Imagine getting to your destination after some unfortunate traffic jam, pulling out your phone, and having an app tell you exactly where you need to go to find an empty parking space. That might be the future Malta’s capital city is heading towards.
As part of a pilot project, 100 sensors were recently installed beneath the top layer of asphalt in parts of the Valletta ring-road near Auberge de Bavière (Triq Marsamxett and Triq San Bastjan). The battery-powered, element and vandal-proof parking sensors were linked up to popular, EU-certified app Fastprk, which has gradually become one of the world’s leading parking management systems.
The app, which is available for both iOS and Android, is entirely free to use and offers a solution as simple as it sounds. Fastprk will mark any available parking spaces in the area as green, immediately pointing users to where they need to go. The app also shows additional information such as reserved parking places, residential spaces, and even disabled slots.
The Valletta project is managed by CVA Technology Company Ltd, the same firm that manages the camera-based access scheme to the capital. The proof of concept exercise has been successfully tested during the past few weeks, and CVA’s hope, of course, is that the project is extended to other parts of Valletta.
In a description of the project’s merits on Transport Malta’s website, it was also estimated that such technologies can reduce one’s time looking for parking by between 35% and 60%.
Qormi has already installed similar parking sensors in some of its main streets which have been in use for a coupe of months now, but this new system in Valletta marks the country’s first real-time solution to parking hooked up to an actual mobile phone app.
In a statement to Times of Malta, a spokesperson for Transport Malta echoed what Qormi mayor Rosianne Cutajar said the government had planned for the rest of Malta and Gozo; the system is coming to different localities around the island. “The Valletta pilot will now guide the technical specifications for future implementation of the system across Malta,” the spokesperson concluded.