Pressing issues: Using parking machines

It’s easier for a municipality to have central machines that dispense tickets for parking than to have individual meters. But they’re not always designed well. Here are two examples, one easier than the other. Neither takes credit cards, which complicates the UI in other machines.

The first one is in Belmont, Mass. While the display is a bit dim, it’s very easy to use.

The next one is in the neighboring town of Arlington, Mass. They put all those stickers on the machine because it’s so hard to use otherwise. Even the coin slot is labeled! When I was at the farmers’ market last summer, I saw a town employee who took people’s money and ran the machine for them.

That’s an expensive side effect of poor design.

Parking machine in the town lots in Belmont, MA

Parking machine in the town lots in Belmont, MA. It’s a little hard to read, but easy enough to use.

Parking machine in the town lots in Arlington, MA

Parking machine in the town lots in Arlington, MA. All those stickers are supposed to help with the UI. What do you think?

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2 Responses to Pressing issues: Using parking machines

  1. Ward Clark says:

    I use the parking machines in Manchester, NH about once a month. Insert & remove my credit card, push the “Maximum Time” button, and take a paper receipt for $1.50, which I place on the dash of my car.

    It’s so much better than carrying a pocket full of quarters.

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