This Space For Rent: China's First Parking Spot Search Engine

An innovative, real time parking space management system instituted by a Beijing suburb is helping to match inbound drivers with rental parking spaces.

The parking space guidance system, known as Nestca, offers commuters a digital map displaying up to 25,000 available parking spaces in the Beijing suburb of Balizhuang. These aren't spaces in parking lots – rather, they're private parking spaces left empty when their owners drive off to work each morning.

Commuters entering Balizhuang have, up to now, been faced with a stressful, time-consuming daily quest to find a parking place. Nestca allows these commuters to connect directly to the owners of the spaces while providing a map that pinpoints the parking space's location. The need for such a system has become critical: China's rapid industrialization and the growth of a mobile workforce has produced a boom in vehicle ownership... parking lots are currently in catch-up mode.

Nestca was designed to be user-friendly, allowing users a number of ways to navigate based on their personal preferences and needs. Parking spots can be searched by neighborhood and can display free or rental spots, for example. Nestca's digital map is easy on the eyes, highlighting available spaces while displaying the monthly rent and the space owner's contact details.

Nestca is a joint venture between the Balizhuang sub-district office and a private company. According to Qi Jianzong, Nestca's office director, “It is based on the reality that a large amount of parking spaces are left unused by the local owners who drive out for work early, while the people who drive here battle for parking every morning.”

Though the initial launch of Nestca only locates available rental parking spaces in the vicinity of Chaoyang District's Central Business District, the concept will likely be expanded to wider areas of China's capitol and to the nation's other fast-growing cities as time goes by. (via People's Daily Online)