Parking meter technology is not always convenient

Every week we read about new car parking technology being unveiled somewhere in the world.

This week, The New York Times published about the latest smart phone application being trialled in the Bronx, using real time updates to direct drivers to available parking spaces. The technology also allows for motorists to pay for parking with their mobile phones on the spot and refill their meter remotely.

Iowa’s technological ‘advance’ is to allow motorists to pay with their credit card. It’s not rocket science, but it is progress for that particular state.

These advances are supposedly intended to make our lives more convenient and our cities more efficient. However, there are downsides to these innovations, for drivers at least.

As mentioned in Travis Okulski’s piece this week, new parking meter technology could eventually make parking enforcement officers obsolete. One particular company is manufacturing parking meters with photo imaging and sensory elements, intelligent enough to read licence plates and detect when a space has been vacated (or not). These meters are so ‘clever’ they take a picture of your plates if you overstay your welcome, and almost as a courtesy, the meters can give you the option to pay your fine on the spot. This may be decidedly inconvenient for those of us who occasionally risk the wrath of the parking officer.

To top things off, even if you see someone pull out of a spot and they still have time on the meter, the meter will reset to before you are able to receive any benefit – a further source of revenue for local councils.

As we all know, technology has its benefits, just be careful what you wish for!

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