Time's Up for Parking Meters

75 years after the first meter was installed in Oklahoma City, cities are beginning to rethink traditional parking regulation strategies. Tom Vanderbilt considers the options.
October 21, 2010, 5am PDT | Lynn Vande Stouwe
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Cities are notoriously incompetent when it comes to extracting money from their parking meters, as demonstrated by Donald Shoup and others, says Vanderbilt. In recent years, many have turned to public-private partnerships to regulate meters like Chicago, which sold 75-year rights to their meters to Morgan Stanley in 2008. However, such strategies are a missed opportunity to capture revenue for transportation improvements, says Vanderbilt. Instead, cities should focus on using new technologies to simplify payment and collection of parking fees.

Vanderbilt writes:

'Parking meters, a seemingly mundane fact of the urban landscape, remain as fraught and controversial as when they were first installed...the time has finally come for a sweeping rethink of the parking meter-in part because of changes in technology, and in part because of an emerging change in the way we think about parking in cities.'

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Published on Tuesday, October 19, 2010 in Slate
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