City Officials: Towing Companies ‘Going Rogue,’ Illegally Removing Cars

Alleged Tow Trap Caught on Camera in South Philly

Councilwoman targets illegal activities by Philly towing companies

Are drivers in South Philly getting towed because of a parking scam?

Philadelphia councilwoman wants to crack down on illegal towing

We met a journalist from PhillyVoice who described the problem of rampant illegal towing in Philly. Essentially, towing companies are towing cars parked in perfectly legal places, and disorganiztion at the city level is preventing the police from effectively handling the situation. In the meantime, we've made an application where Philadelphians can view city-sanctioned zones to park, past parking violations, and report first hand if their car was towed at a certain area.

What it does

Displays the places that are common to get a parking violation as well as streets where you can park safely with its hours and pay rates.

How we built it

We parsed open source data from Open Gov Philly and stored it in a MongoDB schema database, which our front end then used to call through to the google maps API to generate the interactive map.

Challenges we ran into

Government data is horribly organized (latitude and longitude got mixed up 25% of the time)

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We made it in like 8 hours

What we learned

There are lots of problems that we can solve if we look towards the resources given to us from the government. We don't consider a lot of everyday problems and asking non-engineers for inspiration was a great idea.

What's next for Parking Pal

We only used 10% of the data available - hoping to do some neat machine learning next

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