Metro tries parking sensors, cell payments
Metro will roll out a pilot program of sensors on parking spaces that will collect data on parking usage to help Metro make strategic choices and to keep riders from having to drive in circles looking for a spot.
The one-year program at Fort Totten will also include sensors in parking meters that will keep an eye on whether there's money in the meter while a car's on the ground. Soon, Metro says, that piece of equipment will also let parkers add money to the meter via their cell phones.
If successful, the program "can be rolled out to the other types of parking spaces available at Metrorail stations. Real-time information on parking availability can be provided over the web, on smartphones... and in the future, on roadside signs to help save customers time and make it easier to use transit. When you decide to pull off the highway and switch to Metro, we want to eliminate the guesswork and make sure you know where to find a parking space," Metro planners wrote.
Dr. Gridlock reported this month that Montgomery County plans to expand its pay-by-cellphone parking meter system this spring to include 11,000 meters.