Cars are lined up on a parking lot of French car maker Peugeot in Markolsheim, France
Cars are lined up on a parking lot of French car maker Peugeot in Markolsheim, France Reuters

One of the biggest frustrations for city dwellers is about to be solved with an app (of course)… if you live in San Antonio and a few other cities.

Pango, a parking locator service that recently raised $6.5 million in venture capital funding, launches in that city’s downtown on October 23 with an app that allows drivers to find open spaces. The app, available for free on the city’s website and on the App Store for Apple and Play Store for Android, shows where spaces are most available on a color-coded map of the city – red for no spaces, yellow for some availability and green for wide-open parking – as well as a Find My Car feature that uses GPS location tracking. In certain neighborhoods, it will also offer coupons from local businesses.

San Antonio will get the data from parking meters, which the city pulls every 5 minutes and makes available to Pango, which will then be able to inform its users about space availability. Currently, the app only works on streets that feature computerized parking meters but future versions incorporating GPS could make it possible to park on residential streets that lack meters.

Due to the high cost of meters – it costs $8,000 to $12,000 plus maintenance costs to operate each meter in New York City, says Pango president Neil Edwards – cities are likely to start phasing them out soon. In the future, drivers will pay by phone using a zone system based on street signs, he says.

“A sign will say zone 12345 – a zone number for every block in the city that identifies a collection of parking spaces,” says Edwards. “When you pull in and press the start button on your zone, the app will share real-time availability. When you stop parking, it knows that you’ve left and we can let others know that you’ve left that space.”

The app is currently available in Phoenix and 60 other cities in the US, Brazil and Israel, but could soon be available in New York City and other urban areas grappling with frustrated drivers.

Other parking apps, such as Parker, find available parking spots in Los Angeles, Boston and Indianapolis. Another app, VoicePark, uses San Francisco’s own technology to find open spots based on location and price in eight neighborhoods of the city. Last spring, ParkMe and ParkMobile launched apps in Miami Beach to help drivers find and pay for parking spaces.

"What we're seeing is a demand from our consumers to offer a level of convenience that really heretofore hadn't been the hallmark of the parking industry," Casey Jones, spokesman for the International Parking Institute, the largest trade association for parking professionals and the parking industry, told CNN.

Some of the new apps have had mixed results – Monkey Parking pulled its app from San Francisco after the city sued over the company’s practice of auctioning off parking spaces on public streets for money, reports VentureBeat.