Monday, December 06, 2010

Is this the end for the Penalty Charge Notice for commercial operators?

Virtual bays unveiled by Herron
Neil Herron showed how freight deliveries can be simplified
Parking Review
November 2010

A new system for actively managing kerbspace to enable freight deliveries to be made without incurring parking penalties was unveiled at Parking Management 2010 by Neil Herron of Activ8 (Virtual Parking Solutions).

Herron, best known for running, revealed a real-time vehicle tracking and space ACTIV8 Virtual Parking Solution at the conference. “Parking is not always about parking, it is often about loading and unloading vehicles,” he said. “There are differing kerbside needs for different kerbside users. The challenge is recognising and differentiating between commercial users, blue badge holders and the ordinary motorist. We need to promote active management rather than blanket enforcement.”

A traffic management perspective emphasises the need to keep kerbside spaces turning over. Herron said the problem is that restricted kerbspace is being used at a time which is convenient to commercial vehicle drivers and not when it is conducive to smoothing traffic flows. Herron said: “The penalty charge notice (PCN) commercial drivers receive is not managing the kerbside, it is effectively a £60 dispensation to park where and when they like, on zigzags, in disabled bays or double yellow lines.”

Delivery companies and their clients absorb the cost of enforcement. “Commercial operators, freight transport industry, coach operators and the utility companies are paying £500m a year in PCNs for servicing customers, and there is a further £100m admin charge for dealing with all those parking tickets,” he said.

Herron said that he developed the Activ8 Virtual Parking Solution while handling parking penalty appeals for commercial operators. “The first thing we do is train drivers on where they can and cannot park. However, once you start knocking off the hotspots and working out alternative delivery areas you quickly get to a point where drivers have to park in contravention. The question then is what’s the least worst time you can choose for a delivery.”

Simply creating more loading bays will not work as the public will park in them, he said. “We need an innovative approach to differentiating user.”

The ‘Virtual Parking Bay’ system was devised by Herron utilising innovative, patented GPS technology developed by Dr Phillip Tann, a lecturer at Sunderland University, who made headlines when accused of doing 42mph in a 30mph zone. Dr Tann was testing out prototype GPS/GPRS telemetry so presented data at the court which proved he was doing 29mph. Herron saw how this system could be adapted to create real-time vehicle tracking and destination management system. “The answer is to create journey certainty,” he said. ”If you are on a journey from A-to-B the best thing is to know there is a guaranteed space when you arrive. With a virtual parking space you are saving CO2 emissions, fuel use and man hours. And it smoothes traffic flow.”

The Fleetm8 system has undergone initial trials with Westminster City Council and DHL Tradeteam, and the Virtual Loading Bay Solution emerged from those trials. “With the virtual parking bay we have created a system where you book your kerbside loading space in real-time, effectively a real-time dispensation to park on the highway. Local authorities will ‘risk-assess’ the bays, some of which may only be available for two or three hours a day when it least impinges on traffic flow.”

Delivery companies using Fleetm8 (or other telemetry incorporating the bespoke software) are able to pre-book a slot in a virtual parking bay. The virtual bays are only visible to a vehicle's on-board telemetry and are effectively real-time, site specific exemptions. The delivery driver’s in-cab GPS device or PDA receives details of the delivery window. The local authority’s civil enforcement officers’ GPS-enabled handhelds also receive real-time details of vehicles with a booked arrival so that they know not to issue a PCN.

“It is possible to create virtual ‘geo fences’ which, when breached by the delivery vehicle, send an automated alert the person expecting delivery so they can be ready for the arrival so as to further reduce loading time. When the lorry leaves, it breaches the virtual polygon forming the bay so that it becomes available for someone else can book. This is managing restricted kerbspace rather than just enforcing.”

Herron said the concept can be used off-street too, with a geo fence created at the entrance and exit.

Virtual bays offer local authorities a revenue stream because operators are prepared to pay for guaranteed loading slots. Herron said: “ACTIV8 would be a positive revenue model for the authorities based on the provision of a service with a traffic management benefit and something which commercial operators from delivery companies, couriers, coach operators and utility companies have expressed a desire to see implemented.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

unrelated to this article: the thing you should be fighting is not the ticketing and the ticket enforcers - BUT THE LAWS AND REGULATIONS IN PLACE THAT THEY ARE FOLLOWING. it is not about ticketing, they are just enforcing rules and doing their jobs, if you, as you apparently do, think that there should be no rules on the streets and everybody should have the right to double park, block up every street, leave their car on the side walk and stand in the middle of the M25 as long as they have their blinkers on, fight the national traffic laws and leave people alone that are just doing their jobs.

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