Parking offenders beware - sensors will soon be able to fine you

Plans being considered by Mawaqif would see the roll-out of a new technology at Abu Dhabi car parks that would remove the element of chance in parking inspectors roaming the streets in search of violators.

Mawaqif manages more than 110,000 parking spaces in Abu Dhabi, of which 6,000 were created by streamlining traffic.  Pawan Singh / The National
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ABU DHABI // Bad parking and exceeding time limits on tickets could be punished using cameras with sensors that record when drivers commit the offence.

Plans being considered by Mawaqif could roll out the new technology at Abu Dhabi car parks and remove the element of chance whereby parking inspectors roam the streets in search of offenders.

But officials would not detail the types of sensors and cameras to be deployed and when and in which areas they would be placed.

“Mawaqif is currently studying a number of technical options to develop the inspection procedures,” said a spokesman for the parking regulator.

“The technicalities involved in the project are being examined to ensure that they’re compatible with the existing inspection procedures in Abu Dhabi.”

The official said the project was at the initial study stage, and details would be announced once the technical aspects were approved. Last month Mohammed Al Muhairi, Mawaqif's director-general, told Aletihad, the Arabic-language sister newspaper of The National, that the plan could later "transform into a comprehensive and effective security system".

Michael Dreznes, executive vice president of the International Road Federation, welcomed the move.

“The sensor technology for parking is one of the next logical steps to improve mobility, safety and consumer satisfaction on the roads,” he said. “These sensors have progressed over the years and now they are very reliable and cost-effective.”

A Mawaqif inspector patrolling a car park yesterday near the Sofitel Hotel said he spends eight hours in the area and issues between eight and 15 fines on any given weekday.

The majority are to drivers for failing to renew their parking tickets.

“It’s hard work but it’s OK at this time of the year,” he said.

“I think installing cameras and sensors in busy car parks will make our job easier.”

Drivers risk a Dh200 fine if they park without obtaining a parking ticket or permit, while exceeding the time limit on the parking ticket is a Dh100 offence.

Resident-only parking areas for permit-holders are available between 9pm and 8am. Anyone parking in those areas without a permit will be fined Dh500.

“Illegal street parking can be a real hazard for road safety because it can move vehicles into adjacent lanes, causing crashes and congestion or force pedestrians to walk in the streets, which exposes them to danger,” Mr Dreznes said.

“The quicker these illegally parked vehicles can be moved or ticketed, the better.”

Occupying two parking spaces with a single vehicle, a Dh300 offence, can result in the vehicle being towed away if the owner accumulates more than five unpaid tickets.

Mawaqif manages more than 110,000 parking spaces on Abu Dhabi island. About 6,000 of them have been created by redirecting traffic and reorganising car parks since the paid parking scheme began in 2009.

About 1,500 spots in Khalidiya, Al Zahiya and Al Zayani were converted to paid parking, while seven multistorey car parks in the city have been upgraded.

Work included lighting, maintenance of lifts and air-conditioners, signage and replacement of control rooms. A total of 3,500 spots are premium parking marked by turquoise-and-white kerbs and 102,580 standard parking at turquoise-and-black kerbs.

There are 3,920 parking bays in multistorey buildings. Of those, 182 are for women only, painted in pink and white to help women maintain privacy.

In February, the first multistorey underground car park with recharging points for hybrid and electric vehicles opened in the emirate.