SMART PARKING: Seattle eyeing 2,200 new smart parking meters in 2015

Network of meters will be able to change prices based on availability, send data to city officials

Transportation Management News KUOW November 11, 2014
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Searching the streets for a parking spot may become an infrequent pastime in downtown Seattle starting in 2015 if the city’s deployment of 2,200 smart parking meters works as planned.
 
The new meters, from the IPS Group, will all be connected over one cellular network, with the ability to record data about the number of spaces available. Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) officials will be able to monitor the network remotely and adjust pricing up or down based on availability. City council rules prohibit parking rates any higher than $4. Unlike the old meters, which had to be adjusted manually one at a time, the new meters can all be adjusted at once via the cellular network.
 
SDOT will review the stored data on an annual basis to help determine baseline parking rates for the following year. Critics argue the updates should be more frequent to better control supply and demand and achieve a sustained reduction in cruising traffic.
 
SDOT hopes to begin installing the new meters next January or February, with project completion slated for 2016. The new units will replace existing ones, which are roughly 10 years old and past their warranty, making ongoing maintenance cost-prohibitive.

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