Circling for a Parking Space in ATX? Try ParkTag
The best parking app on iPhone and Android is ParkTag, and we need to start using it in Austin. Not only does it remember where you parked, but it lets you know where to find garages and even free street parking. There’s even a feature where it’ll autodetect when you park (based on your GPS) so you never forget where you parked. And it’s free.
Based on our unscientific yet fairly thorough search of Appshopper.com and the iTunes Store, we believe this is your best bet for these vital functions. The app is just hitting New York, favorably rated, responsive, and well-designed. Austin pay garages are well-represented in their locations database, too.
What the Heck Is a Parking App?
You may not know what a parking app is, but you’ve probably cursed the population boom in Austin while trying to park your wheels downtown. ParkTag to the rescue. Launch the app and if you have sufficient credit, you can search for spots marked by other charitable ParkTag users.
Are you leaving a spot? Launch the app and hit the “POST” button to share your parking space with others, and you earn points. If you’re running Autodetect, the app even posts your parking spot automatically… and you can earn points from that.
Why Sharing Your Parking Space Info Helps the Planet
Not only does parking space sharing help others and make you feel warm and fuzzy, but it earns you credit you use to find spots, doesn’t cost you anything, and it makes Austin function more efficiently. The fewer maddened drivers circling for parking downtown, the better off we all are. And of course there’s less noxious pollution in the air when cars are finding parking spots quickly. That’s what makes ParkTag such a genius app. Frankly, there aren’t a lot of Austin ParkTag users right now, but there need to be.
How ParkTag Could Be Improved
ParkTag still isn’t all it could be, though. In our opinion, other than snagging a larger userbase (perhaps by putting postcards on the dashboards of parked cars at SxSW, hint, hint), ParkTag must:
- improve the incentive for drivers to share a spot when they drive away. IMHO the social aspect needs to be amped up. For example, when someone pulls into a spot that you shared, you should get notified in the app, and they should get points if they send a prewritten or personalized message to thank you. This kind of direct acknowledgement is often what’s lacking in our compartmentalized worlds, and it closes the narrative that is created when you choose to share.
- improve other social elements. As mentioned in this TechCrunch article, the founders realize the potential the app has for connecting neighbors, but the app doesn’t really have a way for you to message someone who set you up with a sweet parking spot. It also needs to provide connections while allowing people to maintain their privacy.
- make it clearer how points are earned and used.
- make it clearer how the timer works and how Auto-Detect works.
- crystallize their message so people can quickly tell exactly what the app delivers. There are lot of lousy “remember where you parked” apps out there, and this isn’t one of them.
- tune some of the grammar in the app. Little errors make it clear their team is from Germany.
- allow users to add notes to parking spaces they share so they can warn other users of hazards or navigational issues.