The city’s Parking Divison launched a web and mobile application Monday that allows downtown visitors and students commuting to campus from outside areas to view real-time parking availability data.

City Parking Operations Manager Bill Knobeloch said the app will reduce traffic downtown and save huge amounts of time for visitors.

“I think [the app] will relieve some congestion,” he said. “We think up to 20 percent of mileage in the city is people looking for a parking space. This will save them time that they would spend searching.”

Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8, added that street congestion and availability of parking during major events are among the problems being directly addressed by the app’s release.

“For touring downtown, [the app] is really a strength we’ll now have,” he said. “For events like the Farmers’ Market and UW basketball games, parking is one of the major struggles folks complain about. This will tell in real time which garages are available.”

Knobeloch said he believes the app’s convenience will increase visits to downtown, particularly during busy periods such as the holidays, and provide a smoother and less stressful experience.

In addition to downtown visitors, students who commute to campus will benefit from being able to park with increased ease, Resnick said.

Resnick said being able to see the availability of stalls is an advantage because of the challenge parking near campus buildings poses. The use of technology, he said, makes the service more convenient for students.

“This is one of the first uses of technology [for parking] that we’re seeing,” he said. “Seeing what’s available immediately is a great asset.”

Knobeloch said in addition to the new parking app, the city has made other changes to its parking setup to accommodate the needs of commuter students.

One example, he said, has been the decision to change many of the parking meters located close to campus from one- or two-hour meters to three-hour meters.

“We recognize students make their class schedules in blocks,” Knobeloch said.