Could you recite your license plate number off the top of your head? Like, right now?

The next iteration of Philadelphia Parking Authority meters might require you do just that. Spokesperson Marty O’Rourke confirmed to Billy Penn that the PPA is exploring implementing new parking kiosks, which would require drivers enter their license plate numbers to pay for parking.

The idea — dubbed pay-by-plate parking — is in its early stages in Philly.

Per O’Rourke, “It’s a possibility. Anything that adds to the convenience of parking in the city is an absolutely possibility.”

This might take a while…

So far, O’Rourke said the plan is to submit a request for proposal to potential vendors who would respond with ideas for the design and implementation of the kiosks. He expects the PPA will submit that RFP this summer.

Then, it’ll be another 30 to 60 days of waiting for responses to come in. And then, the PPA will spend some more time organizing “meetings, discussions, negotiations” and ultimately selection of a vendor.

“We’re always on the outlook for new technologies,” O’Rourke said. “The value is contingent upon how convenient it is for users. If it works well and improves convenience, we’ll consider it.”

…but the idea isn’t new

Philly isn’t the first city to consider the idea, and wouldn’t be the first to implement it.

In cities and towns across the country, pay-by-plate systems have been introduced because they come with lower installation and maintenance costs and prevent drivers from taking advantage of meters with time remaining. They’ve also been shown to lower the number of of disputed tickets, and increase the use parking spots get overall.

In Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh started using license plate numbers to pay for street spots back in 2012, and New Hope got going with it earlier this year. Across the river, folks in Colllingswood, New Jersey also have the option to pay using their plates.

The University of California at Los Angeles also uses pay-by-plate parking on its campus, and Deerfield Beach, Florida, does too. (p.s. the Deerfield Beach folks seems pretty proud of it. They even made an instructional video to show it off.)

YouTube video

“Deerfield Beach is stepping into the 21st century,” claims a man at the start of the instructional video, which was uploaded in 2014.

Will Philly follow suit? Stay tuned.

Michaela Winberg is a general assignment reporter at Billy Penn. She covers LGBTQ people and culture, public spaces, and transportation and mobility. She also sometimes produces radio and web features...