SMART PARKING: Sacramento switching to smartphones for parking payment

App-based metering will allow city to try progressive payment, other innovations

January 26, 2015

New smart parking meters coming to the streets of Sacramento, Calif., will allow drivers to pay for their spots via smartphone. Deployment has already begun in Old Sacramento, according to Government Technology, and will expand into downtown and midtown through the month of February.
The upgrade comes thanks to a partnership between the Sacramento Department of Public Works and technology company Parkmobile. Drivers will have to download the Parkmobile app to use the system, creating an account with their license plate and credit card number. When the user parks in a spot with a designated Parkmobile meter, they enter zone and location information into the app to start the meter. As the expiration time approaches, the app will send users a text reminder with the option to add more time. A $.35 convenience fee is added to each transaction.
Those not wishing to pay electronically will still be able to use coins; a local number will be provided to call and claim the parking space.
The Parkmobile system offers several advantages from the city’s perspective, such as the ability to introduce a progressive payment system while eliminating time zones. If the city ever decides to change vendors, it will be able to keep the same basic architecture to govern the new vendor’s system.