Virtual parking and payment system to be launched

City centre bottlenecks caused by roadside deliveries could be a thing of the past, thanks to a virtual parking and payment system to be launched later this year.
The Virtual Parking Solution (VPS) will allow councils to create virtual bays that are exempt from current marked restrictions.

The bays can then be booked by commercial operators whose vehicles recognise the bays using accurate, real-time GPS telemetry.

The booking of kerb-space not only allows commercial vehicle operators to avoid hefty fines (totalling 500m in 2008 in London alone), but will also reduce their admin burden.

At the same time, the Virtual Parking System will help councils improve traffic flow, reduce congestion and cut CO2 emissions by effectively managing the kerb-space.

Thanks to funding from product design initiative Design Network North (DNN), Boldon based ACTIV8 VPS is now developing the system in partnership with global technology company NorthgateArinso.

The new system was conceived by Neil Herron after successful Proof of Concept trials with DHL Tradeteam and Westminster Council.

Using technology developed by FleetM8 inventor Dr. Phillip Tann, ACTIV8 VPS is likely to be implemented for commercial delivery fleets on Red Routes enforced by Transport for London, before being adopted by other London boroughs and councils across the rest of the country.

Neil Herron, Activ8 Director, said: This is an ambitious project which has taken many months and many conversations to get underway. DNN has steadfastly supported us during these early phases of development, which has allowed us to go to key government and industry players and get their support.

Without DNNs early support and belief in our goals, this project would not have got off the ground. We are now in great shape to make a real difference to crowded and congested cities around the world, both in terms of CO2 reduction and quality of life.

The best way to visualise the system is to imagine an air traffic control system for roads which can then be grown to include Virtual Electric Vehicle bays and assist Blue Badge Holders with parking options.

Ian Meyer from NorthgateArinso, added: Since starting work on this project, we have become increasingly convinced that this is a great project to be involved in both commercially and ethically. Thanks to DNN, we plan to bring the ACTIV8 VPS System to market in the very near future.

The FleetM8 System is already a hit in transport-reliant industries and is currently being used by transport company Arriva to monitor bus routes and Londons pub traders to track beer deliveries.

Dr Martin McGurk, is a project manager for business services firm RTC North and supported the VPS project through the Design Network North service:

ACTIV8s Virtual Parking System could be used in any city around the world where authorities need to improve traffic management.

The remote charging and tracking system means there is no need to invest and maintain expensive Loading bay infrastructure. It will also deliver substantial savings processing and collecting fines.

Discussions are currently taking place with a number of authorities and the first live trials are expected to commence early summer 2011.

The North East based Design Network North, run by RTC North, has already boosted the regional economy to the tune of 7m according to an independent report by Brightpurpose Consulting a company specialising in evaluating public sector investment.

Funded by One North East and the European Regional Development Fund, Design Network North is part of Solutions for Business, the governments package of publicly funded business support designed to help companies start and grow.

Based at RTC North in Sunderland, until the construction of the Northern Design Centre at the heart of Gatesheads Baltic Business Quarter, the network will benefit from 857,396 of European Union investment from the ERDF Competitiveness Programme 2007-13, managed by regional development agency One North East.

The ERDF programme is bringing over 250m into the North East to support innovation, enterprise and business support across the region.
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