PayByPhone parking app hits Boston

| June 30, 2015
PayByPhone parking app

A screenshot of PayByPhone’s parking app.

Parking meters throughout the U.S. are disappearing, one app at a time. As we’ve reported before, regional parking apps are popping up that allow drivers to pay for parking in garages, and on the street, via the convenience of their smartphones. Collaborations between local government, such as Parkmobile, which is available throughout the country, make single-spot parking easier while the PayByPhone app, which lets users pay for tolls and parking fees, holds a particularly techie-friendly distinction: it’s one of a handful of apps currently used with the Apple Watch. While the apps are convenient, and, at present, useful locally, bigger change in the urban landscape is set to unfold thanks to a recently reported venture from Google.

PayByPhone’s reach

PayByPhone — a parking app already available in Galveston, Ft. Lauderdale, the Bronx, and a number of other cities, counts among its proponents the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), which will remove its “honor box” cash payment system next month as a result of 70 percent of the city’s drivers moving over to the app system. (“MBTA is an excellent example of a North American city that’s now riding a megatrend by enhancing its urban mobility programs through innovation,” Kush Parikh, president of the app company said in a statement. “The good news for global consumers is that the possibilities for a more connected city don’t end here, as PayByPhone continues to introduce innovative solutions to alleviate one of the daily hassles of modern life – parking.”)

The PayByPhone app is also in use in Paris, which launched its personalized parking system in May that uses license plate-recognition to provide accurate parking rates; as well as in use in Southwark, an area of London. But it’s hardly the only option. Take MobileNOW!, which bills itself as the world’s first parking payment solution, and is now available in 50-plus locations throughout the U.S.

Google’s Sidewalk Labs

Apps like these are a small part of an urban landscape being transformed, block by block, by technology, but greater change is coming due to internet giant Google. Earlier this month, Google launched Sidewalk Labs, a decidedly more offline urban-planning startup that will both invest in and invent urban-focused technology to as the New York Times reports, “cut pollution, curb energy use, streamline transportation and reduce the cost of city living.”

While Sidewalk Labs hasn’t yet revealed its plans for potential policies, apps, or its take on parking, Dan Doctoroff, CEO of the startup, did explain the impact of technology on how we live, work, and, implicitly, walk and drive: “We are at the beginning of a historic transformation in cities. At a time when the concerns about urban equity, costs, health and the environment are intensifying, unprecedented technological change is going to enable cities to be more efficient, responsive, flexible and resilient. We hope that Sidewalk will play a major role in developing technology products, platforms and advanced infrastructure that can be implemented at scale in cities around the world.”

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Category: Parking Tech

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