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Sensor Networks Could End Parking Rage

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Credit: Apps91

The anger many drivers feel from having to search and wait for parking spaces to open up might be quelled by arrays of networked sensors embedded in city streets, a solution that also could help reduce traffic accidents, pollution, and congestion. "Most city parking is mismanaged or not managed at all, because you can't manage what you can't measure," says University of California, Los Angeles professor Donald Shoup. "Sensing networks, by revealing what's happening in parking spots, will change the way cities work."

San Francisco has deployed SFPark, the most advanced U.S.-based smart parking system, with funding from a $19.8 million U.S. Department of Transportation grant. The system uses magnetic sensors installed into the asphalt under 8,200 street parking spaces, and collects data on thousands more parking spots in garages and from smart parking meters. The information is connected to a central management system, while motorists can employ a Web site or smartphone app to access data about where parking is available and how much it costs, in real time.

A similar smart parking system is under construction in Los Angeles, with sensors to be deployed at approximately 7,000 street-side parking spots within the next several months.

From Technology Review
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