November 3, 2008 By Hilton Collins
It's afternoon, the air is warm and a grayish haze tints the horizon in the distance. Through your windshield you see the rear end of a sedan -- the first in a long line of vehicles inching their way down the highway. A look out your side windows and in the rear-view mirror shows that you're surrounded by other drivers. You sigh and wait for traffic to move. Slowly, maddeningly, it does.
You finally arrive at a city-owned parking lot, but soon realize you are no better off. All of the parking spaces are occupied.
This is a story people in many large and mid-sized cities may identify with. Congested streets, rush-hour stagnation, hapless drivers -- all are unpleasant byproducts of modern metropolitan living.
At least for now.
Public-sector forces in the San Francisco Bay Area are working to alleviate the problem by deploying wireless parking technology that informs people of parking space availability while they're driving or even before they get in their vehicles. These high-tech parking experiments are conducted with a few prominent goals in mind, including making it easier for drivers to hunt down spaces in today's urban jungles.
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