Partnership bringing real-time parking information to urban motorists

December 5, 2012 by Bob Yirka report

(—A partnership between smart parking solutions provider Streetline, Inc. and Cisco has resulted in the implementation of WiFi networking systems based on embedded sensors and a smart phone app currently being used in several major cities in the United States. The system is expected to reduce the amount of time drivers spend looking for parking spaces and to increase the amount of revenue cities are able to get from motorists paying to park. The partnership has already led to networks being installed in several California cities as well as in Washington D.C., Knoxville TN, Reno NV and Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Each system works by making use of embedded sensors – physical devices that are embedded in the roadway, parking lot or other parking sites. Information from the sensors, care of Cisco, is routed to a cloud based facility where data can then be disseminated to drivers via smartphone using the Streetline app, Parker.

The app allows drivers to actually see, in real-time, where available spaces are located on a map. Once they've chosen which one they'd like to use, the app then offers a hands-free navigational assist to help them get there as quickly as possible. Parker also shows pricing and the time frame during which parking spots are available for use. Also, users can tell the system where they'd like to go, to a movie theater, for example, and Parker will display or garages in the vicinity. And for those that sometimes forget where they parked their car, Parker allows their spot to be pinned to a map as they leave their vehicle.

Some of the networks use sensors embedded in parking meters, most of the rest are installed by drilling a golf ball sized hole in the pavement and pasting it in place. The top of the sensor is exposed and lies even with the pavement, allowing for measuring light changes or the actual presence of a vehicle using a magnetometer. Information from each sensor is sent to a Cisco WiFi which optimizes the most efficient path to the cloud via a control box located in a central nearby facility. The Parker app is available for both iOS and Android devices.

Explore further: Travelers in Germany to use their mobile phones to pay for bus, train and parking

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