Can't find parking in Paris? Get out your cellphone

This seems like an interesting and (hopefully) helpful service. A new system will be debuting in Paris that will allow drivers to find out if there are spaces available in about 120 public parking garages from their cellphones. Eight companies have gotten involved in the project, including the two leading French mobile networks--Orange and CFR.

The idea is to improve traffic flow in the city by giving drivers access to real-time information that provides the status of a garage, whether there are spaces available or filled to capacity. Orange customers will be able to access the database for free from their cellphones. There already is talk of expanding the service to other European cities and countries, including, Britain, Spain, and Italy. In addition, a company based in Massachusetts, SpotScout, is working on building a virtual marketplace for parking spaces in cities such as Boston, New York, and San Francisco, again via the use of cellphones.

As we all know, parking is a premium in big cities, and any service that can help us park our cars and go about our business is a good thing. The fact that we can use our cellphones to help in the process is a big plus.

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