Money To Live

August 3, 2008

An easier way to parallel park

Filed under: Uncategorized — by moneytolive @ 5:00 am

smart card

Getting into the spot is only half the battle. Then you have to dig through your pocket or car to find six quarters to keep your car from getting a ticket in the next hour and a half.

Some cities and towns are using a new technology, the smart card, that makes paying for parking easy (and cheaper for you). Smart cards look like a credit card (mine is a little thicker) and contain an embedded integrated circuit that stores information.

A smart card can be inserted into a parking meter, depositing an amount that you specify. When you return to your car, re-insert the smart card to collect the remaining balance. The leftover minutes on the meter are converted to dollars and cents and put back on the card.

The Smart Card Alliance says these cites use smart card-based parking programs:

Albany, NY; Arlington, VA; Clemson, SC; Coral Gables, FL; Denver, CO; Miami, FL; Miami Beach, FL; Minneapolis, MN; Naperville, IL; New Haven, CT; New York, NY; Orlando, FL; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Portland, OR; Princeton, NJ; Providence, RI; Sacramento, CA; San Diego, CA; San Francisco, CA; San Jose, CA; Santa Cruz, CA; Santa Monica, CA.

I am a big fan of the smart card in Princeton, NJ for parking because it saves time looking for coins and saves money by refunding my unused minutes. If you are local, you can get a smart card from a machine in the new parking garage by the library.

Anybody tried getting and using a smart card in another city?



  1. I’ve been reading along for a while now. I just wanted to drop you a comment to say keep up the good work.

    Comment by Aaron Wakling — August 3, 2008 @ 11:15 am |Reply

  2. This is, of course, an obvious way to do metered parking. Can a single Smart Card be used in more than one city? And wouldn’t it be nice (and, um, smart) to have a single “Smart” account that connected all transportation-related expenses, like EasyPass, Trains, and Subways? The day New York City Metrocards could be used for PATH fares was a revelation.

    Comment by RM — August 4, 2008 @ 9:09 am |Reply

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