The apps helping Shanghai tackle its chronic car park shortage

Mandy Zuo
The apps helping Shanghai tackle its chronic car park shortage

The Chinese megacity of Shanghai is using big data and online technology to ease parking nightmares in some of its most crowded areas.

In a city where cars outnumber parking spaces six to one, municipal authorities and residential communities are deploying mobile apps to alert motorists to free spaces, according to People’s Daily.

There are about 100 official car park-sharing projects in Shanghai, including a citywide app operated by the municipal government.

The scheme was making a big difference in Yangpu district, a densely populated area home to one of Shanghai’s busiest hospitals, the newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The system integrates parking information at Fudan University’s Obstetrics and Gynaecology Hospital with data on available spaces at residential communities, shopping malls and office buildings nearby, directing motorists to free spots in an area known for an acute shortage of parking spaces, the report said, quoting traffic officials.

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Launched a year ago, it advises drivers on routes and allows them to book bays on the app before they get there. Hospital visitors can use car spaces in residential communities during the day and residents can park their vehicles at the hospital, malls and office buildings near their homes at night.

“Parking used to be a big problem for me every day … Now I park my car in an office building nearby every night, and walk five minutes to get home. It’s really convenient,” a resident was quoted as saying.

The technology is also making a big difference in the nearby community of Baixing Park where parking has long been a chronic problem.

Built in the 1990s, the community is home to 800 households but has just 50 parking spaces. Its streets used to be so crammed with cars that there was no space for an ambulance to get through, residents were quoted as saying. The scramble for space erupted into disputes between neighbours until the city launched the app and alternative parking bays opened up in the area.

“Many residents … have expressed gratitude to our project,” said Liu Ren, deputy head of the district’s construction and administration commission.

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In Minhang district, a similar scheme had also helped improve relations between neighbours, the report said.

The district has more than 600 registered vehicles but just 440 parking spaces, so it asked residents to say on a WeChat channel whether their spots would be free after 11pm, allowing others to use the bays until the next morning.

The measure not only improved parking efficiency, but created a harmonious atmosphere in the community, one resident said.

Shanghai had more than 3.9 million vehicles as of the end of 2017, while the number of parking spaces totalled just 650,000 last year, according to the Shanghai Transport Industry Development Report 2018.

This article The apps helping Shanghai tackle its chronic car park shortage first appeared on South China Morning Post

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