they could park in a spot just by looking at the signs on the street-level. CoM wanted to release data that would address these and other challenges.
To identify key challenges and innovative solutions related to the parking sensor data, CoM collaborated with General Assembly to conduct a 48-hour hackathon with a cohort of web development students. Transport experts at CoM joined the hackathon to answer student questions and provide insights on the data.
As a result of this innovative collaboration, CoM identified the need to link parking restriction information to parking sensor data as a way of adding value to the community. Ramping up their efforts, CoM was able to provide more than 10 datasets related to parking sensors, including real-time information on vacancy, location, parking restrictions, and times of day restrictions are enforced — all updated every two minutes. What’s more, the team released 240 million rows of all past parking sensor data to provide a comprehensive, transparent picture of parking in the city.
The release of this “big data” is very valuable because it has given the community the benefit of having the big picture of what is happening in the city.
While the release of the parking sensor open data is relatively new, it’s been successfully received with 914,000 downloads of the dataset so far. It is one of CoM’s top five percent most actively used datasets. CoM has also seen two commercial apps, UbiPark and Whoosha, be developed that harness the parking sensor data to provide innovative solutions for the community.
Looking ahead, the parking sensor open data is promising in limiting congestion and improving parking services for the community. What’s more, it’s a great stride in supporting businesses and entrepreneurs with app innovations to help deliver city improvements.
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