PhD: Let’s Get Rid Of Parking Tickets!

Every Chicago driver has experienced the photo finish parking ticket before.

You’re just a few minutes late coming back to your car parked in a metered spot, hoping, praying, you didn’t get a ticket, only to find a bright orange envelope stuck to the windshield.

Anam Ardeshiri, a doctoral candidate in transportation and urban infrastructure studies has experienced this and it inspired him to design a system that virtually eliminates the need for expired meter parking tickets according to The Atlantic Cities website.

Ardeshiri doesn’t believe it’s right for a motorist to get hit with a big penalty just for being a few minutes late to the car. He also doesn’t think it makes sense to assess the driver who is a few minutes getting back to their car the same amount someone who parks all day without feeding the meter.

He believes the current model of paying for metered spaces is all wrong. Currently, drivers try to guess at how much time they’ll need and pay for that much time.

Ardeshiri proposes a system where drivers would swipe their credit card, receive an open ended meter receipt to display on their dashboard, and upon returning to the car, swipe the bar coded receipt which would then allow the meter how much meter time your credit card should be charged.

But how do you encourage the proper amount of parking turnover and/or discourage drivers from parking too long? Incrementally increase the cost based on the time your car is parked. For example, the first hour is $2, the second hour is $3, etc.

Ardeshiri theorizes cities will actually derive more revenue from this model than from the fines generated by parking tickets.

Here’s the full story at The Atlantic Cities, “A Case for Abolishing Parking Tickets.”

8 Responses to PhD: Let’s Get Rid Of Parking Tickets!

  1. Jeff says:

    I like this idea. Allows parking rates to be lower for the short term shoppers that meters were designed for, and higher rates to discourage meter hogs from taking up a space on a busy street for hours and hours. Plus you only end up paying for what you use and never get a ticket.

    Why couldn’t Chicago have kept the meters and gone to this kind of smart thinking set up? Oh, that’s right. This kind of city owned “pay as you go” system wouldn’t have allowed Daley to sell Chicago down the river and feather his retirement nest.

  2. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    You’re so right on the freak’n mark here.

    The meter lease deal is so, so, so damn bad.

    If you start looking at what San Francisco is doing with demand pricing, and then you read this PhD’s ideas and all the other ideas that are out there, you realize we sold the meters (yes I know it’s a lease, but 75 years is essentially the same as a sale), right when all this cool new technology was happening that may have been able to solve the problems of congestion AND revenue at the same time.

    Then, what about the ParkMagic? Anyone remember that? It’s a pay by cell phone system that the city piloted, had great positive response on and then it got dropped when the meters got sold off.

    I really don’t care that much about the privatization, but just how poorly it was executed. They could have done a deal where everyone would have made money AND had the flexibility to embrace all these new ideas and technology.


  3. Pete says:

    Obviously this would NEVER have a chance of passing in Chicago, where parking ticket revenue is far more important than reasonable parking availability and pricing. This city’s meter system is designed to maximize ticketing. For example, why did they get rid of ParkMagic? Just to increase the chance that someone’s meter will run out. Not to mention, people must pay for more time than they actually use so they don’t end up being short and thus facing a ticket.

    I know the private meter company does not officially make anything from parking tickets, but there must be some sort of under-the-table arrangement. Otherwise they would not be so zealous about ticketing and would favor solutions that increase parking revenue as opposed to those that only increase ticketing.

  4. B says:

    The first thing we need to do is stop calling people in government idiots when they execute brilliant ways to rip off the people for their own benefit. See if you called me ‘stupid’ but I walked away with the kind of incomes the Daley family members get I wouldn’t care and neither does anyone in politics. In fact, by thinking them merely stupid and ignorant they get away with ripping off the people through the institution of government. This perception helps keep them out of prison.

    On ticketing, they only sold the parking, not the ticketing. These people aren’t dumb. They know better than to sell off their power. With the ticketing all they have to is ramp up their efforts and make things more and more confusing at the same time. This way they can haul in more revenue.

    When the city council has to prevent a revolt by creating a law making illegal for a city department to put no parking signs way up high on light posts where few if anyone will see them, that should be a clue to the nature of the operation.

  5. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Pete, a few comments on your thoughts.

    I’m not sure I agree the system if specifically designed to generate maximum revenue, but it’s also certainly not designed to minimize revenue either.

    I’m not sure why they got rid of ParkMagic. I would think it would be in the best interest of CPM to have a service like this. Offering drivers an ultra convenient way to pay for parking remotely would improve revenue to my mind. So I don’t get it at all. If they offered ParkMagic to the public I’d be ALL over it.

    CPM does not generate revenue directly from parking tickets. However, the more fearful drivers are of receiving a parking ticket for not feeding the meter, the more likely they are to feed the meter.

    Scared to death of getting a ticket = more revenue.

  6. Drew says:


    CPM didn’t want to share the revenue potentially generated from Park Magic.

    Because they would have had to due to the contract.

  7. The Parking Ticket Geek says:


    My understanding was that ParkMagic took a percentage of the transaction, but what I was told by the former head of U.S. operations for ParkMagic was that the percentage was the same or lower than what a credit card processor would take.

  8. Drew says:

    Low or High…CPM didn’t want to share…so they forced the City to end the program.

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