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IBM Launches Parking Meter Analytics System

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the nickel-and-dime-analytics dept.

IBM 111

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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111 comments

and how well will the sensors stand up to the weat (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#37545570)

and how well will the sensors stand up to the weather? cars? people defacing meters?

Re:and how well will the sensors stand up to the w (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37545618)

Not all computer hardware goes into a thin candy shell y'know.

Re:and how well will the sensors stand up to the w (1)

hamisht (197412) | more than 2 years ago | (#37545692)

I can understand parking meters, but people defacing meters? What sort of metrics are collected for that: type of defacement? degree of defacing? How much does each defacement cost?

Re:and how well will the sensors stand up to the w (1)

plover (150551) | more than 2 years ago | (#37546032)

There's a very well documented case of defacing meters [imdb.com] . It's a good thing it was recorded on video, because the meter communications mesh afterwards, well, what we got here is ... failure to communicate.

Re:and how well will the sensors stand up to the w (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37546060)

Peak G force at impact.

I'm only half way kidding... A network of seismometers could have some scientific value, or at least be a cool hack, or "educational".

Re:and how well will the sensors stand up to the w (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#37546850)

There is no need for metrics if IBM is willing to warranty them against defacement, or at least guarantee that their replacement/repair costs don't go past a certain maximum amount. After all, standing up against tampering is their primary function. If the city could trust people, it wouldn't need meters, it would just need buckets in front of parking spaces, that people would just throw coins into as necessary.

Re:and how well will the sensors stand up to the w (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37547824)

If the city could trust people, it wouldn't need meters, it would just need buckets in front of parking spaces, that people would just throw coins into as necessary.

If the people could trust the city, we wouldn't need to deal with this shit all over the world. In the UK we pay road tax for upkeep of the roads but that's not enough to satisfy their greed.

Is it just me? Isn't at least someone else sick of every single thing being taxed?

Captcha: dreamers

Greed? (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 2 years ago | (#37552966)

I like services. Services cost money. You're just a whiner who takes cost increases personally.

Re:and how well will the sensors stand up to the w (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 2 years ago | (#37555474)

If the people could trust the city, we wouldn't need to deal with this shit all over the world.

News flash: In places where it matters, parking spaces are a scarce resource. Giving scarce resources away for free first-come-first-serve leads to some people hogging them and others not getting any.

I want parking to be expensive, because it means that in the rare occasions when I take my car downtown (and I do mean rare -- most of the time I bike or take the train), I can actually find a space. This also means that the city's incentives for folks to use lower-impact transportation (such as free parking for motorcycles, scooters and bicycles -- all of which use far less of this scarce resource) carry considerably more weight.

"Greed"? Market forces regulating distribution of a scarce resource isn't greed -- it's economics... and when technical solutions like this one let the market rate float with demand, it means that the economics are able to do a better job of matchmaking supply and demand.

Re:and how well will the sensors stand up to the w (1)

sonamchauhan (587356) | more than 2 years ago | (#37551158)

> If the city could trust people, it wouldn't need meters, it would just need buckets in front of parking spaces, ...

Or just a promise to return it to the government, come tax time.

Hmm... how about a camera that scan license plates and uses DMV information to pre-populate IRS forms at tax time? (Which could then pass on the monies to local government as needed). Maybe we could have the option to do our returns monthly. :D

Re:and how well will the sensors stand up to the w (1)

lucifuge31337 (529072) | more than 2 years ago | (#37548490)

Even in a small town, this is a known quantity.

I live in a small town and do the IT support for the municipality on the side. The two guys at public works absolutely know exactly how many meters were defaced, and how much in parts and time each one cost to repair. You have to remember, municipalities work off of work orders and loads paperwork in general. This data exists. I can be collected and aggregated. For a single municipality like SF, it's probably its own budget line.

Re:and how well will the sensors stand up to the w (1)

mallyn (136041) | more than 2 years ago | (#37549604)

Simple solution for vandalism.

Meters can be easily equipped with low cost webcams.

Since these meters will need wifi or some other connection to have their data collected, why not piggy back a webcam's stream as well.

Re:and how well will the sensors stand up to the w (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37546136)

and how well will the sensors stand up to the weather? cars? people defacing meters?

Not that well. Streetline got kicked off the SFPark project after 18 months. (Sensors were not working as advertised?) http://www.examiner.com/technology-in-san-francisco/critical-vendor-replaced-before-sfpark-launch

Good for drivers, not for profits (1)

Glarimore (1795666) | more than 2 years ago | (#37545628)

Well, if Boston is like other parts of the country/world, the meter maids are already pretty good about making sure that as soon as your meter is up (sometimes even a couple minutes before) there is a ticket on your window. It's hard for me to see this increasing profits for cities (aside from saving money on meter maids).

Should this parking-spot-finding mobile app come to fruition, the real winners here are drivers.

Re:Good for drivers, not for profits (1)

ShiftyOne (1594705) | more than 2 years ago | (#37545730)

I would assume most cities are not nearly as prolific at handing out tickets than Boston. Generating parking revenue is one area where they have their act together. Cambridge even puts yoga images to calm you down after handing you a $25 ticket.

Re:Good for drivers, not for profits (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#37546772)

$25!! That Cambridge area must be in the boondocks!

In San Francisco, our fines for expired meters are $68. In Berkeley, it's $43. And of course, other kinds of parking violations have much higher fines.

Re:Good for drivers, not for profits (1)

lucifuge31337 (529072) | more than 2 years ago | (#37548504)

Oh yeah? In Oakland they just take your car. Or was that something else that happened?

Re:Good for drivers, not for profits (1)

mallyn (136041) | more than 2 years ago | (#37549624)

I remember in the old days (1976) in Lewiston, Maine, the fine for overtime parking was $.50. Yes. That's 50 cents. I did not get a ticket, but I saw the pad of tickets at the police station when I had to go in to file a police report on some vandalism at my radio station.

Re:Good for drivers, not for profits (3, Insightful)

sprior (249994) | more than 2 years ago | (#37545792)

I think systems like this will reset any time left on the meter as soon as the car pulls out, so nobody can come in and park "for free" by using the left over minutes. That's what increases the revenue.

Re:Good for drivers, not for profits (3, Informative)

Reece400 (584378) | more than 2 years ago | (#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).

Re:Good for drivers, not for profits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37547992)

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).

In every city I've used this type of system (including Chicago), you are buying time at any space within that rate zone in the city. So you can move your car around a lot while only paying once. This is a huge benefit to people running errands at multiple stores and only a detriment to those drivers hoping to get free parking paid for by some other driver.

Re:Good for drivers, not for profits (1)

Hyperhaplo (575219) | more than 2 years ago | (#37550258)

Been there - in the old fashioned way.

I pulled into a carpark right after someone pulled out, saw that there was 30 min left on the meter, and started to walk away.

A parking inspector came up and said he was going to ticket me. I asked what for. He said because I had not paided. I pointed to the meter, which was showing 30 minutes or so left.

To avoid a pointless argument with an idiot I put 10c in (yes, this was a while back, around 10 years ago), which added another 10 minutes and wandered away.

I swear that if that parking inspector could have reset the meter he would have.

Interestingly, around here there are only a few places left where you can park for 2 hours for free. Most places require you to pay 60c up front. In a lot of places this really puts people off shopping there. Perhaps this is the point here.. to get people to move on quickly.. come, buy and leave.

Although, that doesn't work well for the local place. You get 2 hours free during business days (free outside of hours - after 7pm (catches out all of the office workers)) but the problem is that most people spend 2 hours shopping.. then have a bite to eat, put the groceries in the car and then go to the stores. The local shops were first complaining about a lack of customers.. and now they have been slowly closing. The local downturn hasn't helped. Yet, they still restrict free parking. Makes you wonder.

If they do the nasty with this system, then it'll be interesting to see how this system goes. Nothing like the real world to iron out someone's brilliant idea and highlight the negatives.

Re:Good for drivers, not for profits (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 2 years ago | (#37547686)

I think systems like this will reset any time left on the meter as soon as the car pulls out, so nobody can come in and park "for free" by using the left over minutes. That's what increases the revenue.

The article makes this sound like a strictly passive system. They add two sensors to an existing parking meter, one to monitor the space and one to read the display. The system relays analytical data to a central server to generate reporting on usage, etc. It also sounds like it doesn't generate any sort of ticketing by itself. At best there might be an application that meter maids could use to more quickly target delinquent parkers.

one of the interesting points is that the data will be fed into an installation of the Cognos BI software suite, which IBM purchased a year or so ago. Looks like they are trying to find new markets to sell the software to by finding new ways to feed data in for analysis. Whether this will actually result in anyone besides IBM making money I have no idea.

Re:Good for drivers, not for profits (1)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 2 years ago | (#37545828)

they can fire the meter maids. duh.

Re:Good for drivers, not for profits (1)

lakeland (218447) | more than 2 years ago | (#37547220)

As you say, the saving comes from fewer meter maids.

Even at a low hourly rate, being able to make redundant a couple dozen people would pay for the system soon enough.

And at some point, writing tickets is fool's gold (1)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 2 years ago | (#37548228)

In many areas of West Los Angeles, I simply will not park and do business in the city and be victimized by this predatory tax, and many I know feel this way. How can you possibly enjoy a meal or shopping when you are worried about a ticket? It's fool's gold, as it discourages commerce in your city. Beverly Hills, OTOH, gives two free hours parking and has large parking structures to encourage people to come and shop and eat.

Parts of Westwood have been called a "ghost town" [dailybruin.com] due to its business-unfriendly climate. There's even a Facebook page dedicated to the parking oppressiveness in Westwood [facebook.com] - which hits UCLA students the worst.

If you want less of something, tax it. And that includes parking in your city.

App? (0)

mholve (1101) | more than 2 years ago | (#37545686)

I can see the SMS/notifications from it now...

"lolz! ur getting ticket"
"i can haz ur spot?"

I go palces that require paying to park (1, Interesting)

DigiTechGuy (1747636) | more than 2 years ago | (#37545698)

My solution to this conundrum is simply to not go anywhere you must pay to park. This pretty much rules our most big cities, or at least most areas of big cities. This has the nice side effect of keeping me out of high crime areas. If you're going to charge me to park on a public road, funded by tax dollars, some of which came from me, I will not park there. If I don't park there, I of course won't be spending money in the surrounding areas. Their loss not mine, I hate cities.

Re:I go palces that require paying to park (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37545752)

We don't miss you, nor your lack of comprehension of how user fees work.

Re:I go palces that require paying to park (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37546906)

We don't miss you, nor your lack of comprehension of how user fees work.

You may not, but the store owners do. Where I used to live in the UK there used to be a thriving street full of stores in the mdidle of town, but after the council increased the price of parking to insane levels it became a street full of restaurants (due to free parking after 6pm), charity shops and betting shops (i.e. stores for people who are too poor to own a car).

Treat parking as a revenue source and you'll probably find that pretty soon you're losing far more revenue from all the stores that went out of business.

Re:I go palces that require paying to park (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 2 years ago | (#37547334)

User fees? I'm with the original poster. I won't park in a metered spot in which the "problem" of overstaying or not paying is "solved" with punitive fines. I'll use a metered spot if there aren't the fines. In some systems, they issue a timestamp, and collect the appropriate amount at the exit, when you leave. No fines involved. But parking meters almost always mean a system rigged to cause violations. I won't participate in those.

If avoiding the parking meter means I don't visit certain places, so be it. There are plenty of other places to go. Don't see why I should reward any muni for running a parking meter scam. Why didn't the businesses get the council to undo the changes before they were ruined?

Re:I go palces that require paying to park (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37548990)

I got tired of playing this game in Brooklyn, NY. I left and took seven jobs with me. NYC got a few thousand bucks out of my business but is now going to miss tens of thousands of dollars in income taxes from my former employees. For the rest of my life my business and personal income is outside of their reach. Fuck with us long enough and eventually we'll leave for someplace that treats us with a bit more respect.

Re:I go palces that require paying to park (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37546016)

My solution to this conundrum is simply to not go anywhere you must pay to park. This pretty much rules our most big cities, or at least most areas of big cities. This has the nice side effect of keeping me out of high crime areas. If you're going to charge me to park on a public road, funded by tax dollars, some of which came from me, I will not park there. If I don't park there, I of course won't be spending money in the surrounding areas. Their loss not mine, I hate cities.

I've found places that try to nickel and dime me to death also have horrendous traffic, yet another good reason to stay away. And the nickel and dime mentality extends to the retail and service providers in the area, so I get better cheaper service by going somewhere "better"

I would like an app showing where I can park for free...

Re:I go palces that require paying to park (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37546126)

Hate to tell you but it isn't just large cities that do this. State College, Bellefonte, Huntingdon have paid parking as well... they're all in PA. Just look at Google maps to see how "big" those places are

Re:I go palces that require paying to park (1)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 2 years ago | (#37548106)

State College, Bellefonte, Huntingdon have paid parking as well... they're all in PA.
Other than looking to score some drunk coed tail, there is no reason to visit or park in any of those towns.

Re:I go palces that require paying to park (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 2 years ago | (#37555756)

Funny thing about the public roads with tax dollars that you fund -- other people pay those taxes too.

I was not long ago at a public meeting about putting in some bike lanes on a neighborhood road with peak parking utilization measured well under 40%; this required taking out parking on one side of the street. The road in question was a great candidate -- its position relative to a major highway makes it a poor thoroughfare for motorists (who are subject to a one-way-only turn preventing them from using it to get towards the north central side of town) but a great one for cyclists (who, by virtue of the privilege of getting off the bike and turning into a pedestrian at that major intersection, are able to cross in a direction that motorists legally cannot).

We had a very vocal minority of neighbors talking about "their" parking that "they" paid for. City street, paid for by city property and sales taxes? Guess what -- folks commuting by bike pay those taxes too. Perhaps even moreso, since we're not sending a good chunk of each paycheck to a typically out-of-state bank funding a typically foreign-made vehicle, and thus have more money left to spend locally.

Point is? The other people you're sharing this parking space with also pay the same taxes you do. Does this give you more right than they have? If not, why should you have the ability to take advantage of first-come-first-serve rules to get unlimited use of a very scarce resource -- thereby blocking others, who already paid in those same taxes, from access to the same?

[For the uninitiated -- gas taxes, vehicle registration, and the like pay for highways, not city streets].

and Security Validation System +3, Fascist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37545714)

to check driver's threat level [slashdot.org] .

Welcome To the Former U.S.A.

Yours In Novosibirsk,
Kilgore Trout, C.I.O

Hope it goes better than their past programs. (0, Flamebait)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 2 years ago | (#37545738)

A long time ago they developed software for tracking people, it was 80 years ago and that didn't work out all to well for the people being tracked.

Re:Hope it goes better than their past programs. (1)

HBI (604924) | more than 2 years ago | (#37546134)

Someone else who read that hatchet job about IBM and the holocaust, I see. They supplied Hollerith card machines to Germany, so therefore what was done with them was IBM's fault. Great logic.

Re:Hope it goes better than their past programs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37546270)

Yeah and also had staff that helped to service and.optimize the system routinely to.help.optimize the.killing system.

Re:Hope it goes better than their past programs. (1)

HBI (604924) | more than 2 years ago | (#37548684)

I missed the part with the knives and bullets firing from the Hollerith machines.

I think you must've missed the part where the people doing the servicing were also German nationals working for the German subsidiary of IBM that would have been nationalized instantly if IBM had even attempted resistance from afar.

You leftists really lack critical thinking skills.

Re:Hope it goes better than their past programs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37546640)

Yes of course. Let's protect corporations at all costs. Ever hear the word facilitator? IBM played a role in the holocaust. Deal with it.

Just like the US Government! (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 2 years ago | (#37553032)

I mean, they're not just facilitating the deaths of women and children, they're actually doing it! And people volunteer!

Why do you hate Social Security? (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 2 years ago | (#37553018)

Too socialist for your tastes?

"collect more parking fees" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37545768)

Supply and demand, city style: Is there plenty of street parking? Only take the arm. What's that? Parking's in demand? Better take the leg, too.

I like the idea of the mobile app and reducing congestion, but anybody who thinks parking will get cheaper when it's in low demand is crazy.

Re:"collect more parking fees" (1)

srmalloy (263556) | more than 2 years ago | (#37546306)

The data collection will allow them to 'high-grade' parking meters by demand -- set lower maximum times for areas where they either want more turnover or a greater likelihood that the meter will expire before the driver gets back, allowing more ticketing.

And I would not put it past the design to incorporate the capability to alter the cost 'on the fly', raising the parking rates during peak times or when there is an event that's going to draw lots of people.

Re:"collect more parking fees" (1)

Renraku (518261) | more than 2 years ago | (#37551236)

My city actually closes a ton of parking meters for football game days for two reasons:

1) To force people to go to those $20 parking lots that it runs.

2) To ticket people that abso-fucking-lutely cannot find a space within ten miles for a day before or after the game and have to park there.

(optional)

3) To come back and ticket people that were parked at the meters before they put the 'no parking' hoods over them, after they put them on them.

Working with San Francisco-based startup... (1)

swan5566 (1771176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37545772)

SF already charges an arm and two legs for parking downtown, and they want to collect more fees? If this gets out to SF residents, these guys may not want to wear their Streetline shirts when walking around town, and especially around cars with tickets on them.

Re:Working with San Francisco-based startup... (2)

Megahard (1053072) | more than 2 years ago | (#37546018)

If the rates are increased enough, eventually there will come a time when you will be able to find a parking spot.

Re:Working with San Francisco-based startup... (1)

SkimTony (245337) | more than 2 years ago | (#37546240)

Incidentally, city officials (from various cities) have give parking turnover as the primary reason to have parking meters, and to charge as much as they do.

Re:Working with San Francisco-based startup... (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 2 years ago | (#37547574)

SF already charges an arm and two legs for parking downtown, and they want to collect more fees?

I guess Steve Austin must have been one of their early customers.

How much you want to bet... (3, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37545798)

...that far from increasing revenue, this will be a money pit and will never work quite right? That it'll start out a stellar idea, but in implementation, as more and more people and companies get connected to the project, it drowns in cost overruns and performance shortfalls? A strong mayor will pull the plug at some point and go back to meter maids. A weak mayor will see it through, ending up paying several times the cost for less than what he started with.

Re:How much you want to bet... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37545994)

Ah! I see you've worked with IBM before?

Re:How much you want to bet... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37547200)

With and for.

Re:How much you want to bet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37552158)

This is not a new idea and is already being done in Barcelona although it was not instigated by IBM but by a small Spanish company. The wireless mesh network sensors are buried in the parking slot, seems to work in reducing congestion.

Re:How much you want to bet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37552820)

And yet you want government run health care...

70+ years too late... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37545820)

It's not just a parking spot, think of it as a 'revenue-producing asset,'

Is that supposed to be some sort of revelation? parking meters have been a revenue asset for some 70+ years.
Wake me up when they bring back meter maids...

It's a sparking pot! (2)

Mister Liberty (769145) | more than 2 years ago | (#37545844)

n/t

Re:It's a sparking pot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37546094)

No! It's a Parking Spot! [wikipedia.org]

Municipalities already do (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37545906)

"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.

Hi Vinodh. All municipalities already do. They have more 'revenue-producing assets' like red-light cameras, speeding cameras, etc. This is why you get business areas where the big box stores make sure there is plenty of free parking. The little retailer downtown, that usually isn't able to keep up the same pricing level, is only saved by people that have to be there anyway or are that dependent on public transportation.

That aside, I was in a city in Germany (Trier or Cologne, not sure which it was) that had a system where they had displays around time that indicated how many spaces were available in a number of downtown parkades.

Re:Municipalities already do (1)

redcaboodle (622288) | more than 2 years ago | (#37546892)

That aside, I was in a city in Germany (Trier or Cologne, not sure which it was) that had a system where they had displays around time that indicated how many spaces were available in a number of downtown parkades.

Cologne has had these for at least 25 years. By now every city has them. They simple count vehicles going in and out at the bar and compute the number of free spaces.

Spending 20 to save 10, my experience (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Spending 20 to save 10, my experience (1)

rayzat (733303) | more than 2 years ago | (#37546086)

This sounds so very IBM. How can I help you help me make money.

Re:Spending 20 to save 10, my experience (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37546764)

I think that this applies to many machines that replace human workers. You can employ a (reasonably) intelligent human for ~$30k/year. They are friendly, exercise judgement in exceptional cases, and generally work very well. A machine and the associated infrastructure cost several years wages each, and it's yet to be proven that there's any cost savings at all to be had in the long run. Not to mention that you are now left with the societal problem of figuring out how to retrain and employ the displaced workers. I don't buy arguments that technology companies aren't at all responsible for workers displaced by technology. Companies operate in the context of society. When companies make choices to increase their own profits at the expense of society, they can't simply shrug off their responsibility to the society that has allowed them to flourish.

Re:Spending 20 to save 10, my experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37548156)

Good point.

Re:Spending 20 to save 10, my experience (1)

rayzat (733303) | more than 2 years ago | (#37548264)

I've often wondered if it time we really need to start thinking about a shorter work week or more vacation time. For the longest time we always had a labor shortage, of varying degrees, where is we automated one job, there was another area that would sink those people, or a large chunk of them. Today, where are those people going to go? I read an article about a power company switching to smart meters that would automate meter reading and they were planning to lay off some 8000 meter readers. They're obviously not highly skilled workers, but they're also not no skill workers. I think it's one of the problems with this economic recovery and the past couple we're replacing lost jobs with increased efficiency and no organization is going to willingly become less efficient.

Re:Spending 20 to save 10, my experience (1)

Dr Max (1696200) | more than 2 years ago | (#37549162)

If it's so easy to hire an intelligent, friendly human who exercise good judgment why do we fill police stations with wankers. On a more serious note this is only the start of the robot revolution when the industrial revolution started people were saying the same thing, no machine can match an experienced trained craftsman, and I’m sure the first factories were plagued with problems. Also

they can't simply shrug off their responsibility to the society that has allowed them to flourish.

Wanna bet, apple was given all their first IP for free. Now how much ip have they given away to garage start ups? It's because companies are driven by profit not a need to support society, that's why they pay their taxes. Not all companies are ruthless but most of the biggest usually are, because that's how they became the big in the first place.

Re:Spending 20 to save 10, my experience (2)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37546904)

I think you hit at the problem exactly with the cycle of thinking on rates vs fines.

In the end, its just an extension of the failed attempts to control a problem of social attitudes and infrastructure investment, with the wrong tool for the job.

If there are so many cars, there should be places to park them. The answer is really to look into how you get people using other transportation OR provide ample parking. Seriously, its a failure to plan upfront. An understandable one but... that is what is really being addressed here. No amount of tweaking the system of fines and penalties is going to magically fix the parking issues.

 

Re:Spending 20 to save 10, my experience (1)

madajb (89253) | more than 2 years ago | (#37547694)

Our meters already do a spot empty check to clear existing funds out of the meter when someone leaves.

This is a serious dick move. Seriously. Just a dick move.

Re:Spending 20 to save 10, my experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37547980)

Worse than a dick move.

I was at the beach with my family,my wife pulled into a meter spot, I said I thought she should be a little more center, but the parking job was good enough. I get out and start feeding the meter, the price was like 3.75 minutes per quarter. I'm feeding in quarters my wife comes to the front and decided should should readjust. She backs the car out, meter resets to zero, and re-parks the car. I was ready to go Cool Hand Luke on that meter.

Re:Spending 20 to save 10, my experience (1)

jquirke (473496) | more than 2 years ago | (#37550816)

Our meters already do a spot empty check to clear existing funds out of the meter when someone leaves.

This is a serious dick move. Seriously. Just a dick move.

Agreed. The meter is paid, who cares who paid for it? Stop double dipping.

Though on the topic of dick moves, the US has it pretty easy. Look for these vermin (The Melbourne City Council) are up to:

http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/AboutCouncil/MediaReleases/Pages/NewparkingtechnologyforCityofMelbourne.aspx [vic.gov.au]

  In ground sensors - a device that records when a vehicle moves in and out of a parking bay. A five minute grace period will be built in and once a vehicle has overstayed the limit a signal will be sent to the nearest parking officer’s hand-held device. The in ground sensors will be progressively rolled out to 4,619 single marked bays across the CBD from 1 July to 30 October.

  Licence plate recognition systems – image processing technology used to identify a vehicle via its number plate in some residential areas. The system consists of a high speed digital camera, integrated GPS system and optical character recognition software. Two systems will be in operation in Flemington, Kensington, North Melbourne and Carlton. The license plate recognition technology will be on the road from 1 July.

Re:Spending 20 to save 10, my experience (1)

transami (202700) | more than 2 years ago | (#37553016)

Get rid of the meters, they deter business. Ask local business, which need parking, to take on a local 1% sales tax and use the money to improve the area including the addition of parking lots.

Re:Spending 20 to save 10, my experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37554678)

Get rid of the local sales tax, it deters business.

Irony... (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37546166)

Motorists looking for parking can take advantage of this data through a free Streetline free mobile phone application for the iPhone and Android. Called Parker, this app can alert users of nearby parking spaces. The cities can also expose the data for other third-party applications as well.

This system is being debuted in California for you to use your smartphone to check park spot availability which is also where it is illegal to use your smartphone while operating a moving vehicle.

This will also result in 'race conditions' whereby 50 people all get a text message saying "Parking spot available at 3270 Embarcadero by Pier 39" and all will race to get there.

Re:Irony... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#37546536)

This will also result in 'race conditions' whereby 50 people all get a text message saying "Parking spot available at 3270 Embarcadero by Pier 39" and all will race to get there.

Or I'll hack it and send messages to the effect that my block is full to keep 'my' space open.

Re:Irony... (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#37547154)

Ah, the 21st Century version of Chicago dibs chairs [straightdope.com] . I like it.

Automatic Parking Tickets coming soon! (1)

Lashat (1041424) | more than 2 years ago | (#37546288)

It says it all right there. The units will know they space is occupied and whether or not it has been paid for.
"You are in violation of Parking Enforcement Code #236. Tender payment immediately. You have 15 seconds to comply."

In related news....
Thank you for your service Meter Maid/Man. We now can collect revenue without the added overhead of ... you. You may now join the ranks of the jobless. Good Luck on your career transition. We are sure you will find another position that allows you to aggravate regular citizens as they attempt to go about their lives. We have automatically forwarded your resume to the TSA as part of your exit package.

Re:Automatic Parking Tickets coming soon! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37548020)

Or the DMV.

Bangalore? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37546310)

They seriously want to try this in Bangalore? Their traffic police are not in cars but on foot, ineffectively standing in little boxes in busy intersections, blowing inaudible whistles at unblinking drivers. They can't even make a dent in the number of people driving on the wrong side of the street, running red lights, bumping each other, not staying in their lanes, tailgating, driving recklessly, driving carelessly, driving drunk, failing to signal, sideswiping pedestrians, or any of a hundred other safety violations. Cars on their roads are so disorganized they barely qualify for the word "traffic". What the hell difference do they think parking meters will make?

How about a parking space auction? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37546320)

Two cars fighting for the same parking place? Hold an short instant auction; the highest bidder gets the space. Hey, think of it of a tax on people with too much money to spend on a good parking space. Maybe even offer B-Celebrity, A-Celebrity and VIP spots for folks who like to flaunt their wealth?

Oh, the poor? Well, I guess they'll just have to walk or take public transportation. Unfair? Yes, but it sort of fits into the way most societies work anyway.

"I'm a doctor, Jim, not a 'revenue-producing asset'!"

Fender Bender because of Smart Phone App (1)

Crock23A (1124275) | more than 2 years ago | (#37546428)

Driver 1 rear-ends Driver 2 because he was using his iPhone to find a parking spot.
Apps designed to be used behind the wheel shouldn't be made.

Re:Fender Bender because of Smart Phone App (1)

werfele (611119) | more than 2 years ago | (#37546708)

Apps designed to be used behind the wheel shouldn't be made.

I heard a SF official interviewed about this, and the official position is that the intention is that you would check overall parking availability before you leave wherever it is that you were.

Re:Fender Bender because of Smart Phone App (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37549466)

...and wire money via paypal to my personal parking spot holder while (s)he blocks the spot from anybody else while I drive across town? Nope. It's a corporate handout, nothing more.

Re:Fender Bender because of Smart Phone App (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#37547022)

I could see that happening in Austin, TX of all places. It's next to fucking impossible to find a parking spot anywhere. In fact, the city has grown in population beyond intended scope. Too crowded for the motorist, and to a lesser extent, cyclists too.

Fix the meters (1)

9jack9 (607686) | more than 2 years ago | (#37546462)

Here in DC they should start by fixing the meters.

Old technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37546584)

As has been used in Palmerston North , New Zealand for the last 12 months or so.

It'll never happen, but... (1)

Corant (1727632) | more than 2 years ago | (#37546670)

I could get behind this if, and only if, they released an app that you could use to 'top off' the meter if you were about to run out. Might want to cap the time you can stay in certain areas of course, but that would take it from the money grab it is into what I would consider something actually useful to the community.

Fooling with the system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37546760)

What does the software do when someone plugs the meter at an unused spot? Mark it as full? Take the money and re-zero the meter?

Mobile Phone App? (1)

erilane (787755) | more than 2 years ago | (#37546786)

I thought it was illegal to use your mobile phone while driving.

!Revenue Producing Asset (1)

Demonantis (1340557) | more than 2 years ago | (#37546928)

Parking meters are not suppose to be a source of income when they started. It has been twisted over the years. It was suppose to motivate people to use a limited resource(parking spots) as efficiently as possible. It motivates people to only use the space as long as they need it and not to just leave their car there. This idea has the same failings as red light cameras written all over it.

Can't solve the problem (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#37547118)

If there's more people who want spaces than there are spaces, an app which tells you what you already know isn't going to help. By the time it tells you about an available space, it will be gone, to the lucky driver who happened to be cruising by. Only ways to fix this problem are
1) raise parking rates through the roof, until demand drops enough for supply to exceed it.
2) Eliminate whatever it is that causes people to want to park there.
3) Add more parking spots (e.g. garages and lots)

Most city governments hate #3 on principle. And they reasonably believe #2 is stupid, unless whatever businesses are causing the interest are considered "bad" anyway. So that leaves #1. The new system will provide a wonderful excuse to raise rates.

Handicapped (1)

Taelron (1046946) | more than 2 years ago | (#37547174)

Vehicles equiped with Handicapped plates and placards are able to park in on the street metered parking without paying. There is nothing in this system as far as the RTFA states to take that into consideration.

Raising fees would also lead one to believe this system will be tied in with SFPD's parking enforcement officers letting them know where to go to write tickets. This system will have them driving to every handicapped vehicle in the city needlessly since they are parked in a metered space without paying.

How reliable is their analysis data if those factors are ignored?

Re:Handicapped (1)

number17 (952777) | more than 2 years ago | (#37549430)

In my city, the merc's and bmw's with handicap signs don't tend to park in legal parking spots. They park wherever they want.

Is that what it means? (1)

amightywind (691887) | more than 2 years ago | (#37547450)

Is that what it means to have a 'more intelligent planet', to game the nanny state? Glad I park my Tahoe in my 3 car garage.

Another reason to use public transportation (1)

foolish_to_be_here (802344) | more than 2 years ago | (#37547624)

Another reason to use public transportation when available. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. If it can be abused by vandals or the authorities it will,...in time.

Smart meters suck! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37550046)

I am disgusted by smart parking meters. If you plug the meter for 5 minutes but stay 10, there's a good chance in a busy place, that you get a ticket. Plug it for 1/2 hour and only stay 10 minutes, and you paid for 20 minutes for nothing. Oh well, at least the next person will get some free time (and if you are lucky, you can sometimes get free time too). BUT NOT ANYMORE! Smart metes are like auto flush toilets. You move away from them, and they automatically reset to zero! The city pockets the money (doesn't issue you a refund), and the next person has to pay from zero. This is a money grab, and I'm disgusted by it.

[ SOS ] Complaint with IBM China CSR on Centennial (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37550330)

[ Review ] How Much IBM Can Get Away with is the Responsibility of the Media
http://wp.me/p1hDC3-aL

IBM Advised to Treat its People with Humanism in China
http://wp.me/p1hDC3-aW

Tragedy of Labor Rights Repression in IBM China
http://wp.me/p1hDC3-92

Scandal stricken IBM detained mother of ex-employee on the day of centennial
http://wp.me/p1hDC3-8I

I thought parking meters were bad for business (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37552520)

I thought parking meters were bad for business - people don't want to pay, so instead of parking and shopping downtown, they drive out to the malls and Walmarts, Targets, KMarts etc.where parking is free. This leads to shops closing in the inner city.

Re:I thought parking meters were bad for business (1)

adeft (1805910) | more than 2 years ago | (#37552864)

Some stores have good enough beer and food to warrant me kicking a couple quarters in a parking meter. I can't think of any other thing I would pay a premium to have the privelage to buy. Anything that is a mass produced product (clothes, drumsets, notebooks) does not warrant a stop in a small town with parking meters.

Re:I thought parking meters were bad for business (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37554362)

If a pay parking lot is nearly full, then obviously the fee wasn't bad for business. On the other hand, a parking lot that's completely full is bad for business, even if the parking spaces are free.

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