NYC DOT to Roll Out Smart Parking Tech in 2012

At a conference last Friday, Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan showed this slide featuring the app for SFPark and announced that New York City's own smart parking system would be ready next year. The image on the right appears to come from ## firm Libelium##.

New York City is moving forward with plans to use sensors to improve parking management, along the lines of San Francisco’s pioneering SFPark system. The program will be unveiled next year, Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan announced at a conference on transportation and technology held last Friday at Columbia University.

For now, DOT is only dropping tantalizing hints about the program. During her presentation Sadik-Khan showed an illustration of parking sensors and an SFPark smartphone app guiding drivers to open parking spaces. When asked by an audience member whether the new system would only be used to alert motorists to parking opportunities or to manage the pricing of on-street spaces as well, Sadik-Khan replied, “both.”

Using sensors to manage the price of parking could be transformative. SFPark covers eight San Francisco neighborhoods and roughly one-quarter of the city’s metered spaces. Data gathered from sensors embedded in the road, enables the city to adjust meter prices with the goal of ensuring that there is always one parking space available on each block, reducing the traffic caused by cruising.

Last year, DOT put out a request for expressions of interest in a program that could be even more far-reaching. At the time, the agency expressed interest in a system that could not only enable dynamic pricing of parking, but also automatically alert the NYPD to parking meter violations, crack down on parking placard abuse and synchronize with pay-by-phone technology.

DOT did not respond to Streetsblog inquiries seeking more information about Sadik-Khan’s announcement, so it is not yet clear how robust a program will be rolled out next year. The possibilities, though, are substantial.

  • Glenn

    Very cool. This plus RPP could really revolutionize NYC parking. This can’t just be about generating more revenue. The ideal program in my opinion helps direct drivers cruising around to find an empty spot as quickly as possible to minimize local traffic. And paid lots could be included. In other cities and countries, they post signs on downtown streets directing cars to nearby lots with the number of open spots. The same could be done with metered spots and lots.

    Having a few spots on each block extremely high priced per 15 minute block would be a godsend. That would help eliminate double parkers.

  • I was wondering how they could get this to work in a cold weather city. Pavement sensors dont mix with snow plows.

  • J

    @Jamesboat:disqus I was wondering the same thing. They must have some sort of in-pavement sensor in mind.

    In any case this is super exciting. Slowly but surely the ridiculousness inertia of NYC traffic and parking problems is being chipped away by actual solutions like this. Pretty soon it’ll be a less awful experience to drive and park in NYC, you’ll just have to pay for the privilege. While this seems bad in terms of equity for drivers, the real winners will be the rest of us, who will experience less honking, less traffic, less aggressive drivers, more transportation options, better accessibility, and improved safety. That, I think, is worth charging drivers a slightly higher price.

  • Although likely a photoshop comp here, it would be great to see SFpark’s open source code put to good use in other cities.

  • Anonymous

    There are magnetic sensors that live under the pavement that are used for traffic lights–you see the rectangular cut-outs in the asphalt. I suppose those could be used in parking spots too.

  • Anonymous

    I would be completely willing to pay a premium to avoid driving around in circles, risking a ticket, idling at a fire hydrant, etc. I usually end up driving in Manhattan because I need to pick up or drop off something heavy, and parking is a huge hassle. I say bring it already.

  • Anonymous

    Did NYC ever count the total number of parking spaces in the city?  Isn’t an inventory the first step before smart metering them?

  • Glenn

    I have to say, between this and bikeshare, 2012 could be another pretty impressive year for NYC DOT. Bloomberg has made a lot of bad moves in his third term, most notably the tenure of Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith under which DOT innovation was not well supported, but you have to imagine that a Mayor Bill Thompson would not be moving these types of programs ahead.

  • Clarke

    Double parkers and bike lane parkers will have their cars demolished on-site as a deterrent.

  • bloob

    Interesting that the SF Smartfone app uses New York’s “Park Smart” logo…

  • Donecc

    The parking program encourage drivers to use their smartphones while driving/nearing their destination. This is currently illegal.


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