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Thursday, 20th January 2022

Disabled drivers call on Council to introduce ‘game-changing’ parking app

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Richard Ryder of the Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland with the new Spacefinder app.

New Spacefinder app means finding a vacant accessible parking space is just a click away 

The Disabled Drivers Association has called on Louth and Meath County Councils to introduce a new service that would solve a huge problem for them – locating an accessible parking space that is vacant. 

Finding somewhere to park can be a nightmare for disabled drivers. Often they have to drive round and round in search of a vacant accessible space. 

Their frustration could be easily overcome however, if the Council agreed to install a small sensor at accessible parking bays which would connect with the recently developed DDAI Spacefinder app which would tell app users where the accessible parking spaces are and whether or not they are vacant. 

Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland (DDAI) spokesperson Richard Ryder said: “Driving means independence and equal opportunity for our members but finding a vacant accessible parking space is often time-consuming and stressful.

“In some cases, they could be forced to return home and try again later but with no guarantee of finding one even then” he said. 

Developed by Limerick company ParkMagic, the DDAI SpaceFinder app gives real-time information on whether an accessible parking space is occupied or not, using sensors installed by the participating local authority. 

“Having the DDAI Spacefinder App service available in every county would take away the fear and stress out of everyday travelling and trying to find suitable parking” Mr. Ryder said.

“We are urging County Councils to introduce it as it would literally be a ‘game-changer’ for disabled drivers and passengers in their area.”, he continued. 

Limerick City & County Council was the first local authority to begin using the DDAI Spacefinder App service. The Council’s traffic department installed small sensors at accessible parking bays in its city centre business district, delivering real-time updates to users of the app on Apple and Android.

In addition, navigation to the nearest available accessible space is now on Apple CarPlay with Android Auto following shortly. 

The DDAI SpaceFinder service is available from Limerick firm ParkMagic and following its successful launch, other authorities have also expressed a strong interest in the service.

ParkMagic chief executive Paul Fitzgerald said, “Local authorities, for the first time ever, will be able to collect real time information on accessible bay usage and turnover. This would be extremely useful to Louth and Meath County Councils in analysing and planning the provision and location of accessible spaces.”

Now, if they only had an app to prevent able bodied drivers from parking in diasbled spaces or on footpaths!

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