CHICAGO (AP) — Mobile technology could make parking at one of the nation's busiest airports a little bit easier.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration is seeking proposals for a new technology system that would reduce the need for toll booth-style exit lanes for lots at O'Hare International Airport, according to a story in Sunday editions of the Chicago Sun-Times (http://bit.ly/KDnaDC). Drivers would be able to use their cell phones to find empty spaces and credit cards to pay before they exit, instead of waiting to pay attendants during peak travel times.
O'Hare has about 25,000 spaces, including nearly 9,300 in the main garage.
The dozens of exit lanes handle about 20,000 transactions daily. Between all the lots, there were about 3.4 million paid exits in 2010, according to the newspaper.
However, Chicago Department of Aviation spokeswoman Tammy Chase described the airport's current parking facilities as 'pretty out of date.'
'If you think of how the parking garages operate downtown, at Navy Pier, etc., that's what the new parking system would look like,' Chase said. 'We'd have those machines that allow customers to pay before they exit or allow them to insert a credit card when they arrive and use the same credit card to exit.'
Last fall, city officials hired a consultant to design a new five-level economy parking structure to be shared by rental cars and public parking, the Sun-Times reported. The city also is building a new, $393 million rental car campus there, financed by an $8 fee for renting a car at O'Hare.
Although nothing has been set in stone when it comes to O'Hare, officials have been modernizing parking at other city locations.
The Chicago Transit Authority, which oversees the city's train and bus system, recently added a feature that allows riders at some train stations to pay for parking via cell phones, eliminating the need for cash.
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