SEAT has developed the Parkfinder app, which indicates where there is available street parking thanks to data gathered via Barcelona's iCity platform. Drivers simply enter where they are headed, or once at their location, ask the app where there is available parking.
As any other iCity Project App, it can be used in every European Country as long as it has opened its Information System to the iCity Project. iCity Project started in January 2012 when the cities of Barcelona, Genoa and Bologna started working together with other partners of the project: Abertis, CISCO, Fraunhofer Institute, Citilab and the Open University of Catalonia Foundation (UOC) and the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC). The project, which has been supported by the European Commission, is now in its concluding phase.
Most people spend an average of 20 minutes finding street parking in Europe’s main cities, said Jordi Caus, who is responsible for New Projects on Alternative Mobility at SEAT. At any given time, 30% on average of Europeans driving in cities are looking for a place to park.
This challenge will be even greater in the future, as a UN report points to 66% of the world population living in urban areas by 2050, which will result in “more vehicles on city roads, more traffic congestion and ultimately, more parking problems”, says Jordi Ortuño, Barcelona Council Smart Cities project coordinator.
The app is in pilot testing in the Les Corts neighborhood after an agreement was struck with the Barcelona Council, but the more ambitious goal is for this app to perform many other functions.
New technologies will not focus solely on solving parking problems—there are many other challenges in urban mobility. One of these is to prevent traffic congestion, “by getting cars to spread out on several city streets before any arteries get clogged”, says Jordi Caus. “In the near future we should be able to achieve much more efficient urban mobility. That’s what we’re working on—getting driving to be much more relaxed, safer and more economical as well”, he concludes.