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Thursday, April 7, 2011

'Smart Lake City' -- Smart Parking Meters.

According to USA-Today, 'Smart' parking meters are coming to town. That town (sadly) is not Salt Lake City, but Charleston North Carolina. To give the article highlights"

Converting from drop-in-a-coin-and-twist-the-dial machines to a new generation of meters.
-Uses smart-card technology
-Pay by cellphone
-Meters linked by wireless networks that can be remotely controlled and alert officers to parking violations
-'Call in' to register for parking.
-$150 apiece
-$7000 to $10,000 for multi-space meters.
-Powered by solar panels.

That last factor is actually a surprisingly big deal.  The installation costs for a parking can exceed the cost of the meter for a normal parking meter. One that requires electrical hookups can be substantially more expensive. While solar panels aren't yet powering whole cities, they are increasingly powering small parts of it.

Too bad the story didn't have more to say about using wireless networks to let drivers know where parking is available. But cities are hurting for money, and parking is a nice source of revenue...