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How Indianapolis Fixed Its Parking Problems

Published on Dec 18, 2012



Parking in most US cities can be a drag. If you're lucky enough to find an unoccupied spot, you still have to find enough change to fill up the meter. Then, if your errand takes longer than expected, you run the risk of getting a ticket.

Maintaining parking meters is no picnic for city governments either. Coins need to removed and batteries need to be replaced frequently. On top of all that, because parking meter rates in most cities haven't changed for decades, meters typically don't generate much revenue.

Things are different in Indianapolis. A couple of years ago, the city partnered with a division of Xerox to take over management of the city's parking meter system. ParkIndy replaced all the old meters with new meters that accept credit cards. Even better, drivers with smart phones can now download apps that make it easy to pay for parking, extend the parking time and even find an open spot. Sure, parking at meters is a little more expensive, but the experience for drivers in Indianapolis is much improved.

The best part about this public-private partnership is that the arrangement will help the city's bottom line. The old system generated less than $100,000 in 2010. In 2011, the new parking meters generated more than one million dollars. Over the course of the 50-year lease, the city will make upwards of $350 million.

Approximately 3 minutes. Produced by Paul Feine and Alex Manning.

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