On some days, you might have more success finding buried pirate treasure than a parking spot in downtown Austin. Enter: iPhones.
ParkMe, a California-based company founded in 2009, uses data from Austin's "smart" parking meters to update parking availability every five minutes on a free iOS app. You can also access the information on this website. Currently, information is only provided for downtown and the University of Texas area.
"With its constant stream of visitors and students, we believe Austin is the perfect location to launch our real-time parking information," Sam Friedman, CEO of ParkMe, said in a press release. "Using data from the City of Austin, we're thrilled to be able to provide Austinites with an unprecedented ability to identify the best on-street parking in real time."
The application doesn’t update information on a space by space basis, nor does it allow you to purchase or reserve spaces. Rather, it makes suggestions based on parking prices and the availability of parking on a given block using a color-coded system. Red means difficult, yellow means medium, and green means easy.
This parking information became available for use when the city of Austin contracted with Parkeon, a parking and transit solutions company, to replace its 3,800 single-space meters.
Austin’s Transportation Department spokesperson Leah Fillion says ParkMe contacted Parkeon directly and requested the data, and because it is public information, Parkeon agreed to provide it to them.
"We've had requests for that and we're trying to find better ways to get that data on our city website,” she said.