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Parking Meters and Their Electronics

December 17, 2023

There’s a Keystone in every great invention.


Pay to Play, Shop, Wine and Dine!

From light shows and parades, to shopping downtown, and late-night gatherings, no matter the occasion, parking meters are right there waiting to collect a toll. And while many presents are being shopped for online these days, the holiday season still finds a way to motivate us to get into our cars and patiently search for that ideal parking spot. There might not be anything more unwelcome and inconvenient than the unexpected parking ticket. “Wait, I had no idea I needed to pay to park here.” The intial shock and feelings of denial have all been experienced by everyone who has sat behind a steering wheel. Who came up with the idea of parking meters anyway? 

The History of Parking Meters

As the world shifted away from horses and carriages, and city populations began to rise, so to did the unforeseen issue of car traffic, congestion and lack of parking spaces. Specifically in 1932, traffic in Oklahoma had become so congested, that overstaying parking began to impede on the local shopping market. People would venture into towns and park for extended periods of time, prohibiting others from finding any available parking spaces. That’s when Oklahoma Traffic Committee Chairman, Carl Magee came up with the idea for the very first parking meter. 

The original meter required coins as payment, and was officially installed in July of 1935. Consisting of gears and springs, the earliest versions of the parking meter required periodic winding in order to operate continuously. The first ever parking ticket was issued to a reverend, who swore he had only stepped into a shop for a mere second, and wasn’t gone long enough to warrant a citation.       

Electronics In Parking Meters

As the parking meter made its way into cities nationwide, digital enhancements improved the meter, providing multiple payment options, and making it more efficient for capturing and monitoring data for future planning. 

Meters today can still be found street-side available to those who can parallel park with or without automated assistance, but parking garages and parking lots have also adopted the use of automated or “smart” parking meters in order to make urban parking more convenient and less crowded. With the use of current technology in a variety of cameras and sensors, smart meters are able to monitor when a car enters a spot or lot, collect its license plate, and register what time the car leaves. 

Most of the information collected can be stored within a single computer system and continuously monitored to provide prospective parkers with real-time parking availabilities and current rates. Smart parking meters also offer flexibility, allowing patrons to choose how long they’ll be parking in a specific spot, and exactly how they want to pay. With internet synchronization and card readers, today’s meters are able to support everything from paying online, via an app, or contactless “tapping” with a smart phone or credit card. 

A wide range of Keystone products can be found in today’s parking meters. These include:

 Battery Clips, Contacts  & Holders,  LED holders, spacers and lens caps; Fuse Clips and HoldersPCB test points and terminalsspacers and standoffspanel hardware and PCB plugs, pins, jacks, and sockets and more.