Known to most Americans for its famous wine varieties, Bordeaux is also an innovator in surface transit technologies that allow for wireless tram operations on its downtown streets.
Two wireless trams serve paired center city station platforms
On a visit to Bordeaux in 2010, I drank its fabulous wines, walked along the Garonne, enjoyed its comfortable summer climate… and took note of its innovative trams (light rail/streetcar). You might be thinking “trams… really?” Yes! While most systems are powered by overhead wires, when it opened in 2003 Bordeaux’s system was the only modern example of ground level powered wireless trams in the world. The proprietary APS system allows for typical overhead wire operation in the areas outside the central city and operation with ground-level power (see photo below) inside it in order to preserve unobstructed views in the old city. Although the system initially had reliability problems, it now seems to be performing well.
A familiar sight at Metro’s metered lots is that of a customer searching for coins to feed the parking meter. Priced at $1/hour, that can add up to a lot of quarters or dollar coins. Starting Monday, July 30, 2012, at the Fort Totten and Rockville Metrorail stations, Metro is introducing a new parking meter technology from Parkmobile that will allow customers to pay for parking using a smartphone app or over the phone. It’s the same payment system widely in use in the District of Columbia, but with an extra twist: within seconds, thanks to sensing technology from Streetline, the time you pay actually displays on the meter. You can find out about Parkmobile and download the app at http://parkmobile.com.
This new Parkmobile payment technology is compatible with the “Parker” app by Streetline for iPhones and Android, which provides another option for cash-free payments while enabling many additional features. For example, you can find a parking spot in real time at the Fort Totten and Rockville metered lots, and the Vienna-Fairfax/GMU South daily surface parking lot. Additionally, Parker provides policy information for every single Metro parking lot and garage (even those without sensor information) — see http://www.streetline.com/find-parking/.