An app designed to make sure mobility car spaces are kept free for those who need them most is currently being used in New Zealand.
The Access Aware app was developed in partnership with SaferMe and CCS Disability Action. It is designed report the abuse of mobility parking spaces in real time to enforcement officers so they can monitor the use and respond to abuse of mobility parking spaces.
CCS Disability Action access coordinator, Raewyn Hailes told Freedom2Live mobility parking spaces are frequently abused in New Zealand.
“As an organisation, CCS Disability Action has researched the misuse of mobility carparks in New Zealand,” she said. “Our research has shown that levels of parking abuse have not improved in almost 15 years, with abuse rates still unacceptably high, despite increases in fines and attempts to grow awareness of the problem.”
Hailes said the primary driver of the app is to report the abuse of mobility car spaces.
“I don’t know if it’s the same in Australia, but there is no legislative requirement for providing enforcement of mobility parking space in private carparks, so the abuse of mobility car spaces is quite high in New Zealand.”
Users of the app can see locations of known mobility park locations on a map to help find a park, post information about mobility car spaces so others can see the size of the space, where it is located and how much room there is to exit the vehicle.
Hailes said Access Aware is a world first initiative and is keen to see the app launched overseas. “We are definitely keen to see the app being launched in countries such as Australia with the appropriate provider.”
Access Aware is currently being used in retail parking outlets, including District Health Boards (DHB) around New Zealand. Countdown Hāwera, New Zealand’s first Be Accessible accredited supermarket, is the first large retailer to trial the app at their Dunedin stores.
“Countdown was really onboard with the app to provide a better service,” said Hailes. “They are also repainting their mobility car spaces to make them more obvious to uses. We’re hoping they will roll out the Access Aware app to more of their stores across New Zealand.”
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