Parking app helps drivers avoid getting tickets

There’s plenty of mobile apps out there that help drivers find parking, but we haven’t seen one that helps them dodge tickets. Until now…

Spot Agent is a parking app in Baltimore that uses real-time data from the city to calculate the risk of someone getting a ticket at any given location if they were to not put in any — or enough — money in the meter.

threat meter

Spot Agent’s threat meter

AOL programmer Shea Frederick co-created the tool after convincing the City of Baltimore to release citation data that includes the date, time and a rough address for every parking ticket handed out in the past year.

“And new tickets typically appear in the database within just a few hours of landing on a windshield,” explains the Atlantic Cities.

“Frederick used that data to calculate a threat score based upon the number of citations given out within 100 meters of [the user’s] location. Tickets written around the same time of day, on the same day of the week, push the score up higher,” the article continues.

So a user will know, for example, if meter maids are targeting parking spots in front of their favourite coffee shop during the morning rush.

Depending on the risk one is willing to take, drivers can use the app to avoid paying altogether, or they can use it how Frederick himself does.

“You know how it is when you go to a meter. You think ‘I’m going to be here an hour. Hopefully if I’m over 5-10 minutes that I’m not paying for, I can get away with,'” he tells Atlantic Cities. “But if it’s a red threat level, I’ll put in extra money.”

While only available in Baltimore, it wouldn’t be hard to introduce the app in other cities, it would just be a matter of convincing the municipal government to release the necessary data.

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