Smart Parking Meters and an App to Find Open Spots
iPhone users in Los Angeles, Calif., can use a new app to locate that perfect parking spot. The app, Parker, will show the user where metered spaces are available in town, how much the spaces cost and their time limitations. The app costs $1.99, and is not available for Android phone users, but should be soon.Drivers in Hudson, N.Y., Decatur, Ga., and Montgomery County, Md., can take advantage of a new technology, the ParkNow service. You'll need to set up an account with the company first, including a credit card number. Then, if you find a spot at a ParkNow meter but don't have change, you can call the phone number on the meter, enter the meter number and it will automatically charge your credit card. The service will send you a message when you are about to reach the end of your parking period, too.
When you leave, you can log off the meter, so you don't end up paying for time you don't use. You can also do this transaction by text messages if you prefer. There is a "small transaction fee", 25 cents to 35 cents per use.
At the end of the month you can even print out a record of your parking expenses, something to gladden the heart of your accountant.
Other companies, including ParkMobile,Park-by-phone and Verrus are offering similar technology across the U.S.
Not every parking meter innovation is so customer-friendly, however. IntelliPark meters could be the city's best friend. These smart meters automatically reset to zero when a car pulls away, and sense and disallow meter-squatting by those who want to keep their car in one spot all day while feeding the meter periodically. Bethesda, Md., recently ordered 280 of these new-age devices.