Today I witnessed a Christmas miracle. This afternoon, Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa and Streetline CEO Zia Yusuf together announced the launch of the Parker app for iPhone, an app that shows drivers in real-time where to find nearby, available parking in a garage or metered space.
Sorry if the “Christmas miracle” thing offended anyone—that could probably offend people on both sides of the “Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays” debate. I was just thinking about how I need to go out and finish my holiday shopping and that app would come in really handy right about now.
Studies estimate that 30% of traffic comes from drivers who are looking for a place to park, so the Parker app from Streetline aims to make roadways clearer and more efficient. Los Angeles will be a great testing ground, as will a Friday afternoon on Memorial Day weekend in San Francisco. While the app currently only has data on Los Angeles parking, it will be expanding to cover other major cities in California and New York in the near future.
The app pulls data from Streetline’s patented smart-parking technology, which uses a network of ultra-low power wireless sensors located in each parking space throughout the city to determine whether it is vacant or not. The data is then transmitted back to the user’s iPhone, showing which blocks have more less than two, more than two, or more than four available parking spaces, as well as blocks with “rock star” parking—the nearest parking with the most available spaces.
Drivers can also get information on time limits, pricing, and whether meters take credit cards or coins. Currently, the app only has data on parking in and around Hollywood, but will expand to encompass the rest of Los Angeles soon.
Said Amir Sedadi, Interim General Manager of the City Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT), in a prepared statement: “LADOT has been working hard to utilize new technologies like Streetline’s to help connect the residents and visitors of Los Angeles with valuable information to make their lives easier. This new system will transform the parking and driving experience in Hollywood, and we look forward to rolling out this service to other parts of Los Angeles.”
Obviously, the next kink to work out is how drivers are going to find parking spaces on their Parker app with the whole no-texting-while-driving rule. Yeah, theoretically, they could probably pull over to do that, but that's kind of what the problem was in the first place...
The app was developed by Streetline in partnership with LADOT and is available now in the App Store for $1.99.
Image source: fastcompany.com