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In order to determine the right price to charge for parking to meet the parking space availability targets, SFpark employed wireless sensors to detect parking space occupancy in metered spaces. The wireless parking sensors detected parking availability in real time. These parking sensors were installed in 8,200 on-street spaces in the pilot areas. In addition to pilot areas, sensors were also placed in three control neighborhoods to provide baseline data for evaluation purposes.

On- and off-street parking data

SFpark used these sensors to conduct demand responsive pricing and also to direct drivers towards available parking by sending real-time availability to mobile apps and to the website. At each parking garage, entrance and exit gates tracked the total number of cars in the garage. Together, this information allowed parking managers to see where and when parking is generally available or hard to find and enabled demand-responsive pricing.

Now that the pilot phase of SFpark is complete the sensors are no longer active and the data feed that included the real time availability has changed. Parking pricing and regulation information is available for all pilot areas and garage availability and pricing information in real-time continues to be available online and in the mobile app.

Sensors were an integral part of making SFpark possible and their role will be evaluated, along with the rest of the projects components, in the pilot evaluation report due out in Spring 2014. The SFTMA will continue to monitor the emerging sensor technology industry to determine if sensors will play a future role in parking management in San Francisco.

Sensor locations
(click map for high-resolution pdf)

map of SFpark sensors in place, summer 2012