The secret to finding the perfect parking spot in congested cities is usually just a matter of luck. But drivers here will get some help from an innocuous tab of plastic that will soon be glued to the streets.That is cool. It would be great to be able to check your phone to see where the open parking spaces are and then pay for the spot via your phone.
This fall, San Francisco will test 6,000 of its 24,000 metered parking spaces in the nation’s most ambitious trial of a wireless sensor network that will announce which of the spaces are free at any moment.
Drivers will be alerted to empty parking places either by displays on street signs, or by looking at maps on screens of their smartphones. They may even be able to pay for parking by cellphone, and add to the parking meter from their phones without returning to the car.
SFpark, part of a nearly two-year $95.5 million program intended to clear the city’s arteries, will also make it possible for the city to adjust parking times and prices. For example, parking times could be lengthened in the evening to allow for longer visits to restaurants.I like that idea of adjusting the price so 15% of spaces are always free.
The city’s planners want to ensure that at any time, on-street parking is no more than 85 percent occupied. This strategy is based on research by Mr. Shoup, who has estimated that drivers searching for curbside parking are responsible for as much of 30 percent of the traffic in central business districts.
In one small Los Angeles business district that he studied over the course of a year, cars cruising for parking created the equivalent of 38 trips around the world, burning 47,000 gallons of gasoline and producing 730 tons of carbon dioxide.
Not only will this technology save time and reduce gasoline usage, apparently it will also save lives.
Solving the parking mess takes on special significance in San Francisco because two years ago a 19-year-old, Boris Albinder, was stabbed to death during a fight over a parking space.Call me old fashioned, but I don't believe you should ever kill anyone over a parking spot. And I am with Engadget on this one, that this technology could make that problem even worse:
“If the San Francisco experiment works, no one will have to murder anyone over a parking space,” said Donald Shoup, a professor of urban planning at the University of California, Los Angeles, whose work on the pricing of parking spaces and whether more spaces are good for cities has led to a revolution in ideas about relieving congestion.
Only one problem -- give 50 anxious motorists the same message that a single spot is unoccupied, and you've just created a bona fide mess. Though it'd probably be fun to watch from the sidewalk, wouldn't you agree?via NY Times