SMART PARKING: Parking sensors in Walnut Creek, Calif., too sensitive

Malfunctions causing meters to reset, issue tickets for paid spaces

Transportation Management News Government Technology September 16, 2014
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Visitors to downtown Walnut Creek, Calif., have been getting parking tickets for expired meters when they have already paid in full. City officials say the sensitivity of the sensors connected to the meters was set too high and that they are already fixing the problem.

The new smart meters were introduced last year in Walnut Creek, along with new parking rates, to increase the availability of spaces in the downtown area. Wireless sensors are supposed to alert the meters when a car is in a space, and reset automatically when it leaves. City traffic engineers can monitor the network remotely and even send the information to the free ParkMe app.

But the city has received roughly 100 reports of tickets issued erroneously thanks to malfunctioning sensors over the last several months. Officials say the sensitivity of the wireless sensors was too high, which was causing the meters to be reset by passing trucks or even cars parking in other spaces.

The city is working with the meter manufacturer to adjust the settings and does not anticipate any future issues.

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