3 Cities Where Mobile Apps Are Changing Parking

Baltimore, Chicago, and Miami Beach, Fla., are joining San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., as smart parking innovators.

by / July 3, 2014

Recent local government smart parking projects indicate that the United States is continuing a trend to transform how taxpayers park. 

Many smart parking projects capitalize on the relationship between citizens and their mobile devices. Users access apps to discover and pay for spaces, which translates into less time spent hunting for spots on the road and in lots.

The International Parking Institute's 2013 Emerging Trends report (PDF) claims that a leading trend is the demand for cashless, electronic payment options. Researchers surveyed International Parking Institute members in the United States and other people in the country's smart parking community. Fifty-four percent of respondents said they had deployed electronic payment mechanisms for drivers. The total number of those surveyed wasn't specified.

Cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been cited as smart parking innovators for programs already in place, but here are three cities making strides this year to join the effort.

  1. Miami Beach, Fla.'s administration partnered with ParkMobile and ParkMe in May to create the Miami Beach Parking App so drivers can select parking facilities, view directions and pay for parking on their devices.
  2. Similarly, Chicago drivers have been able to use ParkChicago since spring to pay for parking or extend parking time from their computers. People enter their license plate and credit card information into the app, and they're charged automatically.
  3. Launched in June, the Haystack app in Baltimore, Md., allows people to rent out spaces to others for a fee. It's an interesting solution where residents control parking spaces they don't own, but the Baltimore Parking Authority isn't opposed to the app's use at the moment.    

The International Parking Institute claims that a parking revolution is underway that makes the lives of both drivers and parking authority managers easier. The increasing development in this area seems to confirm these claims.

Institute spokesman Casey Jones told CNN that more and more Americans will expect this in the future. 

"What we're seeing is a demand from our consumers to offer a level of convenience that really heretofore hadn't been the hallmark of the parking industry," he said.

Hilton Collins

Hilton Collins is a former staff writer for Government Technology and Emergency Management magazines.