Weekend Geek Out: Pay-By-Phone Parking Comes to D.C.

Via Matt Yglesias, DCist reports that next week Washington area motorists will be able to pay for on-street parking by calling a phone number:

pay_by_phone.jpgThe pay by phone option is being offered at 700 parking spaces in three
areas of the city: around Dupont Circle, Union Station, and downtown on
K Street, I Street, and New York Avenue NW. Meters that offer the
service will be marked with a green sticker like the one at right,
which lists a location number specific to that space.

The system lets customers specify how much time they’re paying for and can send a reminder via text message when that time is about to expire. It’s also integrated with enforcement, making parking agents’ jobs easier.

What does this have to do with livable streets? High-tech payment mechanisms fit together hand-in-glove with parking policies that reduce cruising and cut down on traffic. Like muni-meters, pay-by-phone makes it feasible to do things like set occupancy targets and price parking accordingly. The convenience factor is also a big deal. Because motorists appreciate those text reminders, the pay-by-phone system creates more political space to raise meter rates during peak hours.

According to ITDP’s recent report on U.S. parking policy, the city that’s way out in front on high-tech parking payment is Miami, which has 5,500 spots covered by its pay-by-phone system.

  • JK

    Pay by phone may be the perfect tool to get more streets metered, and get meters priced properly. New York City can’t do revenue return/community benefit. But we could offer motorists something they see as an amenity in return for more metering. Pay by phone/SMS/email is the future. We should try it in NYC. It is very popular in Miami.

  • well as part of the 3% of the country that has no phone, I understand that often people like me are forgot about in these type of things. However, as long as regular meters are still available then there shouldn’t be a problem. To be honest though, I don’t drive, so not likely an issue, but if they think about bike parking by phone, its all over! 😛

    Its a great idea and should prove very useful for many people, and provide better feedback than what is there currently. Good!

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