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Parking prices in the Penn Quarter and Chinatown neighborhoods will soon fluctuate based on how many parking spaces are available in the area. The Department of Transportation announced today that it would launch a pilot program in 2015 that will employ demand-based pricing in the hopes of pushing drivers to “underutilized” parking spots.

The program would apply to all 1,300 metered on street-parking spaces in the area, which are bound by H Street NW, E Street NW, 12th Street NW, and 3rd Street NW.

As part of the program, all single-space meters will accept credit cards. Clusters of parking spots that are paid through one central meter will now be pay-by-space, rather than the current pay-and-display formats. That means drivers will have to note the space number before paying for it, but will not have to walk back to their car to display the receipt in the windshield.

Drivers will also be able to access real-time parking information on an app to determine how many spaces are available in the area. In order to achieve this, DDOT will be testing out a number of parking space occupancy detection technologies, including sensors and fixed and movable cameras. A similar program has already launched in San Francisco.

Starting in early 2015, D.C. drivers will start seeing new parking meters and parking signage. The pricing changes won’t start until the summer of 2015. DDOT has not yet released the price range for the new system.

“Based on typical usage levels, meter prices will be adjusted quarterly to encourage shorter stays on high-demand blocks and incentivize use of lower-demand blocks,” a DDOT press release read. “The pilot will be completed at the end of 2016 with a full evaluation of the project’s impact. Lessons learned from the pilot will help outline eventual deployment throughout the District.”

Photo by Wayan Vota via via Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0.