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Ocean City Looks to Make Parking Easier With AI

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If a new AI-based parking system is implemented, it will help motorists to find open spaces in town.

By MADDY VITALE

The accommodations are set. Vacation itinerary is too. There’s that excitement over a visit to Ocean City, especially in the summer to enjoy the beach, Boardwalk, bay and shopping.

What about parking? That could be tricky. Residents and visitors to the resort know that parking is at a premium during the tourism season, which extends from spring through fall.

However, the city has something in mind to solve some of the searches for parking spots — and it involves AI — in a new parking program proposed for the resort.

At its meeting Thursday night, City Council approved a contract with Duncan Parking Technologies Inc. of Milwaukee for the new parking system. The $310,713 contract includes technology such as parking sensors, infrastructure and signs, according to a Council resolution.

The AI-based system, called “Always a Spot,” would let drivers know where to park and how many spaces are available, officials said.

Mayor Jay Gillian announced the parking program during his State of the City address in March, when he explained the benefits of such technology for residents and tourists.

The map would be interactive and show visitors how many open parking spots there are available. (Image courtesy of Ocean City)

Ocean City Public Information Officer Doug Bergen said in an email that the new contract with Duncan Parking Technologies is a step toward acquiring the parking equipment.

However, he emphasized that there are still things to be worked out.

“The city team is still working out plans for installation,” Bergen said. “It’s still too early to know when the system will be in place.”

Bergen explained in a prior story with OCNJDaily.com that “the system would include sensors at each parking space in a municipal lot that would communicate with electronic signage.”

He further noted that the parking feature would be similar to the systems you often see at airport parking lots or other commercial parking decks.

According to the company website for Duncan Parking Technologies, www.duncansolutions.com, Duncan Parking “is a premier provider of integrated, end-to-end solutions for on-street parking programs. From single and multi-space meters and meter management solutions through full lifecycle citation management – handhelds, processing, and collections – Duncan offers advanced technology, durability, security, and low environmental impact.”

The company offers “a full range of parking meters from single-space meters that accept credit cards to multi-space meters in both pay by space and pay and display configurations.”

For more information on parking in Ocean City, visit https://www.ocnj.us/parking.

Parking spots are often filled up along Asbury Avenue in the downtown shopping district.