Parking Panda, a new service that allows drivers to list their empty spaces and others to rent them as needed, is looking to solve the problem of an ever-increasing shortage of parking spaces nationwide.
By compiling a network of unused parking spaces, Parking Panda provides drivers with a list of available spots, allowing them to reserve and pay online.
Anyone using the service can register an unused spot. Those looking for a parking spot at a particular time can log on and search available spaces, rent and pay online with a guaranteed empty spot. However, spots may not always be available as availability depends on how many people register empty spots and where and when they are accessible.
With over 800 million parking spots in the U.S. and only 255 million registered cars, there should be plenty of spaces per driver in the U.S. But for many drivers, stress over finding parking is a common American woe.
"A single space in a driveway or backyard is hardly worth marketing," Slate's Matthew Yglesias wrote, "but if an online service can drastically simplify the discovery process, then suddenly 'hidden' parking capacity can be unlocked."
“We all use parking lots, and we all kind of hate them,” Eran Ben-Joseph, a professor of landscape architecture and urban design at MIT, said in the school's newsletter.
Ben-Joseph explained that parking spaces are part of everyday life that people have to deal with. He continued, "There are cultural and psychological issues around parking lots, and a lot of anxiety about how people behave and drive in them.”
Sharing parking spaces, like sharing cars or renting out an unused apartment may be the latest trend in using technology to provide supply where demand is high and maybe even lessen the burden of driving.
In Indianapolis, lawmakers partnered with ParkIndy to change metered parking to credit card literate devices along with apps that can allow drivers to extend their time, pay for parking, and even locate open spots.
Cities are also looking into smart maps that use sensors to show open parking spots and availabilities, and combined with services like Parking Panda, could serve to reduce some of that parking stress.