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Author Topic: [IDEA] bitcoin-enabled parking 'meters'  (Read 1417 times)
Bimmerhead
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October 18, 2011, 01:56:45 AM
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1. Stick a QR code on the side of the currently existing parking meter
2. After parking your car you scan the QR code.  You are taken to the website for that parking spot which tells you if there is any 'time' left on the spot from the previous occupant.  You pay for any additional time you need then go about your business.
3. If Lovely Rita meter maid comes along she scans the QR code to see if any time is left on the spot.

Benefits:
-bitcoin is ideal for such micropayments
-municipality doesn't need to go around as often to collect coins
-thieves have less incentive to break into the meter
-setup cost to the municipality are very low: some stickers on already existing posts
-since the transaction size is so small there is no need to wait for confirmation

For cities that no longer use traditional meters there would need to be workarounds, for example numbered parking spots with the related QR code on the side of the payment station.

As a side benefit, in a world where everybody was paying for parking with bitcoin, you would now be able to visit a website and find a vacant parking spot, or at least one that isn't being paid for.  This would also reduce enforcement costs as Lovely Rita would know what spots to target before she even leaves her office.

Am I missing anything on the technical side?  Is this a worthwhile idea?

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edd
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October 18, 2011, 02:02:10 AM
 #2

Defacing the QR code would render the meter inoperable.

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MaxSan
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October 18, 2011, 07:54:13 AM
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It could be a screen produces the image, reinforced glass or whatever. Fantastic idea.
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October 18, 2011, 07:57:43 AM
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There already are cc based meters.

Any significantly advanced cryptocurrency is indistinguishable from Ponzi Tulips.
ovidiusoft
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October 18, 2011, 08:21:45 AM
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Defacing the QR code would render the meter inoperable.
It could be a screen produces the image, reinforced glass or whatever. Fantastic idea.

No need. Lovely Rita can have some 5 cents stickers to replace the demaged QR codes. She needs to be around to check that the spots are all paid for anyway. The more complicated part is how do the drivers make sure that Ugly Tina didn't put another QR code there to steal the money?

I love the idea!
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October 18, 2011, 06:42:40 PM
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Am I missing anything on the technical side?  Is this a worthwhile idea?
On the technical side the detail you missed is that currently the block timestamp has almost two-hours of leeway. And Luke-Jr at Eligius is actually actively using this leeway for some internal optimization and is adamant about keeping doing it that way.

On the long-term viability side there's a bit of defect in the sense that the meter-maid collection-rounds work as a sort of crime deterrant. Car-owners will rationally avoid parking spots where the attendant was replaced by a photodetectors.

Please comment, critique, criticize or ridicule BIP 2112: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=54382.0
Long-term mining prognosis: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=91101.0
Bimmerhead
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November 14, 2011, 01:26:44 PM
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Am I missing anything on the technical side?  Is this a worthwhile idea?
On the technical side the detail you missed is that currently the block timestamp has almost two-hours of leeway. And Luke-Jr at Eligius is actually actively using this leeway for some internal optimization and is adamant about keeping doing it that way.

I see.  Is the block timestamp still a factor if the transfer of coins is within a closed system?  For example, if my bitcoin balance is stored not on my smartphone wallet, but rather in an account with the parking authority and then transferred to another account with the parking authority?

Or, is there a way the parking system could add it's own, internal-use-only timestamp?

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P4man
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November 14, 2011, 01:35:20 PM
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Here you can already pay with your (smart)phone. Either by sending an SMS, or with an android/iphone app (billed to your phone bill). Not sure bitcoin would have enough advantage to convince "parking meter operators", particularly when there is probably like 5 people in my country that could send bitcoins from their smartphone.

Dont get me wrong, I like the idea, but its a bit early.

Bimmerhead
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November 15, 2011, 04:10:26 AM
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Here you can already pay with your (smart)phone. Either by sending an SMS, or with an android/iphone app (billed to your phone bill). Not sure bitcoin would have enough advantage to convince "parking meter operators", particularly when there is probably like 5 people in my country that could send bitcoins from their smartphone.

Dont get me wrong, I like the idea, but its a bit early.

I haven't seen an SMS or app-based system over here (Canada).  Does it require any sort of hardware investment by the parking authority?  I wonder how much of a slice of the action the phone company is taking to handle the transaction, especially on smaller payments of fifty cents or less.

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P4man
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November 15, 2011, 07:49:40 AM
 #10

I haven't seen an SMS or app-based system over here (Canada).  Does it require any sort of hardware investment by the parking authority? 

Not for the meters, they just need a sticker. But the people writing the tickets carry around a pda, so they can check if you paid. With the system here you dont need a ticket, I can "refill" my meter from the office, just by sending an sms (actually, I send one to start, and one to stop), or by using their mobile app.

More info here:
http://www.4411.be/en

Bimmerhead
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November 15, 2011, 12:29:28 PM
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More info here:
http://www.4411.be/en
Refill from the office is a great idea.  Their charge of 0.15 euro to use the system is significant when you consider people sometimes only park for 15 minutes. 

I think there might still be room for a btc-based solution, particularly if it is open source and free for municipalities to use.

Of course you're right there might be only 2 people in a city currently using bitcoin, but that is the point of a system like this - bring bitcoin to the masses, even if they don't fully realize they're using bitcoin.

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sadpandatech
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November 15, 2011, 12:35:21 PM
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Here you can already pay with your (smart)phone. Either by sending an SMS, or with an android/iphone app (billed to your phone bill). Not sure bitcoin would have enough advantage to convince "parking meter operators", particularly when there is probably like 5 people in my country that could send bitcoins from their smartphone.

Dont get me wrong, I like the idea, but its a bit early.

  The biggest benefit to the Transit Authority would be cost. Anyone work for the city up there happen to know what they pay the company that bills it to a phone number? Cost is king. You get those that take money to use it the masses will follow.

If you're not excited by the idea of being an early adopter 'now', then you should come back in three or four years and either tell us "Told you it'd never work!" or join what should, by then, be a much more stable and easier-to-use system. - GA
It is being worked on by smart people. -DamienBlack
P4man
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November 15, 2011, 01:16:17 PM
 #13

The point of using SMS is that almost anyone can use it. You dont even need a smartphone, any dumb old feature phone will do.

Of course operators take their share, but if you want to cut them out, there are much simpler solutions than bitcoin. The service here already allows "webparking" where you do the same thing, just from a PC (or smartphone), and you pay with whatever means you want, debit or credit card, or you get a monthly invoice. That way you cut out the SMS/carrier costs without anything fancy like bitcoin.

The problem here really isnt the paying or billing. The problem is making sure the parking "watchers" have a connected device that allows them to check online if you have paid or not. Once you have that, bitcoins adds very little. And frankly, using bitcoins to pay for a little paper to put behind your windscreen is.. well, silly when you think about it.

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