Parkken (App) — A Design Solution in a Digital Age
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IndraStra Global

Parkken (App) — A Design Solution in a Digital Age

Parking on New York City streets are not just a competition. It's an obsession. It has spawned countless stories and appeared in movies, funny and tragic. It has generated a cottage industry of parking businesses from Parking Calendars and Parking Books to Parking Share Clubs. Already, generations of street parking apps have come and gone.

In a time when cell phones pack more processing capability than some Desktop computers, it seems only logical that all that handheld power could master the arcane rules of street parking that somehow fit on a handful of signs on every block, but a clear choice has still not appeared.

The problem may come from the drivers who want to put their minds and cars to rest. The minimalist street signs can seem blank, and some blocks have a lot of more of the others, but when you or I want to park, we have very sliding scales. There is Time of Arrival; How Long we want to park, which includes allowing for commute and also for weekend trips and spontaneity; the Distance of a parking space from home, which also includes safety for ourselves and our vehicle; Predatory Animals, which includes birds overhead, squirrels and other urban rodents who are drawn to a warm engine compartment and parking swine that take too much space or make the winning of a parking space a duel to the death. Fueling all of these is our innate American instinct which says I can park my car on the same street where I pay exorbitant taxes, license and registration fees, and fines.

Our individual needs together with the complicated rules laid out by the city create a problem that perhaps no machine code, however brilliant, can solve. The solution may not be in Hi-Tech ingenuity at all but in design. Parallel Spaces Maps has for years designed original maps and symbols to make New York City drivers as informed as they can be to park where, when and for however long they want. Their approach is based on new, but recognizable, symbols that can be intuitively understood and may offer the best form for the very human function of parking your car.

Parallel Spaces Maps

The designs have evolved, but the goal is the same: make the viewer experience easier. The first Parallel Spaces map included a colorful map of Manhattan with newly designed, straightforward Clock-based Symbols to display parking regulations on each block. With only 3 basic color symbols, a wider glance could scan whole neighborhoods for their parking trends. Next, they fashioned a query option that would spell out the parking opportunities for your time and place.

Parallel Spaces Maps

Now, they have designed a Parking Gauge, which is a sweeping, 12-hour measure of street parking availability for whatever time and places you query. Barometer-like swaths of Red (No Parking), Blue (Metered Parking), or Green (Free Parking) amplify and simplify the rules for any query. For an expanded view of your parking options, the Parking Gauge has an Area Gauge function that shows clusters of Parking Gauges for the surrounding area and time you choose. 

It's not Google. It's been called out as hipster. It just may be that the most elegant solution to the complex and human problem of parking has more rhythm than the algorithm.

Check out the Parkken  App at Apple iOS and Google Play

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