Shaded treas decorate the East Street Mall, Rockhampton.Photo Tamara MacKenzie / The Morning Bulletin
Shaded treas decorate the East Street Mall, Rockhampton.Photo Tamara MacKenzie / The Morning Bulletin Tamara MacKenzie ROK230315tkeast

Smart sensors set to smooth traffic woes for CBD

THEY will look like oil stains on the bitumen, but really they will be smart technology recording when cars pull up and leave parking bays in Rockhampton's CBD.

Rockhampton Regional Council plans to install over 500 smart parking sensors in the CBD which will benefit both motorists and council parking officers.

The benefit to motorists is that those with smart phones and a passenger to navigate can use an app to see where there are vacant parking bays.

Stage One of the rollout will be between Derby and Fitzroy Streets with 84 sensors installed along Quay Street, 232 along East Street and 85 on Bolsover Street. From East to Bolsover Streets there will be 48 installed along William Street, and 59 along Denham Street.

Parking bays in Rockhampton CBD marked in different colours according to the frequency of usage as calculated by Rockhampton Regional Council.
Parking bays in Rockhampton CBD marked in different colours according to the frequency of usage as calculated by Rockhampton Regional Council. Rockhampton Regional Council

Council's Corporate and Technology Services Manager Drew Stevenson said council identified the highest used parking bays through the help of business owners and parking officers.

The technology uses the app 'PayStay', which is also used at the Gold Coast, however, Mr Stevenson said Rockhampton would not be activating the pay part of the app.

Rockhampton Region Mayor Margaret Strelow said the app will also allow visitors to find loading zones and disabled parking spaces.

"There will also be display boards placed in key strategic locations to help people find parks as well,” she said.

"This will help ease congestion, saving on the amount of traffic circling around, as we focus on bringing more people into the CBD.”

SMART PARKING: How the new On-Street Smart Parking system in the Rockhampton CBD will work.
SMART PARKING: How the new On-Street Smart Parking system in the Rockhampton CBD will work. Contributed

Database Consultants Australia (DCA) was awarded the contract to install the sensors. They will be placed under the asphalt and will communicate wirelessly to council's network via solar powered devices on the council's 'smart' poles.

The sensors are a key element of a council's $4.04 million Riverfront and CBD Smart Technologies project which also includes the smart poles and lighting on the riverbank with integrated sound systems, smart CCTV cameras and free public Wi-Fi throughout the CBD.

It is anticipated the system will be installed in May over the course of about two weeks, according to Mr Stevenson.

He said about 50 sensor systems can be installed in one night.

Council budgeted $2.02 million towards the project in 2016 and received matching funding from the State Government's Building the region's program late last year.

There is a possibility for a second stage of the sensor system which would see a further 375 parking bays added to the system, however, council has not budgeted for this second stage yet.

Mr Stevenson said other benefits of the system was that if there was a fault with one sensor, it would be identified immediately through the computer system and sensor could be replaced by pulling the faulty unit out and putting a replacement in.

He said council would map where the units were installed in the ground so they can be pulled out prior to any roadworks in the future and then reinstalled afterwards.

The units will not be installed in motorcycle parking bays.

Member for Rockhampton Bill Byrne advocated council's plans to introduce the smart technology, saying that it will improve utilisation of the CBD.

"Investing in technology in our region's hub is a long term investment in creating a more sustainable and liveable future for our CBD,” Mr Byrne said.

"Whether it's smarter parking or enhanced security and lighting as seen on the Riverbank, it all contributes to improving the utilisation of our CBD and allows us to be a more competitive Regional city.

"Late last year our government recognised the Rockhampton CBD as one of its four priority projects in terms of creating inner city living, so it is important to further support initiatives like this that will enhance liveability for residents.”

If council is successful in obtaining further funding, it is proposed that stage two of the smart sensors will occupy streets surrounding East Street between Fitzroy and Archer Street and Alma Street Between William and Fitzroy Streets.



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