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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: A project created for people with special needs has claimed the top spot at the 2023 Al-Ahsa Forum for Startups’ Sana Hackathon after an arduous development journey.
Developed collaboratively by Yaqeen Al-Thabit, Joud Al-Kulaib and Sakina Al-Oufi, the project introduces a technological solution to safeguard parking spaces designated for individuals with special needs.
The project seeks to establish a service model linked to technology so as to instill in this segment of the community the confidence they deserve for seamless integration into society, enabling them to exercise their full rights in education and employment. The project also integrates technology with government entities, enabling direct penalties for parking violations.
The core concept behind the “Smart Park” project, as Al-Thabit explained to Arab News, revolves around supporting people with special needs by installing sensors on their dedicated parking spaces. Immediate alerts are triggered when a vehicle without the required barcode or sticker occupies the space. The project also incorporates an informative display showcasing space availability, coupled with surveillance cameras to monitor and penalize violators.
“The concept emerged from an experience at a public parking lot, witnessing the misuse of a space designated for individuals with special needs. Confronted with this issue, the idea was conceived as a proactive measure to tackle and prevent the recurrence of such problems in the future,” she said.
The concept emerged from an experience at a public parking lot, witnessing the misuse of a space designated for individuals with special needs.
Yaqeen Al-Thabit, ‘Smart Park’ project member
Al-Thabit noted that the integration of cameras with traffic monitoring systems ensures swift enforcement against offenders.
The overarching goal of the project, said Al-Thabit, is to establish an obstacle-free environment in parking spaces for people with special needs. The initiative seeks to enhance their mobility, improve parking facilities that often deprive them of fundamental rights, and educate communities about the rights of this significant demographic.
Addressing the misuse of parking spaces reserved for people with special needs, she emphasized the negative moral impact of such actions, which reflect irresponsibility, negligence, and a blatant violation of their rights as enshrined by legislation.
Another issue facing people with special needs is the lack of dedicated ramps for wheelchairs and the insufficient spaces between designated parking spots, Al-Thabit added, emphasizing the importance of each person parking in their assigned space.
She underscored the need for able-bodied individuals to refrain from occupying parking spaces reserved for people with disabilities. It is not just about regulations, legislation, or technology, she pointed out; it is a shared societal ethos. The key, she asserted, lies in fostering a collective awareness that not only condemns such actions but actively works toward preventing them.
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