Work has started on £1.2m of “significant improvements” to Taunton’s car parks and signage, Taunton Deane Borough Council has said.
The borough council is introducing Variable Message Signing (VMS) to help drivers find car parks, know how many spaces are available, and the type of parking – short stay, long stay, and commuter.
Seven key car parks will also change to pay-on-exit from pay-and-display to, the borough council says, make life easier for drivers using the spaces.
The changes, being introduced car park by car park to “minimise disruption”, are planned to be completed in August 2018.
The seven car parks due to change to pay-on-exit are Orchard, High Street, Tangier, Canon Street, Wood Street, Castle Street and Enfield.
A borough council spokesperson said: “The VMS systems will help drivers choose the type of parking they need and avoid them having to drive around to find a suitable space.
“It should also ease queuing and reduce congestion.
“The electronic signs will be installed at key locations such as Priorswood Road, Cross Keys, Toneway, East Reach, Silk Mills, and Wellington Road.”
The costs of the scheme include the signs, changes to the selected car parks and the high-tech electronic systems needed.
Councillor Roger Habgood, executive member for transport and parking, said: “The introduction of VMS will really improve the flow of traffic and help drivers find the space they need quickly and efficiently.
“Similar systems operate in cities across the country, and I am pleased that Taunton Deane is implementing such a significant investment.
“Pay-on-exit has also proved popular elsewhere as it removes the time pressure on motorists using our car parks, so they can enjoy spending more time in our shops, cafes and restaurants and other attractions.”
Mr Habgood added that this scheme was part and parcel of the borough council’s belief in the regeneration of Taunton town centre by providing the necessary infrastructure.