Dublin City Council’s new HGV app: what does it do?

New app gives council another weapon in enforcing its truck ban for Dublin

Dublin city centre. Photograph: iStock

Dublin City Council has come up with a new way to keep an eye on trucks passing through the city centre - specifically, to make sure they are adhering to the rules about what trucks can have access at peak times.

The latest weapon: the HGV Permit Checker app.

What is it?

HGV Permit Checker is, as the name suggests, a way to check if a five-axle truck has a permit to be in Dublin’s city centre at peak times. It will also file a report on trucks that are not supposed to be in the city centre, giving the relevant authorities the information they need to target their enforcement activities. .

Why is it needed?

In February 2007, Dublin City Council implemented a ban on trucks with five axels or more from entering the city centre between the hours of 7am and 7pm. With the Port Tunnel opening a few months before, the ban meant only those trucks with a permit could enter the cordon put in place by the council within that time frame. Trucks that enter without a permit run the risk of an €800 fine.


So why are trucks still in the city centre?

A couple of reasons. First, the ban only applies to trucks with five axles and above. Smaller trucks are still permitted within the city centre.

Second, the council issues about 80 permits a day to vehicles that need to load and unload in the city centre during the time the cordon is in effect. Overall, the council says there has been a reduction of up to 94 per cent in five axle trucks on some routes through the cordon.

And third, there are some trucks that will risk defying the ban, either deliberately or inadvertently. This is the group the app is aimed at.

How does it work?

Smartphone users can put the registration number of the truck into the app and drop a pin on the map to show its location.

If the app indicates there is no permit for the vehicle, it is logged in the system, and information can be shared with An Garda Síochána for enforcement purposes.

Because the system is map-based, reports can transformed into a heat map highlighting the areas of most concern, and these areas can be targeted for specific enforcement activities.

It does not require users to register their email or other obviously identifying information when submitting a report.

What about GDPR?

The rules on data privacy are a lot more stringent these days, but Dublin City Council insists there are no privacy concerns with the app.

Where can I get it?

If you are on Android, it is in the Google Play Store; for iOS users, the app can be found in the App Store. It is available on both platforms from July 15th

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist