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Parking Technology

On a trip last week, I parked at BWI, Baltimore’s airport. New technology tells you how many parking spaces are available on each floor. Very cool. So I head for the floor with lots of spaces, figuring I’ll save time that way. But that’s only the beginning. At each lane is an indicator that tells you whether there are empty spots in that lane and how many. Wonderful. Glorious. So instead of wandering aimlessly through the packed garage in hopes of finding the one empty space, you know exactly where to go.

How does the garage know? Over each space is a sensor. When a car leaves a space, the light over the space turns from red to green and the lane indicator changes its count of how many spaces are available. So how does the sensor know whether the car is there? I don’t know but my guess is it’s the same technology that automatically flushes the toilets in public restrooms.

I wonder why the parking garage goes to the expense of making parking more convenient? Is it part of BWi’s strategy given competition from other Washington airports? Was the contractor forced to include it in the bid? Sure is lovely.


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