GOOD

App Marks the Spot: How We Designed Tech to Find Open Parking

The Parker app by Streetline uses special sensors in the street to help drivers find available parking spots.

\n

\n
Parking is one of the great unsolved urban challenges. On average, it takes nearly 20 minutes for drivers to find parking, according to a 2011 IBM study in 20 major international cities. Some cities estimate that upwards of 30 to 45 percent of their traffic is caused by motorists searching for a parking spot. This leads to frustration—when you're going to the movies or out to dinner, parking can often be the step that stands in your way—and to bigger societal problems like to increased congestion and carbon output.
This was our inspiration for Parker by Streetline. Our app lets drivers stop relying on luck by showing real-time parking availability. Our ultra-low power sensors, embedded in the street, detect the presence of a vehicle, and relay that information to the app.
\n


\n
With Parker, our goal was to go beyond just helping drivers locate a parking space; we want them to find the right space. Parker lets users search by parking type—metered space, garage/lot, ADA accessible, or electric vehicle charging stations. The app also lets motorists filter spots by price and proximity to their current location.
Streetline has followed a few key design principles in building the current and future versions of the app. First, we’ve aimed to create a clean and simple interface. Since its creation, we’ve kept in mind that many of our users would be accessing Parker via a mobile device while driving. We built Parker with an intuitive interface so drivers could place their phone in a dash mount and access the app safely, much like drivers use GPS systems today. We’ve integrated a hands-free function that provides an audible queue when parking is nearby.
We limited parking results—on-street and off-street—to no more than 10 to 20 so that users aren’t overwhelmed by data and can focus their attention on driving. We also used color and contrast to help make the layout and buttons easy to use.
While designing the app, we tried to focus on the things that matter most to the user. Because parking availability changes very quickly and drivers don’t want to show up at a space that’s no longer available, our first priority is to provide accurate and reliable real-time data to drivers at all times. Secondary features in Parker, like setting a timer, locating your parked car, or online payment, are only viewable once the vehicle is parked.
Good design goes beyond the aesthetics and design principles. We’re also working to continually improve the app by paying close attention to what our users are saying, both through user feedback and by analyzing usage patterns.
Right now, Parker is available in over 30 cities in the United States and Europe. Static parking data—meaning locations, policy, price, and hours—can easily be added to Parker via Streetline’s publishing platform. Real-time data locations can also be added by cities and other entities by implementing sensors, gate counters, or loops, which all can integrate with Parker and push this data to end users. Streetline is also in discussions with several car manufacturers to get Parker data into in-car navigation systems.
Zia Yusuf is Streetline's President and CEO, and Raoul Kahn is Senior Product Manager of Parker.
Images courtesy of Streetline.
Articles
Photo by Josh Couch on Unsplash

Christopher Columbus, Alexander Hamilton, William Shakespeare, and Sir Walter Scott are getting company. Statues of the famous men are scattered across Central Park in New York City, along with 19 others. But they'll finally be joined by a few women.

Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sojourner Truth are the subjects of a new statue that will be on display along The Mall, a walkway that runs through the park from 66th to 72nd street. It will be dedicated in August of next year, which is fittingly the 100-year anniversary of the 19th Amendment that granted women the right to vote.

Currently, just 3% of statues in New York City are dedicated to women. Out of 150 statues of historical figures across the city, only five statues are of historical women, including Joan of Arc, Golda Meir, Gertrude Stein, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Harriet Tubman.

Keep Reading Show less
promo-homepage

It's easy to become calloused to everyday headlines with messages like, "the world is ending" and "everything is going extinct." They're so prevalent, in fact, that the severity of these statements has completely diminished to the point that no one pays them any attention. This environmental negativity (coined "eco-phobia") has led us to believe that all hope is lost for wildlife. But luckily, that isn't the case.

Historically, we have waited until something is near the complete point of collapse, then fought and clawed to bring the species numbers back up. But oftentimes we wait so long that it's too late. Creatures vanish from the Earth altogether. They go extinct. And even though I don't think for a single second that we should downplay the severity of extinction, if we can flip this on its head and show that every once in a while a species we have given up on is actually still out there, hanging on by a thread against all odds, that is a story that deserves to be told. A tragic story of loss becomes one about an animal that deserves a shot at preservation and a message of hope the world deserves to hear.

As a wildlife biologist and tracker who has dedicated his life to the pursuit of animals I believe have been wrongfully deemed extinct, I spend most of my time in super remote corners of the Earth, hoping to find some shred of evidence that these incredible creatures are still out there. And to be frank, I'm pretty damn good at it!

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet

For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
NHM Vienna/Hans Reschreiter

Wealth inequality has been a hot topic of discussion as of late, but it's something that's occurred all throughout history. Class structure is a complicated issue, especially when you consider that haves and have nots have been in existence for over 4,000 years.

A study published in Science took a look at over 100 late Neolithic and early Bronze Age skeletons found in a burial site in southern Germany. The study "shed light on the complexity of social status, inheritance rules, and mobility during the Bronze Age." Partly by looking at their teeth and the artifacts they were buried with, researchers were able to discover that wealth inequality existed almost 4,000 years ago. "Our results reveal that individual households lasting several generations consisted of a high-status core family and unrelated low-status individuals, a social organization accompanied by patrilocality and female exogamy, and the stability of this system over 700 years," the study said.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture
via Truthout.org / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics