Science Magazine

Crowdsourced Parking

Posted on the 20 September 2012 by Ningauble @AliAksoz

If you’ve ever driven around a city desperately in search of a parking spot, here’s what you needed. A new system aims to allow drivers to buy and sell information about free spots. The software, called TruCentive, is effectively a market for parking spaces, also called parking availability data. Other programs, like PrimoSpot and Google’s Open Spot, have relied on good samaritans to broadcast their parking activity with no incentive. Where TruCentive rewards users with system credits that can later be used to buy information on parking spots in return.

Because TruCentive uses human element for the parking systems they suffer from low user participation, which in turn lowers the quality of their data on which parking spots are open at any given time. To motivate users to participate, TruCentive graded the value of parking data according to demand, so information about a spot in downtown New York City during rush hour earns a higher reward than information from the suburbs on a Sunday afternoon. Users also get a bonus if their parking information allows someone else in the system to park successfully. This bonus can be controlled by the service provider, encouraging more users to try to resell their parking space by raising the amount, for instance.

TruCentive also used Facebook credits as an example of the kind of token that could be used. These are online credits which can be bought with real money, then used to pay for services on Facebook.


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