Friday, January 29, 2010
The Parking Mobility iPhone app helps people report those who use handicap parking spots without a permit. (CBC)
A western Canadian non-profit company is making it easier to catch people who use handicap parking spots without a proper permit.
Parking Mobility is an new iPhone application that not only helps users find accessible parking spots, it also lets them report the cheaters who misuse them.
The program was developed by Vancouverite Campbell MacDonald and his Calgary business partner Craig Spradling, who has cerebral palsy.
MacDonald said it’s difficult enough to find accessible parking spots, and even more frustrating when the spot is taken by people without a permit.
“It’s really citizen reporting. We allow citizens to report on all kinds of things through 911 — this just takes it to the next level by providing documentation,” said MacDonald.
‘It’s really citizen reporting,’
—Software developer Campbell MacDonald”The user uploads a series of photos — the licence plate, the front windshield showing there isn’t a placard, a shot showing the parking spot,” said MacDonald.
“We take some additional information — a GPS stamp to show where the infraction took place, a time stamp to show when it occurred,” he said.
“We give that information to the city and they say, ‘OK, this provides some good documentation,’ and they send a ticket to the owner of the car.”
But so far the City of Vancouver is taking the information on a trial basis, according to Carli Edwards, a city parking management engineer.
“We’re waiting to see how this develops and we’re working with the developer to see how it integrates with the city system,” said Edwards.
One problem, MacDonald said, is that Vancouver has only has 50 accessible parking spots under municipal control. The other 4,000 spots scattered around town are in private lots, which are not monitored by the city.
MacDonald said other Canadian cities enforce all handicap parking, public and private, and he’s hoping this mobile application will prove that’s also a need in Vancouver.
The pair are also developing versions of the application for BlackBerry and Android phones.