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Polly, the city “parking fairy”


The Polly app cuts the time needed to find a city-centre parking space in half.

Who hasn’t wasted precious time driving around in circles to find a city-centre parking space? No one, apparently, because according to statistics, it only takes between 5 and 20 seconds for a space to be filled. With the Polly app, say goodbye to cursing alone in your car and wasting your time and fuel. Launched in 2015 by Israeli start-up sPARK, the “parking fairy” reduces the time needed to find a parking space. But how does this solution work better than the other free mobile apps already available on the market, such as Parkopedia, Path to Park and Zenpark?


Better coverage and greater data collection

To start with, Polly has more extensive coverage of cities and access to more data. This includes open source data (opening times, rates, time limits, short-term parking, disabled parking, delivery‑only, residents-only, public and private parking spaces, average parking times by neighbourhood, etc.) together with user-generated data (car park occupancy rate, how easy it is to park, etc.), and data from the start-up’s own vehicles. Much like Google’s Street View cars, Polly’s cyclists, equipped with GoPro cameras, film the streets and available parking spaces, providing data that updates a prediction algorithm in real time.


The “Waze of parking”

All you need to do is allow geolocation and enter the address of the place you want to go. Polly will then suggest the most suitable parking solution, whether you’re looking for the cheapest option (calculated based on how long you expect to stay), you have a preference for on-street parking or car parks, or you want to be as close as possible to your final destination. Beyond just telling you where available parking spaces are, Polly aims to show you the best place to park depending on your destination. And once the chore of parking is over, Polly even provides a pedestrian itinerary to reach the destination entered and get you back to your car – a very useful feature, particularly for tourists who are unfamiliar with the city and its parking regulations. With the PayByPhone service, you can even pay for your parking ticket directly from the smartphone app.


An app that relieves city-centre congestion

According to sPARK, Polly has an 80% success rate. In Paris, for example, the average time it takes to find an available parking space is 21 minutes. Polly enables users to find an on-street space in 10 minutes, and if it takes any longer, you’re automatically rerouted to the nearest car park. It’s a solution that not only saves time and money, but also helps to relieve congestion in city centres. Already available in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Paris, Madrid, Brussels and Metz, Polly will soon serve Barcelona and many other Spanish, Belgian and French cities, as well as locations in the Netherlands and Luxembourg. In fact, between now and 2021, the Israeli start-up is planning to launch Polly in more than 100 cities to reach 8.2 million users, thereby helping to improve urban mobility.

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