Metro is starting a test program in early February at the Fort Totten Kiss and Ride lot that will allow users to see which spaces are available and for how long. Sensors will relay information in real time to Metro's Web site and the Parker App, which will be available at the station. If the yearlong pilot is successful, the technology may expand to lots around the system, Metro officials say.
"We were looking for ways where were can maximize our communication," Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel said.
Users can log on to the Metro Web site -- www.wmata.com -- when the program starts or download the Parker App on an iPhone or iPad to view availability in the 51 sensored spaces, Taubenkibel said.
The $1.99 Parker App by Streetline is currently only in Los Angeles, but will be available at the Fort Totten station in February, Streetline spokeswoman Annika Jensen-Lamka said.
"As soon as they lay down the sensors they will integrate the iPhone application," she said.
In addition to showing available parking spaces, the app provides space time limits, pricing and the type of payment accepted.
Frank DeBernardo, chairman of the Metro Riders' Advisory Council, said the initiative sounds like a good idea, particularly in the morning when parking is tough.
"Now when you're in a car and you have the option of going to two or more Metro stations, you're not playing roulette with trying to find which station might have more spots available for you," he said.
Metro is the largest parking provider in the District, with nearly 60,000 spaces.
"We have a lot of parking facilities that fill up daily," Taubenkibel said.
Taubenkibel said Metro may send out electronic alerts about available spaces in the future.
The Parker App was introduced in Hollywood in December and is expanding to several major cities this year, including New York, Jensen-Lamka said.