Dynamically Pricing Parking, Or The Goldilocks Principle

Will new curbside sensor technology make it possible to price parking spaces based on demand and usage?
August 22, 2005, 9am PDT | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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"Streetline hopes to install thousands of sensors along city streets and use the information they gather to adjust parking meter rates in a way that makes street parking easy to find -- for those willing to pay.

'These little sensors -- which are a lot like the Botts Dots that mark traffic lanes, or it looks a bit like that -- they're very nondescript. They're every 10 feet, close to the curb, in a very nondescript way,' Elizabeth said of Streetline, noting that the company will soon announce a pilot project for a Bay Area organization. 'They turn on and gather information -- very simple information. It's a tool for traffic engineers to manage city streets.'

'I call it the Goldilocks Principle,' said Donald Shoup, professor of urban planning at UCLA and America's main academic guru in the field. 'Listening to the Goldilocks story, children learn that the porridge shouldn't be too hot or too cold. With parking spaces, prices shouldn't be too low or too high. If there are a few vacant spaces, the price is just right.' "

Thanks to Chris Steins

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Published on Wednesday, August 17, 2005 in San Francisco Weekly
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