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IBM Launches Parking Meter Analytics System 111

Posted by samzenpus
from the nickel-and-dime-analytics dept.
itwbennett writes "It's not just a parking spot, think of it as a 'revenue-producing asset,' says Vinodh Swaminathan, IBM's director of intelligent transportation systems. Working with San Francisco-based startup Streetline, IBM has launched a system designed to help cities ease parking congestion and collect more parking fees. Streetline's remote sensors can determine if a parking space is taken by a car, whether a customer has paid, and how much time is left on the meter. And IBM's business intelligence software parses the data and generates reports and statistics for government managers. Drivers can benefit too: A free mobile phone app can help locate available parking spaces."
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IBM Launches Parking Meter Analytics System

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  • by Reece400 (584378) <Reece400@hotmail.com> on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @05:06PM (#37545992)
    They've already done this in a lot of places by using pay and display meteres, where the time if on the ticket on your dash (sure, you can still pass the ticket on, but that's much less likely that just leaving the meter with the time on it).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @05:07PM (#37546008)
    Posting Anonymously because we evaluated a very similar system with IBM. We evaluated a very similar sounding system from IBM. When we looked at it best case after roll-out costs we were just shy of breaking even worst case we were big time in the hole. IBM's solution to the dollar gap was raising hourly parking rates, drastically raising fines, or automatically collecting fines. Raising rates wasn't an option because it's not easy to get rate raises past city council because raising rates mean a chance of not being re-elected and if we were just going to raise rates, why not raise them and keep all the money. Raising fines was also a big issue but more tolerable then raising rates, see the city council again, but raising fines also causes other issues, because there are other fines not related to parking which we have to make the good faith effort of keeping in line, for example the fine for parking in the wrong spot shouldn't be more than the fine for smashing someones windshield. It puts us in a situation where we would need to start reevaluating all of our fines, and since we're an old city with tons of old laws it's a serious undertaking, and yes I know we should clean up our books, but that's a serious undertaking. Automatically collecting fines or generating tickets got ruled out almost instantly. We viewed this as even more trouble than the red light camera issues we went through. Plus when we put sanity rules around an automatic alert we found our parking authority agents responded faster then the system 90+% of the time. The spot empty features don't work well either. Our meters already do a spot empty check to clear existing funds out of the meter when someone leaves. After a couple months the majority of sensors no longer work, gum stickers, grime etc always mess it up to the point it's unreliable. The response time IBM claimed to updating spot availability was on the order of a couple minutes. No spots stay open in city center where we have the majority of our meters that long. So spots would only be advertised as open a period of time after they had been filled. Every other year IBM comes and tries to sell us on some Smarter City initiative, smarter parking, smarter traffic, smarter blah blah blah. Every time we look at the numbers it works to be break even at best and a big cost at the worst, except for IBM who would make a fortune in either scenario.

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