Mobile apps transforming the future of parking

Mem Meters

(CNN) — An era of fumbling for spare change and driving in circles in search for a parking space may be coming to a close.

Drivers across the nation and around the world are turning to mobile apps, websites and other forms of technology to both find and pay for parking with greater efficiency. At the same time, major U.S. cities and a new wave of startups are working to simplify the parking process, perhaps marking a revolution in the parking industry, experts say.

Eric Meyer, 24, lives in the Baltimore neighborhood of Canton and knows firsthand about the frustrations of parking in a busy city. A former employee at Phillips Seafood, Meyer found himself driving in circles every time he headed home from work.

“Anyone who has lived in Canton or Federal Hill or a lot of these densely populated neighborhoods knows that searching for spots can be like looking for a needle in a haystack,” Meyer said.

So Meyer quit his job and founded the app Haystack, which allows a user who has a parking spot in the Baltimore area to offer it up for a price, usually around $3. A driver who needs a space pays and then takes the spot to complete the exchange.

Cities across the U.S. are turning to similar innovative parking technologies. Just this month, Boston’s Transportation Department announced plans to develop an app, expected to launch in the fall, letting residents pay for parking straight from their smartphones. The city of Evanston, Illinois, recently initiated a similar pilot program.

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