New app to help mobility aid users “take back their streets” by reporting illegal parking
A new app giving disabled people the power to report parking infringements to their local councils is hoping to stop situations where people using mobility devices are forced to make unsafe manoeuvres to get past illegally parked vehicles.
Developed by brother and sister team Alex Mühlhölzl, Chief Operating Officer, and Lisa Mühlhölzl, Chief Executive Officer, the eFine app is set to help stop drivers blocking pavements that are needed for those with mobility aids.
Lisa, who first had the idea whilst commuting to work in London, commented: “I regularly got caught in a bus while traffic went from two way to one way due to an inconsiderately parked car on a narrow street.
“When we first floated the idea to friends and coders looking to put a demo together, we got told stories of their friends in wheelchairs or pushing buggies and the impact cars on footpaths had on them, their safety and general accessibility and mobility. This is basically an app to let local residents take back their streets.”
The eFine app uses proprietary code and patent-pending technology to effectively turn a mobile phone into a CCTV camera, forming part of a distributed CCTV network.
When someone spots a parking infringement, they can start the app, video it, and eFine then works with the relevant council to take action.
“The app lets a user know if they are in a partner council area before they record the infringement,” explained Alex.
“The data is not accessible by the user and is not stored on the user’s phone; it is sent to us and stored on an Azure system, meaning only the council associated with the infringement notice can see the video and decide if a fine should be issued. We don’t even see it.”
The app user receives 25 percent of the infringement notice when it is paid to the council, meaning users of the app not only get to keep roads safe but also get rewarded for their efforts, says the company.
“The system offers councils the ability to take advantage of an emerging ‘gig economy’ and empowers local residents who often feel powerless when they have to deal with cars illegally parked on the curb or double yellow lines,” continued Alex.
“We do not deal with anything related to parking meters or timed parking areas.
“The council only pays on the infringement notices when they are paid, and they keep 50% of the fine, which is significantly more than the majority of councils earn from a fine after costs. We were amazed to find that a number of councils run this part of their operations at a loss.”
While the app is aimed at anyone who spots parking infringements, Alex and Lisa anticipate that it will be especially appealing to the elderly, the disabled and/or people with young children.
“Those that have a disability and get impacted by people parking on the footpath, those pushing buggies or elderly on scooters who have to go into traffic to get around the illegally parked vehicle,” added Alex.
“There is also the issue that some electric vehicles cannot charge because a combustion vehicle has parked in the charge point parking space. With councils investing millions in electric vehicle infrastructure, these charge points generate revenue that offsets this capital cost so every vehicle using it to charge matters.”
The expectation is that the app will contribute much-needed revenue for local councils, which can be put back into improvements to local roads and footpaths – many of which have suffered from neglect due to reductions in allocated funding.
“It addresses the need for better management of traffic flow, vehicle and pedestrian, without the huge costs that are incurred by councils having to hire enforcement staff or outsource the service,” said Alex.
“We are also looking to support councils who are looking at the initiative of fining households for leaving rubbish or bins out for days or weeks. This rubbish is often scavenged by animals and creates an environmental problem and bins on the footpaths create pedestrian traffic issues for the disabled and those pushing buggies or trolleys and those on scooters.”
Compatible with smartphones and tablets with internet access, the brother/sister duo hoping it to transform enforcement infrastructure in the UK, making people less likely to park in ways that are anti-social and potentially dangerous.
“The fact that anyone could be a parking inspector thanks to this app, means that people will think twice about parking illegally and if not, the chance of them getting penalised for inconveniencing others has increased significantly,” finished Alex.
“eFine empowers residents to take back management of their streets. It has the potential to stop rates increases and puts money back into people’s pockets for doing something for their local community. People that park illegally often have no concept of the impact they can have on emergency services vehicles either, especially in the narrow streets of most UK cities and towns. eFine aims to change that.”
According to the company, there are no out of pocket expenses for the councils using the eFine service. No sign-up costs or service charge for the service; the council just pays a flat fee of 50 percent of the fine’s value to Alesa Services Ltd when they are paid on the fine.
Launching on the 30th September, the eFine app will be available from Play Store and Google Apps has been created by Alesa Services.https://thiis.co.uk/new-app-to-help-mobility-aid-users-take-back-their-streets-by-reporting-illegal-parking/https://i0.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Wheelchair-pavement-efine-.jpg?fit=1000%2C668&ssl=1https://i0.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Wheelchair-pavement-efine-.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1NewsroomSupplier NewsThird SectorAlesa Services,Alex Mühlhölzl,app,eFine,Google Apps,illegal parking,Lisa Mühlhölzl,local authorities,local councils,Mobility scooters,pavement blocking,Play Store,smartphone,wheelchairsA new app giving disabled people the power to report parking infringements to their local councils is hoping to stop situations where people using mobility devices are forced to make unsafe manoeuvres to get past illegally parked vehicles. Developed by brother and sister team Alex Mühlhölzl, Chief Operating Officer, and...Calvin BarnettCalvin Barnettcalvin@thiis.co.ukAdministratorTHIIS Magazine