The pioneering smart parking system in Harrogate has won the Innovation category in the coveted LGC Awards 2020.

AppyParking allows users who download the app to see real-time availability of spaces across Harrogate town centre thanks to more than 2,000 sensors in the ground.

They are able to navigate to the space and pay for a parking session with a single-click. The sensor technology means parking sessions automatically end when the vehicle is driven away.

Harrogate Borough Council, which manages off-street car parks, and North Yorkshire County Council, which is responsible for on-street parking, have worked with AppyParking, a leading smart parking technology firm, to deliver the scheme.

A review in August found there were 14,500 users clocking 146,000 sessions. Of its users, 93 per cent said AppyParking is more convenient than Pay & Display, and 62 per cent said they stay longer in Harrogate when using the app.

North Yorkshire County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: “I’m delighted to hear that Harrogate’s AppyParking has been recognised in these prestigious awards.

“The visitor and leisure economy is essential to Harrogate, and now more than ever, as we combat the pandemic, it’s vital to do all we can to make it easy and safe for people to visit. Smart parking not only gives people confidence that they will be guided to a parking space, but also that they can pay without needing to touch a ticket machine.

“The smart parking system was the first of its kind in the UK. We continually seek innovative ways to improve traffic flow in Harrogate and smart parking fits well with that ambition.

"The system also provides very useful data to us about the occupation of individual spaces which is useful when making decisions about town centre parking strategies in the future.”

Councillor Phil Ireland, Harrogate Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Carbon Reduction and Sustainability, said: “It’s wonderful news to hear that the AppyParking trial in Harrogate town centre has won the Innovation award in the LGC Awards, designed to celebrate excellence in local government.

“Our aim from the start was to make parking easier and more convenient for people, as well as provide a parking solution that encourages people to visit should public transport or active travel not be an option. These days so many services and payments are carried out on a smartphone, it’s only right that parking is part of that.

“Feedback from customers who use it has been positive and this additional recognition shows what a beneficial project it has been.”

Dan Hubert, Founder and CEO of AppyWay, said: “We’re delighted to receive this award for innovation from LGC. Our Smart City Parking solution is the first of its kind in the UK, and we’re grateful for the forward-thinking approaches of both North Yorkshire County Council and Harrogate Borough Council to enable us to bring it to life in Harrogate, and help its residents save valuable time finding and paying for parking. We’re on a mission to help local authorities and businesses unlock the potential of kerbsides, and this award is a great recognition of that.”

Anyone can download the app to save time and reduce the hassle of parking. Users no longer need to carry change for a pay and display machine or predict the time they’ll get back to their car. After the minimum stay period, users are charged per minute based on the hourly price up to the maximum stay. They are also sent a push notification to let them know if they are coming to the end of the maximum stay.

The annual awards, run by the Local Government Chronicle, were held last week to celebrate the achievements and innovations of councils across the country.