Sustainability in the city: digital parking and permits
In 2018 the UK government launched a 25-year plan to work with communities and businesses to improve the environment. The plan sits alongside two other important government policies - the Industrial Strategy and Clean Growth strategy – to encourage organisations to take responsibility for their environmental impact.
A digital industry
With local authorities challenged by population growth and tight budgets, many councils are realising the value of sustainable business processes. One of the first considerations for reducing carbon footprint and streamlining processes is transferring paper processes to digital.
In the government sector, managing parking and permits has largely remained a traditional, manual process. Before MiPermit began working with Colchester Council, parking permitting had been managed by a system of scratch cards that needed to be sent out to residents. Storing the stationery, folding the paper into envelopes and sending permits through the post was time consuming, labour-intensive and paper-heavy.
Richard Walker, Parking Partnership Group Manager at North Essex Parking Partnership, tasked Chipside with developing a paperless solution to cover resident permits, visitor permits and general parking in the Borough Council’s owned car parks for shoppers and commuters.
Colchester Borough Council’s needs were broad – from residents that required on street parking permits for themselves or people visiting them, to casual parking for an hour or two. Chipside was able to deliver a solution that delivered on all these needs and improved sustainability, using the MiPermit app and website as a central resource to make parking simpler and more effective for residents.
Chipside successfully moved all 5,200 residents permits to the digital MiPermit system and made it possible for residents to update their details - such as when they change their car – online, 24 hours a day. Previously they would have had to go to the Town Hall and show proof of residence. By eliminating paper and reducing the need for residents to travel, Colchester Borough Council has made marked improvements to its overall sustainability.
Working smarter, not harder
Since moving to digital permits for residents, Colchester Borough Council has saved more than £40,000 in stationery costs in the last year alone. Through small changes to sustainability processes, local authorities will not only benefit the environment but their citizens too. The money saved on printing permits can be invested in supporting changes to parking management and infrastructure in the Colchester area to improve public services.