San Francisco Pioneers Smart Parking Spots

Wireless sensor network will alert drivers to open spaces
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 12, 2008 7:48 AM CDT
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom says the city's new parking plans will help ease traffic congestion without having to impose restrictive tolls.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
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(Newser) – The streets of San Francisco will be getting smarter this fall, reports the New York Times. The city is pioneering a program to add sensors to thousands of parking spaces; drivers will be alerted to empty spaces through displays on street signs or via their smartphones. City officials hope the experiment will help clear Frisco's clogged traffic by cutting down on drivers circling to look for a place to park.

If it works out, the project will have "a cascade of positive effects on transportation and the economy and environment," an urban planner tells the Times. He estimates that drivers hunting for parking spots make up 30% of  traffic in central business districts. A dozen other cities are looking into similar systems, hailed by San Francisco's mayor as an alternative to imposing restrictive tolls.