Are Parking Meters the Next Buggy Whip?


Are Parking Meters the Next Buggy Whip?

I was interviewed today by the Kiplinger Group. They are doing some research on the next 10 things that are going the way of the dodo. They wanted to talk to me about Parking Meters.

They are located in DC and Pay by Cell has been very successful there. They noticed that single space meters were being replaced by meters with credit card readers and multispace pay and display machines.  So, they asked:  Are parking meters on the way out, and within the next 10 years will they be gone, like the fabled buggy whip?

I told them that as technology has inundated the parking industry, many devices have been shown the door.  When was the last time you saw a time clock in a parking booth, or an honor box, or for that matter a parking booth, or an insert card reader. What about hand written parking tickets, or for that matter, meters that require you to turn a crank to post the time. What about parking lots covered with dirt, or concrete barrels used in place of a “Denver Boot.”

Wait!!! We see all those things still alive and well, probably in more than half of our parking operations. Many have been replaced, but many have been simply upgraded and the operation carries on. So maybe we aren’t becoming techno wizards quite as quickly as we think.

I know that IPS has hedged its bets by expanding its smart parking meter line to include Pay and Display/Space.

So what did I tell Kiplinger?

Its simple — technology moves on — We don’t fly around the US in DC3s, nor do we talk on cell phones the size of Max Smart’s loafer. I don’t think you can buy a ‘standard’ TV at Best Buy or Costco, they are all flat screen. The parking industry is similar.

There are many changes going on, and many new technologies being brought to bear on parking. However the basic things are still there and will be for some time. Pay by Cell will not replace some type of meter for many years. “Connected” cars won’t replace pay by cell for what, a decade.

But I know that all these technologies are bridge technologies.  They are getting us across a canyon and filling in until the next technology comes along.

What will it be?  Here’s my best guess:  One day, all cars will have an internal gizmo that identifies the car and its location (can you say GPS) to a satellite monitoring such things. When the car parks, whether in a structure, lot, or on street, the “system” will know all about that spot.  Whether its legal to park there, how much to charge, and how long you can park. You will be notified by your onboard display as to all this information. When you leave, your account will be charged for the parking. If you overstayed or parked too near a fire hydrant, you will be mailed a citation, your account already having been charged for the infraction. Bern Grush call your office.

Of course that assumes transporters haven’t been invented yet.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. John, you might enjoy watching “The Giver”, lots of integrated technology (although they’re riding a lot of bicycles).

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