Parking conference features new tech gadgets to combat parking problems

COLLEGE STATION - Some may say the most frustrating part of driving is finding a place to park. Parking professionals across the state would disagree.

Hundreds gathered Wednesday in College Station for the Texas Parking and Transportation Association Conference and Trade Show. From what was presented, parking could soon be getting a lot easier across the Brazos Valley.

Dean Ahmad, president of Texas Parking and Transportation Association, says one issue facing the industry is people are parking less.

"They are taking Uber and Lyft, so you have more folks taking them for the convenience," said Ahmad.

If you're brave enough to tackle a parking nightmare, the professionals showcasing at the conference said they have solutions.

"People who don't know this industry would be amazed at the technology," said Ahmad.

That includes the Park X app, for example. Instead of feeding a meter, you pay through the app. It even sends you an alert when your meter is almost up.

Ross Shanken, co-founder of Park X, said, "At the end of the day, you're not trying to worry about parking. You're trying to run your errand or get to class."

The Park X technology is free for cities and private parking entities to install, and is already used widely in three major cities including Austin.

"We work with their existing parking meters and their entire existing infrastructure,” said Shanken.

Derek Frantz, Business Development Manager of Parking Guidance, said his new smart garage technology is are already in major cities across the state.

"We have about 30,000 spaces in Texas,” said Frantz. “We have DFW Airport, Dallas Love Airport, City of Houston and Texas A&M."

Frantz said his smart garages can tell you how many spots are open, exactly where they are, and help you find your vehicle.

"You have a kiosk you can go put your license plate in and it will direct you to that space," said Frantz.

The conference at the Hilton in College Station runs through Thursday.