UO to plan parking smart phone app

It is about to get harder to find parking spaces on campus, but the University of Oregon hopes it will be easier to pay for one when students come back this fall.

With the construction of the new residence hall behind the Global Scholars Hall underway this July, one of the biggest parking lots for students on campus will lose most of its parking spaces, UO Department of Parking and Transportation Director Gwen Bolden said. In addition, many parking meters on campus are outdated and “expensive to replace,” especially if they are to be pulled out for construction in the near future.

The UO is planning to replace 180 parking spaces, but the plan has not yet been finalized.

The idea of a parking smart phone app was born to not only help the university solve this problem, but to enhance the innovative technology on campus for students and faculty, and help the department generate reports for future planning, Bolden said.

“We want to provide students and visitors with a better service without having to buy all new equipment,” Bolden said.

The app will target those who cannot obtain parking passes and must use pay-to-park spots on campus instead. The goal of the app will be to achieve an easy, convenient and educational way to pay for parking fees on spots with parking meters, according to Bolden.

When the app is launched this fall, the department will have a campus-wide open demonstration, Bolden said.

Students can download the app onto smartphones that run on the iOS or Android system. Through the app, students can enter their parking spot number, pay a fee with a credit or debit card and continue on their way. Fifteen minutes before the parking time is up, the app will send a text message to alert drivers. They then can choose to pay directly through the application if needed. The application also gives students the option of going onto its website with a computer or calling in to pay for a parking fee.

Bolden said there is potential for an additional fee to be added to the parking fee when paid through the app, but the university “could possibly eat that cost” to bring the new technology to campus.

UO student Sixuan Huang thought the application would benefit students more than visitors. She didn’t have a parking pass to park on campus, but she still drives to school occasionally.

“I don’t think the app is practical for visitors — they don’t park here everyday. It’s just not very logical to me,” Huang said. “But I can see myself downloading the application. It sounds very convenient.”

UO student Li Yi said the app will help students and faculty save time and effort.

“Finally I can leave the bags of quarters at home,” Yi said. “And hopefully no more parking citations for (being) a couple minutes late.”

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Tran Nguyen

Tran Nguyen

Crime and Court senior reporter, specializing in sorting through non-interactive spreadsheet. Formerly reporting on ASUO, Housing and Construction.

Send tips to [email protected] Follow me on Twitter @tranngngn. K thanks bye.