A Winlab team of researchers, led by Professor Marco Gruteser (pictured) and Professor Wade Trappe, mounted ultrasonic distance sensors on the passenger side doors of vehicles. Using data collected over two months as the drivers commuted through Highland Park, NJ, the researchers developed an algorithm that translated the ultrasonic distance readings into a count of available parking spaces that was 95 percent accurate. By combining this with GPS data, they also generated maps of which spaces were occupied and which were open that were over 90 percent accurate.
Traffic congestion is a huge problem nationwide, particularly in downtown areas. The problem is so serious that some cities, such as San Francisco, have invested millions of dollars in "smart parking infrastructure".
This work has received extensive coverage from domestic and international media, including the MIT Technology Review and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Online News. Most recently, it was featured on Star Ledger Frontpage on 6/26/2011. The full article can be found at