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Most of the ideas in the Vehicle: Car: Parking category seem to address aspects of finding a free space in a lot.
I think for some lots, this is overly optimistic (that there are in fact ANY free spots!)
I routinely visit a lot that essentially never has empty spaces, and drivers can be seen with
turn signals blinking, indicating that they are waiting for a driver who has returned to a car to exit.
I suggest this system could be improved by providing LCD/LED signs visible through the rear window (or perhaps part of it) that indicate expected return time, and a count-down timer that would flash at the given return time, and continue counting into negative numbers for a while, based on the original visit duration.
Naturally such signs would be voluntary, but could be automated as integrated GPS systems become smarter (e.g. this car typically goes to this space every Tuesday, and typically leaves within XX:xx minutes.)
||Only someone as nice as me or you would spend money
buying such a gadget, and then using it responsibly, for the
benefit of our fellow man. Most of the buggers on the HB,
for instance, probably wouldn't.
||+ Also, How about a text to the license plate number that says "I like this spot, I'll give you 5 bucks if you can be here in 10 minutes."
||"You have xx.x minutes left to steal this car..."
||I particularly appreciate the HB for feedback on halfbaked ideas (isn't that the whole purpose?)