eBay for Parking Spaces

A new company is trying to create an eBay for parking spaces.

Finding a parking spot often requires drivers to summon their inner caveman: Scan the horizon for the target, then bag it before someone else does.

A startup company is betting it can chip away at that anachronism and transform the search for parking just as eBay Inc. changed auctions. SpotScout Inc. hopes to create an online marketplace where drivers armed with mobile phones can not only reserve private spaces in garages and driveways, but also swap public parking spots in real time, with vacant spaces going to the highest bidder.


SpotScout envisions drivers posting information about their planned departure times and offering the space to the highest bidder. Garages and owners of driveway spaces periodically left vacant also will offer reservations by posting information about times when spots will be empty — a process the company calls “SpotCasting.”

If they can actually make this work, it’d be a blessing in major metropolitan areas. As with all innovations, though, there are winners and losers. Presumably, the people who own parking garages are not rooting for SpotScout to succeed.

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, Science & Technology
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Rob says:

    “Boston Transportation Commissioner Thomas Tinlin said he worries about setting up “a system of the haves and the have-nots.”” That’s rich! Boston has already done this by making it cost prohibitive to operate a car there. Same goes for San Francisco. This story is interesting, but it’s really more of a sad commentary on the real impact of systematic anti-car planning by cities like Boston and San Francisco.

  2. This is a great idea!

  3. Bandit says:

    ‘the people who own parking garages are not rooting for SpotScout to succeed.’

    The garages will be fine – like Rob said above it’s public transportation that would take the hit. I’d drive everyday if I could park near work for less than $200/month.

  4. John Burgess says:

    Somebody needs to teach me why it’s a good idea for a private entrepreneur to charge someone (including me) for something for which I’ve already paid for through my taxes.

    Restrict it to private lots and driveways? No problem. On-street parking? I want my taxes rebated.

  5. James Joyner says:

    On-street parking? I want my taxes rebated.

    They’re not charging for the space, though, just information about when one’s coming available. Then again, this presumably means someone is holding the space while you’re getting there.