MU Capstone Project Designing Parking Meters

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COLUMBIA - A group of MU engineering seniors are working on a capstone project designing the ultimate parking meter system for Columbia's downtown area. The parking meters would accept coins, credit cards, and you would be able to pay from your smartphone. The phone application would also allow drivers to find empty parking spaces and pay for extended time on the meter if a dinner or appointment takes longer.

Ames, IA and Iowa City, IA are two cities currently using similar innovative technology system. Iowa City has a system called Bus on the Go (Bongo), where bus riders pick their stop and they can see the exact arrival times. The application updates every 30 seconds for accuracy.

The MU students are currently working with the city on the project. Mayor Bob McDavid says he thinks a better parking meter system would be great and efficient for Columbia. He said the new technology will make getting around a lot easier in Columbia. 

"It can just make it a lot more convenient for people. You don't have to keep running out and feeder the meter with a quarter," he said.

The students will come up with a design by the end of the semester. There's no date or budget line set for the actual technology.