A Parking App For Hamilton
By Matt McPeak
Published February 28, 2013
There are times when I feel I’ve thought of a great, original idea - only to find that it has already been thought of and executed. My most recent example of this is a QR Code Parking App. This app would allow you to find an open spot, scan the meter you parked at, pay for time through your phone, and add more time remotely if need-be.
I quickly found that other areas, in the US and Australia, had implemented similar solutions - none exactly how I had envisioned though. While this concept is still in its infancy, here’s what I have so far.
Thoughts and Goals
I used myself as the ideal target market and started creating something with the following in mind:
- I never have the proper change (most times I overpay, using $1 for a quick stop at a store)
- I always have my phone when I’m not at home
- I’m more apt to pay for a service if the process is easy
- I never remember how much time I have left, and can rarely get back to the meter to re-up
- The solution needs to use a lot of the existing infrastructure
- The solution must be efficient for policing as well
Using the existing infrastructure, the following would need to be implemented:
- QR codes placed on parking meters (associated with their respective serial numbers)
- An electronic payment solution for the city that connects to the app
- QR code scanners (phones) for Parking Officers
How It Works
In the app settings, each user will enter in their license plate number. This will be used to confirm that meter payments are associated with the proper vehicle. A typical scenario would look like this:
- Find a Spot using the map (either hands free or just below the line-of-sight of your car window). Everyone seems to be staring into their lap at intersections these days ...what gives?
- Scan the code or enter the serial number of the meter. This will link your license plate to the meter and prompt you to add time.
- Add money (either by prepaid credits or credit card) in $0.25 increments and confirm your payment once your limit is reached.
- Re-up if needed. If you’re stuck in a meeting or in a restaurant, the app will notify you when your meter is about to expire and offer the option of adding more time from your phone. On the other hand, if you arrive back at your car sooner than you anticipated, the app will allow you to bank your unused time.
- 5. For policing purposes, Parking Officers can scan each meter to get current info on your status.
This app is just an idea I had for Hamilton. Even the process of writing this article has exposed some areas that need to be more thoroughly thought-out. It’s a rough concept of what parking could be like, especially as software becomes more integrated with our physical world. This idea could also be adapted to accommodate Municipal lots and Street parking that use ticket machines instead of meters. The idea is also not tied down to any one city - ideally, this app could be used for parking wherever you go.
Please share some more ideas in the comments. I’ll continue to think about and develop new and more intuitive user interfaces for this idea.
This article was originally published on factor[e]'s blog.
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