On January 9, 2002, Portland City Council approved a contract to supply pay station technology for on-street parking in Portland. The City has now replaced the majority of its single-space meters in the downtown central business district with SmartMeters. SmartMeters are solar-powered, multi-space parking meters with the ability to accept smart card and credit or debit cards.
Portland had about 7,100 single-space meters, that were aging and breaking down more frequently, many parts no longer available from vendors. The interest in having a system more reliable and less costly to maintain and repair motivated the City to investigate SmartMeters.
Portland conducted a six-month demonstration of this technology in the summer of 2000. Subsequent research, coupled with the results of the demonstration project, showed the value of this technology in providing better service to parking customers and providing a more cost-effective approach to managing our on-street parking system. Portland believes, as many other cities have experienced, that SmartMeters have improved the on-street parking system in our city.
Parking customers have more payment options (coin, credit/debit card, and smart card). Customers receive a receipt and are able to take their remaining parking time with them to another space. Removing meter posts has freed up sidewalk space for pedestrians. SmartMeters are more reliable.