A UK start-up whose app tells drivers where they can locate free on-street parking in London has won a Ford Motor Company competition that aimed to help alleviate traffic congestion in London.

Yellow Parking Line's free iOS app, AppyParking, was today crowned the winner of Ford's Traffic Tamer App Challengebeating over 100 other entrants in the process, after judges from Ford, University College London (UCL), Index Ventures, Tech Radar-Pro, and Pocket-Lint deemed it worthy of the £6,500 first prize. 

The iPhone app is designed on the assumption that many drivers miss out on free parking in London because they do not understand the complex rules that vary from borough to borough. The app enables drivers to view parking maps of London, pay the city’s congestion charge, and find electric vehicle charging stations and spaces reserved specifically for disabled badge holders.

“Trying to find a parking space in a city can be a nightmare and AppyParking provides a single source of information covering all possible parking restrictions to save time for drivers and reduce congestion,” said Venkatesh Prasad, senior technical leader of open innovation at Ford. “Most of the successful entries were freshly created for the challenge and any one of them has the potential to play a significant part in tackling traffic congestion.”

Dan Hubert, one of the founders of AppyParking, which launched this year, said: “Working with companies like Ford is very exciting for developers and winning the Traffic Tamer App Challenge will really help put AppyParking on the map.

“We've had a fantastic download rate with a really high percentage of returning users for our iOS version so we're really excited about launching for Android soon and further developing the app.”

Ford said 40 per cent of entries used its OpenXC platform, which enables developers to draw on over 20 separate streams of data from Ford vehicles, including GPS coordinates, and whether windscreen wipers and lights are on. However, AppyParking chose a different platform to build its app on. 

The American car giant said this kind of information can be used by apps to provide drivers with highly localised, near real-time information about traffic, road and weather conditions as part of a connected car and transport network.

“Connectivity technology can use the power of ‘the crowd’ to deliver solutions that no single public or private entity can,” Prasad said. “Democratisation of innovation through programs like the Traffic Tamer App Challenge and OpenXC enables developers to create apps that use data from thousands of users – even something as simple as a ‘thumbs-up’ or a ‘thumbs-down’ – to improve mobility for everyone.”

The full list of Traffic Tamer App Challenge winners is:

  • Grand Prize – AppyParking

  • Second Prize – Bandwagon

  • Third Prize – Best Route

  • Large Organisation Recognition Award – Should I Take My Car?

  • Popular Choice – AppyParking

  • OpenXC Integration Prize – Best Route