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Westminster council will begin installing smart parking sensors across its entire road network from next week.

The sensors will detect whether a bay is vacant or not. Combined with an app that allows drivers to view a real-time map of parking spaces it will direct them to an empty space.

It is hoped the system will cut down on both congestion and carbon emissions.

On average, drivers spend 15 minutes looking for a parking space in the area, the council said.

“Parking bay sensors are a simple concept that will deliver major benefits for people visiting Westminster as well as those living and working here,” said councillor Nickie Aiken, cabinet member for street management.

If the Westminster-wide trial with firm Smart Parking is successful, it could be rolled out across London.

Previously the council tested the system on a smaller scale, putting 189 sensors in streets including Savile Row, Jermyn Street and St John’s Wood High Street.

Cities around the world are trying out parking solutions in an attempt to improve everyday life for citizens.

In Dublin, ParkYa uses open data from the city council, local authorities as well as that from private operators in conjunction with the Open Street Maps project to offer its own parking app.

“Parking apps empower drivers making their experience less stressful by solving many problems faced when parking their vehicles,” said ParkYa’s chief technology officer Paul Flood.