California Department of Transportation

For Immediate Release

December 7 , 2004

Contact: Tamie McGowen
(916) 654-5820


A high-tech parking management program got underway today that allows freeway drivers to instantly know exactly how much parking is available at Oakland’s Rockridge BART District station, which also allows them to reserve a parking space by simply using their mobile phone.

The program, called “Smart Parking,” is a demonstration project in partnership among the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans); the Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART); California Partners for Advanced Transit and Highways (PATH), University of California, Berkeley; ParkingCarma™; Quixote™ Corporation; Intel; Microsoft; and Verizon Wireless.

Smart Parking uses advanced technologies to help direct drivers to available parking spaces at the Rockridge station, encouraging transit ridership, lessening driver frustration, and reducing local congestion. The public-private partnership project includes wireless vehicle detectors and changeable message signs.

“This project reflects the leadership role that Caltrans is playing in implementing Intelligent Transportation Systems in California. This program will help reduce congestion by making transit a more practical and convenient travel option and getting vehicles off the road,” said Director Will Kempton. “We are always on the lookout for successful innovative ideas and smart parking technology is certainly one of those.”

The smart parking project uses ParkingCarma’s unique software combined with Quixote Corporation’s off-the-shelf technology to alert drivers approaching transit stations to the number of available parking spaces. This promising system uses vehicle detectors to count the number of vehicles entering and exiting the Rockridge BART station parking lot.

The information is then electronically relayed via the Internet to a centralized computer that processes the data, compares it to the known number of parking spaces, and sends the number of available parking spaces to changeable message signs, located on Highway 24 near the station. Commuters near the frequently congested Caldecott Tunnel will now know instantly whether a parking space is available.

Commuters can make reservations and get information about parking availability through their telephone at (510) 809-1197 and over the Internet at