Byproducts of Urban Infrastructure Interfaces: Evidence from Parking Compliance

author: Hyun Ah Song, Machine Learning Department, Carnegie Mellon University
published: Oct. 25, 2016,   recorded: August 2016,   views: 1145

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The increased levels of urbanization have resulted in the demand for developing urban technologies that can realize the vision of smart cities, i.e., urban environments that are sustainable, livable and resilient. Electromechanical infrastructure is substituted by intelligent, cyber-physical infrastructure (e.g., coin-based ticket fare collectors are substituted by smart cards) in an effort to both reduce costs, increase efficiency as well as improve the user-friendliness of the system. Significant efforts and resources have been allocated in the area of public transportation, including the modernization of subway and bus networks. However, one of the most-discussed aspects of public transportation in our automobile-dominated cities is that of parking infrastructure. While research has concluded that appropriate pricing of metered parking zones is essential to allow local businesses to flourish and even reduce congestion, there is still a lot of hesitance on implementing the appropriate policies. Hence, parking zones are still significantly underpriced. The problem is further pronounced by poor enforcement. However, during the last years most of the coin-based parking meters are being substituted by “smart” meters that accept various types of payments (e.g., credit cards, mobile etc.). While these meters have been installed to mainly make parking payments more convenient to drivers, they appear to have important indirect benefits. In particular, in this study we use quasi-experimental techniques to analyze parking citation information from the city of Pittsburgh and we find that the installation of the new parking meters leads to increased compliance with parking rules. This can further have significant implication for the design of the urban infrastructure interfaces of the upcoming smart technology.

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