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Solar-powered Single Space Parking Meters

Solar-powered single space double-headed parking meters

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is making progress this week on its effort to improve the District’s parking meter inventory. Crews have begun installing 1150 new solar-powered, single-space meters that accept credit cards as well as coins.

“This is a next step towards a complete revamp of our parking system over the next 12 months,” said DDOT Director Gabe Klein. “The new meters are also a piece of a comprehensive Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) architecture that that will tie together all of our assets with adaptive controls that change dynamically, and provide real time information to the public, and DDOT. From our signal system, to the Circulator Bus, to the parking system, all proactively communicating. Did we mention no more quarters?”

The meters are the first in a number of parking programs that DDOT will be rolling out over the next few months to provide more efficient and convenient parking systems for residents and visitors to the city. DDOT has been running a number of different pilots to test the latest technology throughout the year beginning in January 2011, including Pay by Phone, in-car metering, and occupancy sensors. The solar-powered, single-space, credit card accepting meter was the first of the parking pilots. DDOT is scheduled to roll out citywide the in-car metering system as well as the Pay by Cell program in the near future.

The new single-space meters are scheduled to be installed in a number of areas in northwest and southwest DC. DDOT determined the locations for the new meters based on the following criteria:

  • High demand/revenue and turnover
  • $2/hour rate
  • Locations with aging meter stock

Installation of the new meter is simple and efficient taking just a few minutes for the conversion. The head and mechanism are removed from the old meter and the new credit card accepting mechanism and new head are put in place. The machines accept Visa or Master Card, credit or debit as well as coins including dollars, quarters, dimes and nickels. In addition, the “smart” meters alert DDOT and the contractor via text message or e-mail if the meter is malfunctioning.

For coin operation simply insert coins like any ordinary meter.

For credit card operation the steps are easy:

  • Insert and then remove credit card
  • Choose the amount of time requested by using the blue buttons
  • Confirm acceptance or cancel
  • Wait for verification
  • Walk away

DDOT is confident many of these new parking meter solutions will provide:

  • better return on tax payer’s investment.
  • a variety of options.
  • reduced maintenance.
  • a variety of easy payment options.
  • increased reliability.

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