UCSD Transportation Services to Install Parking Occupancy Sensors Next Fall

Photo courtesy of The Triton.

UC San Diego Transportation Services plans to install parking occupancy sensors to give real-time parking availability updates beginning in some lots fall 2018.

Transportation Services provides A, B, and S spots, which are designated for university faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students, respectively. In June 2018, UCSD plans to remove Lot P207 and Muir parking lot (Lot P208)—which has 346 S spots, 152 B spots, and no A spots—to begin building new Sixth College buildings. When completed, the buildings will provide a 1,200-space underground parking structure to replace the previous parking lots. In the meantime, the Osler Parking Structure opening in the fall will be providing 1,400 new parking spaces to alleviate parking issues.

For the first four weeks of each quarter, Transportation Services has tracked parking activity in the hopes of using the data collected to provide better parking for students as the number of available parking spots decreases. Previously, they partnered with Associated Students of UCSD (ASUCSD) to share that information through email and Facebook. This quarter, they uploaded the data to a Google Doc so that it is more accessible.

The spreadsheet provides data of parking occupancy from Monday through Friday in two hour increments beginning at 8:00 a.m. and ending at 2:00 p.m. While many lots have open A and B spots throughout the day, most lots have no availability in S spots.

In an effort to improve parking, Transportation Services wants to place sensors in each parking lot in order to provide live parking availability for anyone looking for a parking spot, and a custom app for this system is currently under development. The app will most likely be available around fall 2018 for a few testing facilities, including Osler Parking Structure, with the addition of more facilities as the system grows.

“We’ll be taking our sensor pilot program into production next fall with the opening of the Osler Parking Structure and will be pushing data from that garage and a few additional pilot sites out via app in real time,” explained Josh Kavanagh, Director of Transportation. 

Separate from the upcoming custom app, campus visitors may currently use the Parkmobile app to pay for parking on campus. App users can purchase a parking pass or extend their current parking pass if purchased through the app.

However, the app does not provide information on parking availability. Transportation Services suggests that students use the app to purchase an hourly permit if they are running late, but because it provides no updates on availability, its effectiveness is limited with a student parking permit.

While Transportation Services may provide future updates that allow visitors to park in any parking lot, the app currently does not support all parking lots on campus.

“The Parkmobile app is misleading and allows people to pay for spots in a lot but still receive a ticket. Not all of the lots are equipped with sensors, so you’re redirected to the nearest sensored lot,” said Patrick Malapira, a visiting student from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. “I paid $20 for a full day of parking on the Parkmobile app but still received a ticket for $65.”

Students who would like to speak about the parking and transportation changes taking place are encouraged to comment through Transportation Services’ Virtual Town Hall form.

Mick Mattie is a Contributing Writer for The Triton. You can follow him at @Mick_Mattie

May 9, 1:50 p.m.: This article was updated with additional information on parking changes for next fall.