Los Angeles parking app challenge from Ford asks devs to recreate parking lots

losangelesemptyparkinglotDevelopers could win as much as $15,000 for finding new exciting creative uses for Los Angeles’ vast parking space surplus and quagmire of problems.

Los Angeles has a parking problem even though  it has the highest density of parking spaces in the world. It’s downtown contains more spaces per acre than any other city. However finding a parking spot can still be difficult and stressful.  L.A. also has a mountain-size surplus because lots are built for prime times and often vacant.

Ford has opened a parking app challenge that asks,  “How can Los Angeles outdoor surface parking lots be repurposed to increase their variety of uses, or aesthetic value, while enabling parking in the city?”

Ford is asking developers from around the world to show how to reimagine and repurpose surface parking lots in Los Angeles using software and apps. The OpenXC platform gives developers access to more than 15 types of vehicle data, including those related to vehicle speed, engine speed, fuel-level, and things like whether or not the windshield wipers are on or if a door is open.

Theres a Grand Prize of $15,000, second prize is $7,000, third prize $3,000. There is also the OpenXC Integration Prize  of $2,500, while the popular choice gets $2,500. There will be a non-cash, recognition only for Large Organizations

Submitted solutions must focus on repurposing Los Angeles outdoor surface parking lots to increase their variety of uses, or aesthetic value, while enabling parking in the city. Solutions are not required to include LA-specific data, but must be usable for LA parking lots.

Solutions must include a software component such as:

  • a native smartphone or tablet app (iOS, Android, Blackberry, Kindle, Windows Mobile)
  • a web app (mobile or desktop)
  • a desktop app (Windows PC, Mac Desktop)
  • software running on other hardware (including, but not exclusive to, wearable technology, open source hardware, etc.)
  • custom hardware which includes a software component (wearable technology, etc.)

Contestant must submit a demo video (hosted on YouTube, Vimeo, or Youku) that walks through the main functionality of the solution via screencast or video.


YES BUT Don’t Sell Street Parking

There have been problems with parking apps in San Francisco such as , MonkeyParking,  ParkModo and  Sweetch that either charged to find street parking or allowed San Francisco drivers to get paid for the public parking spaces they exit, all have stopped operation. San Francisco has a police code that prohibits private sale of parking spaces.

Parking has always been trouble in Los Angeles, there’s a line from a Neil Simon play that goes, “I would have gone to UCLA but I couldn’t find a parking space.”

Recently, in Boyle Heights a farmers’ market for medical marijuana was shut down, maybe it could find a home on a vacant parking lot?

Ford’s Innovate Mobility Challenge Series expanded its open innovation approach to eight regions around the world: Lisbon, Portugal; Mumbai, Delhi and the Chennai region in India; Los Angeles, United States; Johannesburg, South Africa; Shanghai, China; and, a countrywide challenge in Argentina.