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Smart meters to alert cops of parking violations

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Some city officials plan to swiftly implement new technologies that will help law enforcement crack down on unlawful parking.

I'm sure more than a few of us have been, on occasion, and for whatever reason, unable to move a parked car before the meter expired.

But if you're in Melbourne, Australia you probably wouldn't want to chance it. That's because city officials plan to swiftly implement new technologies that will help officers crack down on unlawful parking.

In July, city workers will begin installing in-ground sensors that alerts the local parking authorities whenever it detects that a car has remained parked five minutes beyond the metered time. The sensors are expected to earn the city an extra $11.82 million after four years, according to Australian newspaper The Age.

The paper reported that a detailed, written recommendation of the technology to the city council was classified as confidential.

City officials will also start equipping parking enforcement vehicles with "license plate recognition technology" that consists of a high speed digital camera, integrated GPS system and optical character recognition software to identify cars that stay parked beyond a certain allowable time frame in residential areas. During patrol, the system records a vehicles license plate number and uses it to detect if the vehicle was later found to be in violation.

There hasn't been any word on whether any cities in the U.S. are considering upgrading to a similar technology. So far, in-ground sensors have only been used in a few cities like Los Angeles to notify drivers when and where a street parking spot becomes available. But imagine just much easier it would be for everybody to find parking if designated parking areas were retrofitted with both technologies. Now there's a thought.

(via City of Melbourne, Australia)

Photo: City of Newport, Rhode Island

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Tuan Nguyen

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Tuan C. Nguyen is a freelance science journalist based in New York City. He has written for the U.S. News and World Report, Fox News, MSNBC, ABC News, AOL, Yahoo! News and LiveScience. Formerly, he was reporter and producer for the technology section of ABCNews.com. He holds degrees from the University of California Los Angeles and the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure