Urban drivers know the headache: circling several blocks looking for an available parking meter; digging for change to feed the meter; then finding an orange ticket on the windshield after an appointment ran a few minutes longer than expected.

The City of Columbus' Parking Services team, which manages parking meters and permits throughout the city and issues parking citations for violations, has its own headaches: insufficient infrastructure to meet parking demand; daily and seasonal variability in parking patterns; limited resources to patrol parking enforcement zones – and no resources to understand which patrols would be the best use of time and resources.

There are headaches on both sides of the meter. The result is increased congestion as drivers circle to find a spot, too few spots to meet drivers' needs, and wasted city resources.


Currently, Parking Services uses manual methods to visualize and analyze real-time and historic data to identify city parking performance statistics. But hundreds of parking meters are capable of creating hundreds of thousands of data points – meter locations, hours of operation, meter rates, historic transactions, violations and more. This data has the potential to be aggregated, synthesized and visualized to help solve parking challenges felt both by drivers and Parking Services to make parking more efficient and available in our city.

By publishing this data story, we hope the development community will help us innovate solutions that help Columbus Parking Services identify key drivers of parking demand and the causes of critical violations. This information could be used to meet the parking demand at peak hours and mitigate violation causes. Visualization tools that identify the daily and seasonal variability in parking demand at a block or zone level could provide Parking Services the opportunity to manage their parking infrastructure to meet the existing demand, and also enable planning future infrastructure placement.

The data may also provide opportunity for private navigation app developers to identify parking demand at a block or zone level and communicate that information with travelers for trip planning purposes.

The result? Less circling. More spots. Fewer orange tickets.

Explore the Data