Unlimited Parking On Street — Part Deux


Unlimited Parking On Street — Part Deux

I got some good comments on this post, and rather than have them languish in the innards of the blog, I reprint them here, naturally with my comment.

First, Kevin Holliday says:

I am not sure that it passes my “mom test,” i.e., would my mom be able to figure it out? Even if she did, I know that she (and plenty of other citizens) would decry the loss of an option to pay by coin. But neither of those issues are the big problem with your proposal.

The problem is the inaccuracy of today’s parking sensors. In order for your scheme to work parking sensors would have to be nearly 99.9% accurate and have an up-time to match. Anything much short of that and you’d have an adjudication nightmare.

Consider a 400 parking space district (ten square blocks @ ten blocs per blockface). Assume that the average stay is two hours, the average occupancy is 80% and the operating hours are 9am to 5pm six days per week. That works out to be 3.2 parking sessions per space per day on average, or just under 7,700 session per week in the district. That would be just under 400,000 sessions per year.

At 90% accuracy, you’d have 40,000 mistakes on your hands every year just from one district! Even at 95% you’d be dealing with 20,000 errant charges. At 99.9% you only have 400 misreads, which is probably tolerable.

The sensors on the market today are not even close to 99.9% accurate (and the jury is still out on their up-time). Given the current magnetometer-based technology, they may never be; there is always an errant dumpster that seems to trick them

I agree 100%. The info I have is that even the sensor manufacturers are saying that 90% is a good number, and most tell me that 85% is “fine” for statistical purposes. Maybe so, but not for this kind of operation.

Second, Michael Graham notes:

One answer to this is a device called Skymeter that is made by a company of the same name in Toronto. It is a Financial Grade GPS device that has false positives in the less than .5% – probably lower with the new version. At scale this is an option from a cost point of view. It works in the urban canyon and the data is absolutely private because nothing comes off the box other then the amount of the bill.

So who pays ? That’s down to the business rules and the effectiveness of marketing for cashless, credit cardless, swipeless parking. Telco handset model anyone?

Yes, This is Bern Gush’s gizmo.  I think that in the end, this or something like it will replace all parking collection devices. The idea is that you put a box in your car and when you park the box knows where you are (by GPS) and you are charged based on the time you stay there. No meters, no phone, zip. You just park and get a bill at the end of the month.It would even know when you parked in a red zone, or too close to a curb, and yes, GPS is that accurate.

Third, rta says:

Think about how long it takes for the police to respond to a call about a car break in, or any other type of non-violent crime that has already occurred. It’s not because they don’t care, it’s because of priorities. I just can’t imagine meter violations being enforced in any meaningful way unless you have dedicated enforcement.

Study after study has shown that the chances of getting busted for a violation in a “standard” operation are minimal, I can only imagine what that % might be without consistent monitoring.

I wondered when someone would consider my “cops can write tickets” an issue. Of course he’s right. Enforcement will, and should, remain the purview of the parking operation. And yes, only 10 percent of all the tickets get written. But the difference in this case would be that there is only one infraction, not swiping your card. That’s it. no overstay. And the PEOs would be notified, (on their PDA?) when someone parked without paying. They could simply drop by and issue a citation.

Great responses guys, keep em coming


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John Van Horn

One Response

  1. So how are customers going to know what the rate structure is if they don’t have to do anything to pay for parking when they get to a space? You can’t post a complicated rate structure on a street sign – and to create the turnover you want, it needs to be more complicated.

    What happens when someone gets charged $50 (or more) for parking in a space all day? Even if you did post it and it is their responsibility to read it, we all know how that works. There is a lack of consumer involvement in the payment process here, which reduces their ability to make the decisions we want them to make (i.e. get out of the space in a timely manner). I think that in order to make this work, you’d have to add a step into this process that requires the customer to authorize the start of a parking session, even if it is as simple as pushing a “yes” button on some device or on the GPS in your car. If you don’t have their authorization for each individual charge at the time of the charge, you’ll never make it stick.

    I wouldn’t want to be on the other end of the phone or across the counter from this person waving their bill in the air and gesticulating wildly. And it wouldn’t be just one person, it would be a lot of them. And the media and the mayor and my boss and, and, and. And me out of a job quick.

    Know how much of a pain in the rear end it is to deal with disputed credit card transactions? How much administrative overhead is involved in this – and associated cost? Credit card companies have the ability to yank money out of your account with no notice and no due process – one of the stipulations they stick you with to have the privilege of getting charged outlandish fees to accept credit cards. Even if you use another vendor and don’t go through the credit card companies, that vendor is still subject to these rules so all you’re doing is adding more administration to disputes.

    On the GPS, you say that it is extremely accurate. Maybe I’m behind the times, but I haven’t spoken to anyone who says that GPS can get down to individual space granularity. If I’m wrong, that’s great and I invite anyone to clue me in, because that’s a huge step forward for this technology.

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