'Smart Parking' Alerts Drivers to Available Space

Dennis Faas's picture

New, high-tech mobile services are being designed to help drivers in congested cities find parking spaces. It's hoped these services will help save time and reduce pollution throughout the United States.

These innovations are made possible through communications between a host of mobile applications and sensors planted into parking meters and parking spaces. This new form of technology has even been given a name: "smart parking."

Meter Time, Parking Space Info Available

Among the more prolific services available is "Streetline," which embeds wireless sensors in parking spaces to detect when and where a spot opens up.

This application offers users real-time data on parking availability and a number of pay-by-phone options.

These options include knowledge of the remaining meter times in more than 20 cities across the United States, including Reno, NV, and Hollywood, CA.

Streetline is currently the only application to serve on a national scale, though dozens of other providers offer local and regional smart parking services. (Source: chillicothegazette.com)

Meanwhile, the "ParkPGH" program in Pittsburgh combines real-time data and predictive algorithms to estimate parking trends and predict future parking availability in downtown city districts.

Similarly, San Francisco offers a "SFpark" program in busy, cosmopolitan pockets of the city. The SFpark program is unique because it includes sensors in 14 of the 20 municipal transportation-owned parking garages, in addition to roughly 7,000 outdoor metered spots.

Smart Parking To Reduce L.A. Pollution

And while the aforementioned services save time and hassle, perhaps the most important new program is the federally-funded "L.A. Express Park" service, which was introduced in the city of Los Angeles in May 2012.

It is estimated that 28 per cent of Los Angeles drivers spend 11-20 minutes circling around for a parking space before finding one.

Parking hunting is detrimental to our environment as well. The same study estimated that Los Angeles drivers wasted 47,000 gallons of gasoline and emitted 730 tons of carbon dioxide into the air. (Source: usatoday.com)

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