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Smart Parking Sensors and Time to Destination Signs to Direct Innovation District Drivers Starting Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The City of Boston has completed the installation of Smart Parking Sensors and Time to Destination Signs in the Innovation District in an effort to better manage traffic in this thriving new Downtown neighborhood.  Traffic congestion is expected to decrease as drivers begin using these tools that provide up to the minute information on available, on-street parking spaces as well as the quickest route to take out of the Innovation District to the highway system during the evening commute.  Drivers may begin taking advantage of this new technology on Wednesday, December 11, 2013.

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino said, “The Innovation District is the fastest growing area in Boston and it is well-served by public transportation, as well as safe and attractive walking routes, and conveniently located bike lanes.  The installation of this new equipment will now ensure a quicker and more pleasant trip to this neighborhood for those commuters and visitors who choose to drive.”

The traffic management initiative taking place in the Innovation District is part of the City of Boston’s Complete Streets Strategy, a plan to create a greener, smarter and more multi-modal transportation network citywide.  The initiative is being led by the Boston Transportation Department, with support from the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics.

“The sensors will reduce traffic congestion by decreasing the number of drivers circling around looking for an open parking space, and the Time to Destination Signs will help by moving vehicles out of the Innovation District and onto the highway system as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said Boston Transportation Department Commissioner Thomas J. Tinlin.

A total of 330 Smart Parking Sensors have been installed along stretches of Seaport Boulevard, Congress Street, Summer Street and Boston Wharf Road.  Boston purchased the sensors from Streetline, Inc., a California based company also working on similar traffic issues with other municipalities in the United States and Europe.  The company’s Mobile App “Parker” works in tandem with the sensors to assist drivers looking for local parking spaces.

To gain access to information on parking availability provided by the Smart Parking Sensors in the Innovation District, drivers can choose one of three options.

1)      Download the Mobile App:  Search for “Parker” in the iTunes Store or Android Market

2)      Create a Custom Map for your Business:  Visit parkermap.streetline.com.

3)       Access the API:  Email developers@boston.gov

A total of four Time to Destination Signs have been installed at the following three locations in the Innovation District.

1)      Sleeper Street, just before Seaport Boulevard driving from Northern Avenue

2)      East Service Road, just before Seaport Boulevard driving from Congress Street

3)      Seaport Boulevard, inbound at Congress Street.

The signs use real-time traffic data from area roads to help direct drivers to the “one less traveled” at the time, and then to Route 93 North and South.  The City of Boston purchased the signs from Pennsylvania based manufacturer All Traffic Solutions and the company also provides the traffic data via its partnership with TomTom.

To assist the City with transportation management efforts in the Innovation District and its other neighborhoods, Boston has recently teamed up with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to involve members of the MIT community in the work.  Throughout each year, the City of Boston collects a significant amount of data pertaining to traffic and transportation patterns.  The “MIT Big Data Initiative,” in partnership with the federal government, provides assistance pouring through data gained from Hubway, taxis and transit ridership.  The data is compared with event calendars and social media with the goal of helping the City to continue to improve its transportation network for all users.

            Please email btd@cityofboston.gov if you’d like to give feedback on these initiatives, or to provide suggestions for different locations or content for the Time to Destination signs.

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