App that helps drivers cut time wasted searching for empty parking spaces to go live in Bristol

November 30, 2018

A pioneering app that helps drivers find an on-street parking space and so help tackle congestion has chosen Bristol for its launch.

The crowdsourced data-led app, called Parklook, goes live on Tuesday (4 December) with the aims to be one of the easiest, safest and fastest ways to improve kerbside parking. 

The pilot phase will be used to test user experience and opinion ahead of a planned national launch next year.              

Parklook selected Bristol for the trial following reports suggesting drivers in the city spend a shocking 46 hours a year looking for a parking space. It is also estimated that, at some times of day, more than a third of congestion is as a result of drivers circling for a roadside parking space. 

According to Bristol’s latest quality of life survey residents in Bishopston and Southville are particularly concerned about congestion as these areas suffer high levels of pollution with parking at a premium.

The firm also believes its arrival supports Bristol City Council’s recently published draft transport strategy, which looks at ways to improve public transport, encourage cycling, and make car use more efficient and reliable.

As part of the strategy, a key outcome is to ensure “on and off-street parking [is] managed efficiently”. Parklook hopes to be one of the tools those who need to drive in Bristol can use to support this strategy.        

Parklook is a crowdsourced app, backed by international investment but based in the UK, which seeks to solve the prevalent problem of inner-city parking users share their information with each other when arriving or leaving parking spaces.

Parklook founder and CEO Alexey Shinkarenko said: “This is an exciting opportunity, with potential benefits not just for drivers in Bristol, but for the wider community. 

“Parklook will become one of the first apps in the UK to allow peer-to-peer information sharing about the availability of parking spaces, which we think will have wide ranging benefits to communities – including not only reducing the time wasted in searching for parking, but also in reducing pollution and traffic congestion.

“Bristol is a forward-looking city with a strategic vision for the future, a core element of which is to improve movement of people and services citywide. We hope that this app will contribute to successful development of one aspect of this strategy.

“We also hope that the benefits of our app will be felt at this particularly busy time of year by communities getting ready for Christmas.”

According to survey conducted by Parklook, the average driver on North Street in Southville parks for just six minutes and is one of 35 cars an hour at peak times looking to park for just a single errand, such as buying coffee – one of the most popular reasons for Southville drivers to pull up and park during morning drivetime.

During the morning rush, a car drives into each parking bay every 90 seconds and one leaves every two minutes 20 seconds on average.

In Bishopston, residents have to wait much longer to park. Drivers on Gloucester Road tend to run errands rather than just stop for coffee, meaning, on average, only two spaces are available on average in a 30-minute period in some busy stretches.

In Southville some 86% and in Bishopston 91% of residents say congestion is a problem for the area. Bristol City Council’s transport strategy, consultation for which closed last month, is aiming to tackle congestion and futureproof the city – but it accepts that some Bristolians do need to drive, and the city’s parking problem is not going away. 

Parklook describes its app as “exciting and innovative” and capable of being further developed in response to user feedback and, in due course, in a number of locations.

Over the next couple of years it plans to cover the rest of the UK and move into Europe. London-based Parkflow UK was registered in September in preparation for the launch.

The project was co-founded by Alexey Shinkarenko and Egor Boyarkin, both former lawyers with more than 20 years of experience working for multinational law firms and consulting companies. The project has been developed over the past three years.

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