Metro Launches Parking Pilot Data

June 9th, 2011

Screen capture of live parking information for Fort Totten. Click image for live site.

As part of Metro’s ongoing effort to make parking more convenient for riders, a trial of real-time sensing has been underway at the Fort Totten Metro Kiss and Ride Lot for the past few months. This system uses sensors embedded in the pavement and in parking meters to let users know when spaces are available in the Kiss and Ride Lot, and when they should save time, energy and reduce their carbon footprint by driving to a different lot or using some other mode to access Metro.  Eventually, we hope that a similar sensors and monitoring technology will be available at all Metro metered parking spaces as a customer service to riders and to improve transit access, information and use.  Information on parking space availability reduces traffic cause by motorists search for parking and reduces pollution from vehicles being driven around in the search for parking.

This real-time space availability information from the Fort Totten Kiss and Ride Lot is currently available on Metro’s website on the Fort Totten parking page:

A graph will be added soon to this page showing daily parking trends at the meters to assist users in predicting in advance when they can expect spaces to be available at Fort Totten and when they might want to chose a different station of mode some other mode to access Metro.  These same trends will be analyzed in the future by Metro staff and will help us figure out how to serve the riding public better.

Parker App illustrating parking available at Fort Totten

The same real-time data is being made available by Metro on a FREE Parker app (v2.0), available for the iPhone and Android phones in Apple’s App Store and Google’s Android Market.  This new version of the Parker continuously tracks the user’s position and orientation on the smartphone screen as you drive (similar to an in-car navigation system), adds a timer so you can be keep track of how much time you have left on your meter (see Picture 1), and helps you find your parking spot when you return to the lot (see Picture 2). This App also includes information on all Metro daily and metered parking at Metrorail station through the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.  Sensors are not yet available for other lots, but the location of the spaces, the types of spaces (meter vs. lot vs. garage), and their parking hours and rates are visible in the App.  Metro is studying ways to enable payment for parking at meters by cellphone and through a smartphone App as well.

Picture 1: Parker App keeps track of time remaining at parking meters. Picture 2:  Parker App helps you remember the location of your car.

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