Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check h Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check him out on Google+.
There are many reasons why you’d wish to avoid driving in cities – traffic jams and costly insurance are just two of them.
But parking can also be a major headache for those seeking to traverse conurbations with their own four wheels, which is where Yellow Line for iPhone is seeking to help. But before you read on, it’s worth noting it’s London-only for now.
How it works
When you launch the app, you’ll note that it’s informational as well as functional, serving up details around signage and official parking parlance – which will be helpful, particularly for visitors to the city.
But the main power of Yellow Lines isn’t in the illustrational insights. No, it’s in its ability to guide and inform you of local parking situations, surfacing free on-street parking as well as where the metered ‘pay-and-display’ zones may be.
The basic premise behind this app is that it saves you from having to search the streets for paid-for (or free) parking, covering resident parking bays, pay-and-displays and single yellow lines.
It shows zones in green, when it’s free to park, and red when restrictions apply. If free parking isn’t available, the app provides options such as pay-and-display costs with a dedicated button that takes you to a local pay-by-phone telephone number.
Yellow Line allows you to search for addresses across London, and select different times and days if you’re planning a trip in advance. It even lets you access Google Maps’ Street View, so you can have a look at the layout yourself.
There’s a little pull-down banner which offers a shorthand view informing people whether they can park or not, and for how long. While I’m not entirely convinced all the data here is 100% accurate based on a few addresses I checked, for the most part it does seem to be about right.
Another particularly neat feature is the ‘Remember Car Location’ button.
You simply hit the ‘Anchor’ tab at the bottom, and it plots where you parked your car. When it’s time to return to your wheels, you can use the app to find exactly where you parked it.
Moreover, it will actually direct you back to the car, whether you’re walking or driving back to it. Conversely, this feature can also be used to pre-plan a trip – so it can direct you to an appropriate parking area you’ve scouted in advance.
Interestingly, the app also has an in-built alarm to remind you to collect your car, so you don’t get a parking ticket.
Yellow Line is a really fantastic app, and it’s just a shame it’s London-only for now, but seeing the amount of work that’s gone into it, it’s easy to see why it’s focused locally.
Developer Dan Hubert says that given there’s currently no local authority API to tap into for the data, they spent “many hours” creating and stitching together digital polygons of controlled parking zones (CPZ) in each borough.
“Each CPZ polygon has its individual data attached to it,” says Hubert, “so we know when it becomes free for it to turn green. Also, pretty much every zone has a paid meter too. Individual meter locations will be out in the next app to ensure a higher level of detail.”
At launch, the app covers Brent, Camden, City of London, City of Westminster, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Kensington and Chelsea, Southwark, Tower Hamlets and Wandsworth.
Yellow Line for iOS is available to download for free now.
Feature Image Credit – Thinkstock
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