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ParkSmart hi-tech solution wins recognition

Last year Buderim Mountain State School Parents & Citizens Association approached Sunshine Coast Council for assistance to tackle their parking challenges. The solution was award winning.

Buderim Mountain State School Parents & Citizens Association President Rachel O’Brien and school children
Buderim Mountain State School Parents & Citizens Association President Rachel O’Brien and students

Schools, communities, and councils across Australia work together every day to improve the safety and ease of school drop-off and pick-up.

Despite everyone's best efforts and intentions, traffic around schools often reaches gridlock, as stressed and busy parents park on yellow lines, bus zones and overstay timed parking.

Last year Buderim Mountain State School Parents & Citizens Association approached Sunshine Coast Council for assistance to tackle their parking challenges and the outcome has been outstanding.

The ParkSmart program received the ‘On-street Excellence in Technology and Innovation’ award at the 2023 Parking Industry Awards recently held in Sydney.

Receiving the ‘On-street Excellence in Technology and Innovation’ award at the October Ordinary Meeting

How ParkSmart works

Council teamed up with SenSen Networks, an innovator in sensor artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, to install AI cameras into key parking signs around the school.

Sunshine Coast Council Customer and Planning Services Group Executive Debra Robinson said the ParkSmart school camera program was an Australian invention and Sunshine Coast Council was proud to be the first local government to trial it.

“Council recently responded to concerns raised by Buderim Mountain State School in relation to the impacts being experienced at drop-off and pick-up times where people park unlawfully or overstay the allowable time limits. Buderim Mountain State School P&C Association felt that they had exhausted their education and alternate parking options and sought support from Council to provide assistance.

“The 9 pole-insertable cameras, manufactured locally in Melbourne from parts costing less than $100, are now used to monitor driver compliance. Vehicle behaviour machine learning models and number plate recognition allows for infringements to be issued to those not complying,” Ms Robinson said.

The technology’s non-intrusive nature ensures minimal impact on the urban space while contributing to a safer environment for children and other pedestrians.

Drop-offs ‘smoother, less stressful’

Buderim Mountain State School Parents & Citizens Association President Rachel O’Brien said that the program, currently in its second term, had noticeably improved parking behaviour.

“We have seen higher vehicle turnover and more parking opportunities, keeping our kids safe, making for a smoother and less stressful journey to school,” Mrs O’Brien said.

“Working alongside Council to trial the innovative ParkSmart solution has helped address a longstanding road safety issue in a way that's fair and sustainable.”

The trial is currently in its assessment phase to understand how the activity can be scaled in a sustainable way to provide similar services to other locations.

Along with the pole insertable cameras, AI technology is already being used to regulate parking in other areas of the coast via ParkSmart vehicles.

ParkSmart fast facts:

  • The camera captures images of parked vehicles during morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up and records the vehicle location (GPS coordinates), number plate and time.
  • It allows Council to monitor regulated parking areas to ensure motorists are adhering to parking regulations.
  • ParkSmart operates in all weather conditions and identifies regulated parking conditions on the street.
  • Face and body blurring is used to protect the privacy of students, parents and the community.
  • In addition to the Buderim Mountain State School pole insertable cameras, the technology is already being used to regulate parking in Birtinya, Point Cartwright, Nicklin Way, Caloundra, Maroochydore, Mooloolaba, Nambour and Eumundi via a ParkSmart vehicle to increase safety for all and increase turnover and subsequent business patronage.

For more information about Council’s ParkSmart program, visit www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/parking

 
 

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Sunshine Coast Council acknowledges the Sunshine Coast Country, home of the Kabi Kabi peoples and the Jinibara peoples, the Traditional Custodians, whose lands and waters we all now share. We wish to pay respect to their Elders – past, present and emerging, and acknowledge the important role First Nations people continue to play within the Sunshine Coast community.

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