April 9, 2013Motorists Can Pay Remotely at 264 Parking Spaces Along 18 Blocks Near Arthur Avenue; No Coins, Credit Card Swipes or Receipts Needed
Online Map and Smartphone App Will Display Current Parking Availability in the Pilot Area, Efficiently Directing Drivers to Open Spaces
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced the start of two pilot programs allowing motorists to pay parking meter remotely via smartphone apps and to view real-time curbside parking availability within the Belmont Business Improvement District in the Bronx. The parking payment pilot allows motorists to pay for metered parking via a smartphone app, the internet or by telephone for 264 spaces along 18 block faces, as well as at the Department’s Belmont Municipal Parking Field. This system, the latest in a series of advances to improve the ease and efficiency of parking in New York City, comes with no additional fees for drivers or changes to parking rates, and allows motorists to forego credit card or coin payments at meters as well as the use of paper receipts. The technology also will warn motorists when their time is about to expire via e-mail or text messages, and allow them to pay for additional time easily and quickly, up to the posted time limit. Interested motorists can sign up for the service for free on the PayByPhone website and register their license plate numbers and credit card information on encrypted servers and download the PayByPhone app. The parking availability pilot, a partnership between the Department of Transportation and vendors Streetline, IPsens and Xerox, uses innovative sensors embedded in the roadway to produce a real-time parking availability map viewable on the internet, smartphones and tablet devices. After reviewing the map before starting their trips or working with a passenger, motorists can head directly toward blocks with available spaces, reducing the time needed to hunt for spaces and the associated congestion as drivers circle for parking. Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Sadik-Khan were accompanied at the Arthur Avenue announcement by Belmont Business Improvement District Chairman Frank Franz.
“Today, we’re launching a pilot pay-by-phone parking initiative along 18 metered blocks in the Arthur Avenue Business Improvement District as well as an online parking availability map for the area that motorists or passengers can see on the web and on their smartphones,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “These new initiatives are just the latest examples of our work to bring parking and driving in New York City into the 21st century.”
“Parking is easier and more convenient when you know where to look for a space, and when you can pay with a click instead of fumbling for change,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “Innovative technologies like these can help make one of the basic facts of city life a little easier while making our streets and commercial districts even more accessible.”
“Technology should help make our lives more convenient, and today’s initiatives do that by simplifying the process of finding and paying for metered parking spaces,” said Chief Information and Innovation Officer Rahul Merchant. “The pay-by-phone parking pilot and real-time parking represents cross-agency, cross-platform coordination at its best.”
“Using smartphone apps to simplify New York drivers’ daily lives is another step to New York City becoming the leading digital city,” said Rachel Haot, New York City’s Chief Digital Officer. “The City continues to champion the employment of new technology to make life easier for New Yorkers and this pilot pay-by-phone program will help to do that by transforming parking in New York City.”
After parking, motorists who participate in the PayByPhone pilot can then simply scan a QR code or use near field communication at Muni-Meters in the pilot area to load the PayByPhone app and pay for one or more fifteen-minute parking periods up to the maximum duration allowed under local parking regulations. Motorists without smartphones can pay from any touch-tone phone by dialing the toll-free number and entering the number of the nearest Muni Meter, which is clearly marked with a seven-digit identification number and visible from a distance, allowing motorists to pay without even approaching the meter. After payment, motorists will receive a confirmation via e-mail or text as well as warnings before purchased time expires, and they will be able to purchase additional time and extend their parking periods, making it easier for motorists to avoid parking tickets for expired time.
The app, payment processing and customer service will be provided by PayByPhone, the bidder chosen by the Department of Transportation following a 2011 request for proposals, and the service comes at no taxpayer cost. Pay-by-phone parking technology is expanding rapidly, and PayByPhone is an industry leader that has partnered with cities in the United States and around the world, including San Francisco, Miami, London and Vancouver. The company will also work with the New York Police Department, whose traffic enforcement agents will use handheld scanners to enter license plate numbers, which are instantly cross-checked against a list of all received payments on a given block three times prior to issuing a summons. In the event of a contested ticket, motorists will also be able to retrieve all proofs-of-payment from the iPhone, Android or Blackberry app or website and display receipts for the agent or as part of the ticket adjudication process. Users’ accounts will also retain the meter locations of recent purchases, making the payment process even quicker and easier the more motorists use the system. Additional information on PayByPhone and an instructional video outlining the payment process can be found at paybyphone.com.
The real-time parking map, now available on the Department of Transportation’s website and on Streetline’s Parker smartphone app later this spring, uses state-of-the-art sensors installed last year at no cost to the city in the roadbed along portions of Arthur Avenue and East 187th Street to detect the presence of a parked vehicle and wirelessly transmit data. The real-time map shows a color-coded display indicating the likelihood of finding parking on each block within the pilot area, which drivers can use to minimize the amount of time spent circling blocks and looking for an open spot. On these blocks, individual parking spaces will be marked in the roadway, increasing the accuracy of the sensors, though the map will not direct drivers to specific spaces within an individual block, given the high-parking demand in the area and the passage of time between checking the map and arriving at a destination. As this and the PayByPhone pilot continue, the Department will solicit feedback from users on how and when they use the services and how well the payment process and the parking map have worked for them, and will continue to work with vendors to refine both programs.
The pay-by-phone parking pilot and real-time parking map are the latest efforts to simplify parking and make better use of curbside space. The Department of Transportation has replaced single-space parking meters with Muni Meters citywide, introduced an online parking regulation map for motorists, and continues to analyze and update parking regulations on thousands of blocks across the five boroughs. With extensive community and merchant involvement, the agency is also expanding the Park Smart program to additional commercial districts, increasing parking turnover and making motorists’ search for parking spaces easier and less polluting. For more information on the City’s ongoing efforts, visit www.nyc.gov.
Marc La Vorgna/John J. McCarthy
Seth Solomonow/Nicholas Mosquera (DOT)