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July 16, 2008

Let technology find parking for you

Posted: 04:10 PM ET

Finding parking in a big city usually involves lots of circling, wasted time and a whole lot of luck.

With that in mind, officials in San Francisco are launching an ambitious, $23 million project to install sensors on 6,000 of the city's 24,000 parking spots that will alert drivers to open spaces.

The sensors, which were developed by researchers at the University of California–Berkeley and adapted by the company Streetline, will use a city-wide wi-fi network to keep track of how many spaces are open by displaying them on street signs or on smart phones.

And if you’re too lazy to even cruise for the new signs in San Francisco, a separate Web site,, will let you reserve a parking spot in advance. The spots come from a database of private spaces put up for rent by their owners. People looking for extra gas money can rent out their driveways and businesses can rent out their spots by registering on the site. Users can search for a specific date, time and area and the availability is displayed. The rental fee is set by the spot's owner.

The sensors and spot reservations could help curtail traffic woes and environmental concerns across the country. A recent study by a University of California urban planner found that nearly 30 percent of traffic congestion in major business cities was a result of hunting for parking. The study also found the time spent searching for spots would be equal to 38 trips around the world, burning 47,000 gallons of gasoline and producing 730 tons of carbon dioxide.

Mallory Simon, Writer

Filed under: Uncategorized

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Raj   July 16th, 2008 8:42 pm ET

They have similar sensors in dubai. If you go to a mall in dubai they have underground parking and will let you know which isle has how many spots available so it easy for people to find parking and you don't see your self chasing down the guy that just came out of the mall and you are falling him to get his parking spot once he leaves....

S Callahan   July 16th, 2008 8:55 pm ET

I love this idea...helping the little guy make a buck..and finding a parking's a win win situation! :-} If it works there I'd love to see how this would work in NYC

Larian LeQuella   July 17th, 2008 10:16 am ET

LOL@Jim! 🙂

I wonder if they will ever have parking garages like "portrayed" in the Will Smith "I, Robot" movie. I know they have something like that in Tokyo, and maybe a few other places.

Parking in the Digital Age « San Francisco Bay Area Commercial Real Estate Blog   August 31st, 2010 5:03 pm ET

[...] by and implementation year in 2012.  The concept has been in the works for quite sometime (CNN report) and will be a welcome fresh breathe of air for the city that can seem choked with traffic at [...]

Mike   December 10th, 2010 10:13 pm ET

Actually, Jim, most of the developed world is focused on finding cheaper fuel... that's part of the problem. More cheap fuel = more cars = more driving = more traffic = less parking = more smog = more global warming = more oil wars... see where this is going?

Bikes are the answer.

Stop. Think. Thank you.

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