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Smart Parking - Graham Street, Wonthaggi

Smart Parking

Council will introduce Smart Parking to areas of Cowes and Wonthaggi in early 2022. Smart Parking is a proven way to better manage our free parking using technology to help drivers save time finding an available bay and provide better access to businesses. It is not paid parking.

The Project will involve the installation of 730 parking bay sensors and be supported by a Smart Parking availability app to help visitors and local residents find a park faster.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Smart Parking and where is it going in?

Smart Parking is proposed in the following locations:

  • 375 on-street bays in Cowes, on Thompson Avenue, Chapel Street and The Esplanade
  • 123 off-street bays at the Cowes Transit Centre Carpark; and
  • 262 on-street bays in Wonthaggi, on Graham Street and McBride Avenue

The technology also provides data insights to make parking more efficient and to help identify service improvements in Cowes and Wonthaggi.

This project will test the impact of real time driver guidance and to minimise parking over-stays, giving fairer access to parking bays at high demand locations.

Smart Parking in Cowes will focus on guiding drivers to available parking by LED signs and to pre-plan their parking with the Smart Parking availability app.

Variable Message Signs (VMS - digital signage) will be installed in Cowes to display real-time parking availability at the key entry points.

Council will monitor the usage of Smart Parking over time and evaluate the benefits of providing real-time parking availability to drivers and assess the impact on travel times, congestion and resident and visitor experience in this busy precinct.

Cowes provides a mixture of on-street and off-street parking, with high demand from locals and tourists, who experience high parking occupancy levels during summer.

Smart Parking in Wonthaggi will also collect parking usage data to help improve the parking service and make parking more efficient. It will also test the benefits of using an ‘app only’ approach to improving driver guidance and help save time to find a park.

Why are we installing Smart Parking?
  • Through the development of Activity Centre plans, we have heard that traffic and parking demand is an issue for our community and businesses.
  • Smart Parking is proven to improve access to parking and will provide a quality parking experience that is fair and equitable for all.
  • Improved access to parking supports our local businesses by improving access and parking bay turnover which ultimately means greater numbers of visitors in these centres.
Why is VMS (digital) street signage used?
  • Smart Parking involves the installation of intelligent VMS street signs to guide the driver towards available parking.
  • Signage is a very important to ensure the benefits local residents and drivers who don’t use the Smart Parking App. These drivers will be able to rely on the signs only to be guided to available carparks (in Cowes).
When will the Smart Parking Project start?

Installation will start in February/March 2022 with the smart parking service launched mid-2022. Further information will be provided to the community and businesses as we progress through the project.

Indicative dates for the project over 2021/22

  • October 2021 – Tender released to market.
  • December 2021 – Evaluation of tender and vendor appointed.
  • February/March 2022 installation of sensors in parking bays, technology equipment and signs on poles, painting of sensor numbers in parking bays.
  • March/April 2022 operational testing of smart parking sensors, LED signs and guidance app.
  • Mid 2022 – ‘go live’ with smart parking guidance and LED signs for drivers and monitoring parking usage.
What companies are delivering Smart Parking?

Council is approaching the market to procure the Smart Parking provider who will deliver the service. The tender will be released in October 2021.

What are the key benefits of Smart Parking in other cities?

Smart Parking guidance uses real-time parking bay availability data to make it easier for drivers to find a park and help reduce travel times.

  • Saves time - similar projects show Smart Parking guidance can save 2.5 minutes each trip, adding up to over 600 hours saved per month during peak season, providing more time for shopping and recreation.
  • Increases turnover of parking bays - Smart Parking helps reduce non-compliant parking where drivers over-stay and prevent the next person from parking.

Smart Parking can reduce the number of cars cruising for a park. This can benefit everyone and reduce our emissions, creating a more sustainable and efficient city.

  • International studies suggest that 30% of traffic in areas activity centre areas are cars looking for a car park and adding to congestion.
  • The ACT Government found that the use of Smart Parking reduced travel times by up to 10% and saved drivers approximately 4,000 hours per year.
Can the Smart Parking solution be used for enforcement?
  • Yes, Smart Parking can be used to aid enforcement.
  • The Smart Parking project implementation will support the current parking restrictions. No enforcement action can be taken against drivers who adhere to the restrictions.
  • Data from the Smart Parking sensors will be utilised when considering any future traffic and parking management requirements.
  • Smart Parking does help make enforcement more efficient and the sensor technology will let us know exactly how long a car has been parked in a parking bay.
  • A key part of the enforcement approach will be user engagement and education, promoting compliance with timed parking.
Why have Cowes & Wonthaggi been selected as locations for Phase 1 of Smart Parking?

These towns offer a cross section of data to be collected. Wonthaggi has a largely resident based population and Cowes offers both resident and seasonal visitors.

The results from each town will assist Council to measure and plan for the future.

Why are other Bass Coast Towns such as Inverloch & San Remo not included in Smart Parking?

Council is working within a budget to deliver Smart Parking. Delivery of Smart Parking infrastructure in the nominated locations will assist Council to understand whether the project scope needs to be broadened to incorporate additional locations.

What process was undertaken to decide on the location of Smart Parking bays?

The location of Phase 1 Smart Parking Bays is a result of Council officer assessments undertaken.

Can automatic fines be issued even if someone is a minute/few minutes over?

The Smart Parking infrastructure does not issue infringements. Smart Parking sensor technology will provide Council with real-time data via a portal and this can assist with enforcement efficiency. Infringement notices will not be issued to drivers who adhere to parking time limits.

How does it work – do drivers have to have the app (a lot of elderly people will not be able to use it)?

Part of the Smart Parking solution will be an app available for iOS and Android mobile devices. Not having the app won't prevent anyone from using Smart Parking. It's just a helpful option for drivers that choose to use it.

Does the technology identify registration number plates?

No, the Smart Parking solution will not identify or record vehicle number plates.

How much is the rollout costing the shire?

The 2021/22 Capital Works budget includes $300,000 to deliver the Smart Parking project.

Is it a precursor to paid parking?

Smart Parking is not paid parking. Paid parking would need to be a further consideration of Council and include detailed community engagement.

How many VMS street signs will there be in Cowes?

Up to six Variable Message Signs (VMS) will be installed in Cowes. The signs will display real-time parking availability at the key entry points.

Users in Melbourne say the app fails to work and often states there are empty car parks when in fact there aren’t.

Our public tender process will evaluate the available technology including the effectiveness of supporting apps.

Demand management is only needed in peak season, so why does Bass Coast/Cowes even need it?

Smart Parking will improve both the resident and visitor experience through the provision of parking availability guidance.