Parkex 2019 

The biggest event in the Parking Industry’s calendar is, undoubtedly, Parkex and this year DMUK CEO, Graham Footer, and Communications & Campaigns Director, Heidi Turner attended to promote the charity’s Disabled Parking Accreditation and talk to the industry about the parking problems that disabled motorists face.

Parkex 2019 was a three day event which took place at the NEC at the beginning of April and was well attended by the parking industry and associated companies. The event is run and hosted by the British Parking Association (BPA), and given our partnership with the Disabled Parking Accreditation (DPA) they invited us to exhibit on their stand. This three day event allowed us to promote the DPA, our Baywatch Campaign which will run in June, and talk to the industry generally about disabled parking problems and Blue Badges.

The Blue Badge Boom!

We hit the ground running this year as the first day’s first seminar session was entitled ‘The Blue Badge Boom’ and DMUK CEO, Graham Footer was invited to be a member of the speaking panel which also included Kelvin Reynolds from the British Parking Association and two local authority representatives who are doing great work in their respective areas to crack down on Blue Badge fraud, misuse and abuse.  The session explored the impending extension to the Blue Badge scheme which will undoubtedly increase the number of Blue Badge holders and how the parking industry needs to raise expectations of how the scheme is managed and prepare for further demand for disabled parking. Graham Spoke about the consultation on the extension of the Blue Badge which took place in 2018 and shared our concerns that the parking industry needs to prepare for the change to increase provision and make sure the disabled parking bays already available are properly enforced so that they are only available to genuine Blue badge holders.

Ben Stephens from the London Borough of Merton and Ben Stephens from Portsmouth City Council spoke about their experiences of enforcing the Blue Badge Scheme in their respective areas and were highlighted as examples of best practice to the rest of the parking industry. Kelvin Reynolds went on the highlight other area of the country where the councils are doing good work to enforce the Blue Badge scheme which included, Liverpool, Hammersmith & Fulham, Durham, Leeds, Newcastle and Bromley & Bexley.

Following on from this seminar session we had lots of interesting conversations with local authorities and private operators concerned about the Blue Badge scheme in their areas.

DPA & Baywatch

The BPA invited us to exhibit on their stand for the entirety of the event which gave the charity a good base to promote the DPA and our Baywatch campaign. The BPA manage the DPA for the charity and they are also this year’s sponsor of Baywatch. We had lots of interest from visitors and fellow exhibitors in both initiatives. We are hoping that our attendance at this year’s Parkex with help numbers of DPA accredited car parks grow and raise awareness of our campaigning activities.

<Subheader> The Innovation Trail

The Parkex Innovation celebrate new products and innovation in the parking industry. One of the winners this year was a collaborative project between JustPark and Blue Badge Fraud Investigation for their digitalised Blue Badge system.

JustPark’s technological solution tackles the long-standing issue of Blue Badge fraud by using AI algorithms. JustPark is able to analyse aggregated, anonymised data to see inconsistencies in Blue Badge usage, which flags potential instances of fraud. This smart solution can streamline and support investigation efforts. It also addresses the issue of tackling the scale of fraud, which currently strips tens of millions of pounds from the public purse.

 JustPark’s Blue Badge system goes beyond tackling fraud and enables councils to offer parking concessions to disabled people in any available space. Free from the restriction of limited disabled spaces, badge holders can register their unique number to the JustPark app, so that each time they park, enforcement officers can verify genuine and valid holders using their handheld devices.

We were really pleased that this innovation was one of the winners this year. It shows that the parking industry is taking Blue Badge fraud, misuse and abuse seriously and that they are committed to coming up with new ways to tackle this problem.

Registered Office: Disabled Motoring UK, National Headquarters, Ashwellthorpe, Norwich, NR16 1EX
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