Monday, October 18, 2010

The Parking Space that Finds You

A nifty piece of French technology will bring joy to the heart of any driver who has ever spent hours looking for a parking space: The city of Toulouse is testing a system that displays available spots on your mobile phone. The authorities also know if you have fed the parking meter or not. It is 10 in the morning on the Boulevard Lascrosses, near the historic city center of the French city of Toulouse. Behind the metro station, people are casually strolling in the direction of the pedestrian zone, but on the four-lane street, the morning traffic is bumper to bumper. Aggravated drivers honk their horns, and exhaust fumes fill the air. "The daily anarchy," growls Alexandre Marciel, pushing his fists into his pockets. "The existing parking spaces are already occupied by long-term parkers who hog the places, and the drivers coming from outside are hunting for spots." That should soon change, however. Marciel, who is the 37-year-old deputy mayor of Toulouse, has been responsible for traffic and sanitation for the past two years. Now he wants to start guiding drivers to available parking spaces with an ingenious new system. Spiegel Online International explains more about this useful aid.