Santa Monica Explores AI Technology for Instant Parking Tickets: A Step Towards Smarter Cities

In a bid to address the persistent issue of cars parked in bus lanes, Santa Monica has recently tested a new AI camera technology that allows buses to issue parking tickets instantly. The technology was tested with the city’s Big Blue Bus Line, which provided 7.7 million trips last year, many of which were delayed due to cars improperly parked or stopped in dedicated bus lanes.

The AI cameras, developed by Hayden AI, a startup specializing in smart enforcement technologies, are capable of spotting violations and issuing tickets instantly. As buses navigate their routes, these special cameras capture the license plates of cars parked or stopped inappropriately. The cameras are accurate to within 10 centimeters and can determine whether a vehicle is moving or stationary.

The captured information is sent to a computer box installed on the bus, which uses AI to process the images, flag the rule-breaking cars, and generate reports that cities can use to issue tickets in near real time. During Santa Monica’s 45-day pilot, the system identified more than 500 potential violations, with each fine amounting to nearly $300.

While it might seem like an opportunity for cities to generate revenue, the real aim is to improve bus transit times, reduce emissions, and encourage more people to use public transportation. Santa Monica has not yet decided whether to fully implement this technology, but its exploration signifies a growing trend towards AI-powered smart cities.

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