Boston invests in technology to ease parking

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The city of Boston has made two recent investments in technology to help drivers pay for parking in the city’s notoriously crowded streets and pay for any parking tickets they might incur.

Last week, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced that the city created a new mobile application that lets drivers in Boston pay for parking, receive reminders before time expires and extend their time from their phone.

Technology like this has been used in cities across the country with the goal of creating an easier way for people to pay parking meters without having to carry change or risk not returning to a meter before it runs out.

“The ParkBoston app is one more way that we are using technology to make transportation easier and more convenient for people in Boston,” Walsh said in a statement. “Nobody likes digging around for quarters or getting a ticket for an expired meter.  This innovation eases the frustration involved with parking and allows for future enhancements to the city’s parking system.”

When using the app, the meter will not change to reflect a driver’s paid time, but Boston’s parking enforcement officers will see the payment on their handheld computers.

To determine whether a driver paid using ParkBoston, the parking enforcement officers will enter the license plate number into their handheld devices. While the app will let drivers pay for parking, it is still up to them to read the surrounding signs to see what restrictions — such as street cleanings or residential parking — that could result in a ticket.

To use the app, driver put in a parking space number located on the meter into the app along with their license plate number and the length of time they want to park. The app charges an additional 15 cents convenience fee for use.

The city also announced that in addition to the parking app, it has extended its partnership with TicketZen. Late last year, the city undertook a 3-month trial with the company that provides a mobile app that allows citizens to pay for parking tickets on their mobile phones. The new agreement will extend for one year.

During the pilot phase, more than 5,000 people used the app to pay more than 7,000 tickets totaling $250,000.

“BTD’s Office of the Parking Clerk accepts parking ticket payments by mail, by phone and by web.  We are pleased to partner with TicketZen, Inc., to further improve customer service by providing yet another option for making the task of paying a parking ticket as convenient for Boston drivers as possible,” Boston Transportation Department Commissioner James E. Gillooly said in a statement.

The belief is that by making tickets easier to pay, the city would collect more revenue in a timely manner and spend less time trying to collect money for unpaid tickets from residents.

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Geospatial Information Systems (GIS), Innovation, Massachusetts, Mobility, State & Local News, States, Tech News
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