Transport Theory

Would you pay for a good parking spot?

Posting in Cities

A new web application allows parked drivers to auction off their parking spaces to others searching for an open spot.

You're running late. It's raining buckets. You've circled the block eight times hoping that someone will leave because you refuse to park five blocks away and ruin your new leather shoes. At this point, you'd actually pay someone to give you their spot.

There's an app for that.

Parking Auction, a New York City-based start-up, has developed a mobile web application that allows drivers who are leaving a parking space to connect with those looking for a spot in a particular area - for a price.

Drivers who will shortly be vacating a parking spot may post their car's location and estimated time of departure, and drivers searching for a spot can use 'parking credits' to find out if a space is opening up near their location. Parking Auction founder Brian Rosetti believes drivers would pay anywhere from $3 to $20 for this information.

"The ideal scenario is: You know you're leaving in five to 10 minutes," Rosetti said. "You set your price. If anyone bids on your spot, you get a text message."

According to a study of 15 blocks on Manhattan's Upper West Side, people drove 366,000 miles in a year searching for a parking spot. According to Parking Auction, 45% of traffic in Park Slope, Brooklyn, is generated by drivers trying to find parking spaces.

While the parking spot itself is not for sale, the Parking Auction system allows the driver 'selling' his location and departure information to see how far away the incoming driver is, timing his or her departure accordingly. The buyer and seller each confirms that the transfer of parking space has occurred, and each rates the other.

If, for instance, the parked driver leaves before the other arrives, he or she will lose the sale of that information. If the incoming parker finds alternate parking and never shows up, he or she would in turn receive a low rating, which would affect future exchanges.

Parking Auction, which officially launched in beta testing earlier this month, is currently available as a mobile web application, but iPhone and Android apps are in development.

What do you think? How much would you pay to know about a parking spot, saving you endless circles around the block?

Photo: Parking Auction

via [Wired, FastCompany]

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Channtal Fleischfresser

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Channtal Fleischfresser has worked for The Economist, WNET/Channel 13, Al Jazeera English, Wall Street Journal and Associated Press. She holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure