A new Cambridge, Mass., company called SpotScout.com is planning to launch a service that would allow drivers to hunt for parking spaces using their cellphones, according to a story today in The Boston Globe.
For anyone who works in the South Lake Union neighborhood, like me, and moves his or her car every two hours to avoid getting a ticket, this has some definite potential. Especially because sometime early next year, the city will be installing meters here (last item), which will virtually eliminate the possibility of parking on the street.
The story says that to use the service, customers would punch in the address of a destination, along with the date and time they want to arrive. A map would pop up with a list of nearby available spots, showing the price of each and the time it would take to walk to the final destination.
The service will use information from local garages, which will list spaces they have empty at any given time, and posts from those who own spaces they don't use during vacations or work hours. Eventually, the founder said, the service will include postings from motorists who have parked at metered spaces and want to auction their departure time to the highest bidder. It could even incorporate private driveways, etc.
Of course, it would take a criticalmass for this to be successful, and all users must have Internet-ready phones. But with WiMax networks being built, making Internet access attainable on miniature devices everywhere, this is a concept that could take off. The builders of these networks are always saying that the applications for WiMax have not even been imagined yet. Perhaps this is one of them?
Unfortunately, it is only being tested in Boston, Cambridge, New York, and San Francisco. So no luck here, at least not for now.