Think you should illegally park in a disabled spot? Think again.

Parking Mobility is an app designed to let anyone document and report violations.

The app, which is available in iPhone and Android versions, has been downloaded 150,000 times already, and local governments are starting to take notice.

If you live in Hays County, Texas, you can take a short course to become a volunteer parking inspector and start issuing violators with a $500 fine.

All a person needs to do is take three pictures of the car and submit the photos to Marsh's nonprofit, Parking Mobility. It then sends the details on to the county.

By photographing the transgressors, creator Mack Marsh, who is himself disabled, hopes to build awareness of the problem across the country.

"The data is a really helpful because it shows the extent of the problem in communities. It lets us demonstrate and get support to address it," he says.

2014-05-05

Co.Exist

Become A Vigilante With This App That Lets You Report Cars In Handicapped Spaces

Call it a dose of citizen justice. Parking Mobility allows everyday people to help police catch those who make the lives of the disabled harder.

Mack Marsh knows what happens when someone parks illegally in a disabled parking space. Disabled himself, he's gone to the hospital three times as a direct result of someone taking his spot.

One time, he was forced to the back out of a parking lot and was run over by a truck (the driver didn't see him because he was in his wheelchair). Another time, it was a big van that crashed into him. Another time, someone parked too close, leaving him unable to get into his vehicle (he got heatstroke while waiting for the driver to return, and passed out).

Which is to say, it's no joke when someone parks in your space and you're disabled.

Marsh, though, is doing something about the people who don't care. He's created an app that lets people photograph offenders and report them to the authorities. The app, which is available in iPhone and Android versions, has been downloaded 150,000 times already, and local governments are starting to take notice.

If you live in Hays County, Texas, you can take a short course to become a volunteer parking inspector and start issuing violators with a $500 fine. Call it citizen justice. All a person needs to do is take three pictures of the car and submit the photos to Marsh's nonprofit, Parking Mobility. It then sends the details on to the county. Another major Texas city is set to adopt the program in the next few weeks, he says.

By photographing the transgressors, Marsh hopes to build awareness of the problem across the country. "The data is a really helpful because it shows the extent of the problem in communities. It lets us demonstrate and get support to address it," he says.

His biggest challenge is convincing cities to pay attention. "A lot of decision-makers aren't directly affected by the problem, and they still don't realize accessible parking is an issue," he says.

The next step is to interest more cities and counties into accepting citizen-submitted photos, and to generate funding for more community education. In Hays, the Parking Mobility app has already led to a 80 percent reduction in offenses in six months, Mack says.

"With our community education program, people know those spots are important," he adds. "And they know that there are people out there with smartphones who care about their community."

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7 Comments

  • As someone who works with people with non visible medical conditions, I think this is atrocious. I know many young, healthy looking people who have severe, limiting disabilities that affect mobility. People have told me stories about individuals harassing them when they parked just because they don't look disabled. I don't think this is a good idea for those folks who are entitled and need disabled spots but don't necessarily look like it.

  • Eddy Blaine Brown II

    Well when it c ones to the mail truck they are exempt from traffic laws when delivery of 1st class US Mail is being done. You couldn't do anything even if he was in the fire lane blocking a fire hydrant.

  • Brian Beck

    OVER IDIOTIC ILL-OBSERVANT MISCREANT, HOW WOULD YOU DESCEND FROM A HANDICAPPED EQUIPMENT CARRYING VEHICLE, THE MAJORITY OF WHICH PROVIDE ACCESS TO THE EQUIPMENT FROM THE PASSENGERS SIDE WITH THESE "BIKES" THERE? STUPIDITY IS NOT A DISABILITY!

  • Virginia Miller Matteson

    If you notice the Van part on the picture of the sign above. It says van accessible. What most idiots do not realize is that those with Vans for people with special needs require an 8 foot clearance to be able to get the person with special needs out of the vehicle. Next time you want to call someone an idiot do your own research.

  • Brian Beck

    I think it's important tho putt stupid people in their place, I think you would like my response also.