Content references source material no longer available at its original location.
The capital cost to implement a smart parking system having two roadside DMS units, an integrated web-based reservation system, and IVR support was estimated at $205,000

Experience with smart parking in Oakland, California

Made Public Date

Summary Information

In December 2004, a smart parking system was implemented at the Rockridge Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station in Oakland, California. The overall goal was to improve parking and encouraged commuters to take transit instead of driving in congested traffic conditions.

The system used underground sensors to count vehicles entering and exiting the parking area’s reserve lot. The data collected were relayed to a central computer system where vehicle counts were processed and information on parking availability was posted on an Internet website and displayed on two portable dynamic message signs (DMS) located on Highway 24. Travelers were able to view the number of spaces available in real-time and decide to ride transit based on prevailing traffic conditions or make advanced reservations via the Internet.

A centralized intelligent reservation system permitted commuters to check parking availability and make reservations via telephone, mobile phone, Internet, or PDA. Travelers en-route who used mobile phones to reserve parking spaces were charged an extra $1.00 for the service while travelers who made advanced reservations using the Internet were charged an extra $4.50. To maximize participation in the smart parking test a single user was only allowed to make three parking reservations within a two week period. The service operated from 7:30 AM to 10:00 AM Monday through Friday.

The system was evaluated from December 2004 to April 2006. Fifty (50) of 920 total parking spaces were available for smart park testing. Fifteen (15) of the smart parking spaces were made available to travelers who made advanced reservations on the Internet and the remaining were made available to travelers who decided to smart park en-route.


The total capital cost of the BART smart parking system were in-line with estimates, however, researchers noted that the scale of the deployment would need to be much larger (greater than 50 spaces per station) if operations were expected to recover the system costs.

Capital Costs

  • Data collection and relay system equipment including six in-ground sensors, two local base units, and one master base unit: $58,900
  • Voice recognition system hardware and software: $20,000
  • Customized software for smart parking operations: $125,000

O&M Costs

  • DSL line connection between master base unit and the central computer system: $100 per month
  • Interactive voice response (IVR) system that can handle 25 calls at one time: $500 per month
  • Website through which users made on-line reservations: $1000 per month
  • Communications to the dynamic message signs via secure data center: $150 per month
  • Calls made to dynamic message signs during the morning commute hours to validate data: $80 per month
  • Senior executive with technical knowledge was required to manage the system and troubleshoot technical and managerial matters: $125 per hour
  • Engineer to assist the executive on technical issues and maintain the on-line reservation system: $60 per hour
  • Customer support technician: $35 per hour
System Cost

Detection, and data collection and relay component hardware: $58,900 Interactive voice recognition (IVR) system: $145,000 Communications: Website and secure database link: 1,230 per month