New Parking Meter Automatically Alerts Police When Time Expires

January 9, 2009

France (ChattahBox) – In an attempt to more efficiently hand out tickets, and utilize the time of meter maids, a new device that sends an alert directly to a local police station when cars have gone over their free parking limit have been installed in French parking meters.

The ‘smart meters’ use an magnetic field to track the mass of a vehicle, keeping track of the time each one spends within a free parking spot, which is limited to 20 minutes. Once that time has been exceeded, it sends a message to local police, who then pass the information to meter maids in the area, removing then need for them to waste their time walking up and down streets.

“The police can go and sit in a café if they like and just pop out when they get a message to say a car is parked illegally,” explained Claude Zandona, director of Technolia, the company that manufactures the devices.

“They have an 80 per cent chance of finding the car still there between 12 and 18 minutes after the limit, we have found. That’s why we warn them after 15 minutes.”

They are hoping to expand the system in the near future, to allow for text messages containing the fines for over extended parking time to be sent directly to the perpetrators cell phone, using a personal ID number that would be linked to the cell number.

“The meter would then send a text message to warn you five minutes before your time was up. You could buy more time through your phone if you wanted,” Zandona said. “But if you didn’t, you’d get another message to say you’d overstayed and been fined.”


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