Press "Enter" to skip to content

Parking at UMBC should be fixed by new technology

Mobile apps would help students with finding parking spots around campus

Parking at UMBC is a chore, but recently introduced technology, including an app created by a UMBC graduate student have the potential to alleviate many problems associated with parking.

It isn’t a question that parking a car at UMBC is a hassle.  However, many colleges and cities across the country that face the same problem are taking steps to make parking easier with technology.

Parkmobile is only one of the many apps that can be used to make parking easier.  Rather than paying the meter for a specific amount of time and having to return to the meter to add more time on, Parkmobile allows users to simply pay for more time using their smartphones.

Testimonials from universities that have implemented Parkmobile on their campuses are glowing, emphasizing the increased convenience that this service brings to students and visitors.

But upon contacting UMBC parking services, they stated there is no intent to upgrade or change the way that students and visitors pay to park here at the University.  As of now, those needing to pay to park must go to a payment kiosk, pay for however long they plan on staying parked and return to add more time again if they end up staying any longer.

Jennifer Duvall, a freshman biochemistry major, said, “If I could use an app like Parkmobile to pay for parking at UMBC it would make things much easier.  Having to return to the meter each time I need to add additional time is a pain.”

Another option to make parking easier that has recently been initiated is known as smart parking.  Each parking spot in the “smart park” network is equipped with a sensor that is able to detect whether or not there is a vehicle occupying it.

These sensors are then able to transmit information on where spots are open to mobile applications that drivers have downloaded on their mobile devices. Smart parking is available in cities across the country.

This helps motorists more easily find parking spots and has the potential to significantly reduce congestion on city streets caused by people circling the block scouring the area for a spot to park their car.

Smart parking has other functions as well such as the ability to adjust parking rates based on factors such as the amount of traffic in that area – a method that is used to attract drivers to areas with empty spaces by lowering rates rather than areas that may be more congested.

But as stated above, smart parking is a relatively new technology that is still being tested in the form of pilot programs in many cities. This technology also carries a high price and students at UMBC will most likely not see this implemented any time soon.

A UMBC graduate student may have found an alternative solution to some of UMBC’s parking woes however.  Sai Kumar Popuri presented his app, SPOK – Spot n Park at the 2014 UMBC Idea Competition.

Popuri’s app works in cooperation with other users to provide information on where spots are available throughout campus. Users can indicate whether they have entered a spot or are leaving a spot indicating to those in need of parking that a spot has just become available.

Users of the app can also indicate whether or not certain lots around campus have available parking, another way to help those commuting to campus make sure they are able to get to their classes on time.

On this Duvall said, “I really like the idea of people coming together via a social app to help each other. It promotes a sense of community between students and helps users reach a common goal.”

UMBC is continuing to grow even larger as a community, and parking will continue to remain an issue on campus. However, the solution to parking woes for students may just lie in UMBC’s ability to implement a technological solution through an app to fix the parking problems students constantly run into.