Hoping to ease the parking problems that plague drivers in many cities around the world, San Francisco is to test a high tech parking system that will change meter prices on the fly, and give drivers the ability to check availability on their cell phones. ( dpa )
The 23-million-dollar demonstration project will cover 6,425 curbside spaces regulated by parking meters - about 25 per cent of the city's total stock - and 11,677 spaces in city-managed lots and garages, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Monday.
City officials hope to start the test program in September and operate it for at least a year. The agency's governing board is expected to give the go-ahead at its meeting Tuesday.
The plan is for city officials to micromanage the parking supply to reduce the time it takes motorists to find parking sports and at the same time generate more revenue.
Sensors would be embedded in the asphalt to keep track of when a parking spot is empty. Parking rates would be adjusted based on time of day, day of week and duration of stay. People would be able to pay not just with coins, but with credit cards, prepaid debit cards and even by cell phone. If a meter is set to expire, a text message could be sent to the driver. More time could be purchased remotely.
People also would be able to check parking availability before arriving at their destination via the Internet and cell phone.
"The idea is to give people more choice, more convenience and to reduce congestion," said Mayor Gavin Newsom.
Under the program, which will focus on 10 neighbourhoods, prices will go up when spaces are scarce and go down when plenty are available. The program will also adjust time limits allowing only shorter periods during peak hours for example.