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 Spanish 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.