Inspiration

As a commuting student, parking is a major problem for me. I've been fined hundreds of dollars in citations and had my car towed. This is in large part due to a lack of clarity on the part of the school's parking administration. Had the school's parking website explicitly outlined which parking spots are available/off limits to me, these catastrophes could have been prevented. And so, I decided to build a website that clearly lays out which parking spaces are and are not available to students.

How it works

Submit a customized search query into the site and receive live satellite images and live traffic reports of UCSD parking spaces that match your preferences. Using quarterly data from UCSD Transportation Services, the site predicts which times would be most favorable for you to find parking based on where you wish to park, what type of permit you have, and the time of year. You can post solicitations for buying/selling permits and finding carpool partners on the site. You can also receive direct alerts about construction projects, availability of shuttles, and traffic congestion on the site.

Challenges I ran into

I felt very crunched for time. I was working alone and didn't have a partner to split up the work with. I hadn't slept in 48 hours and I consumed so much Mountain Dew that I nearly vomited during the competition. I didn't have time to code every single parking structure on campus into my website. If I had had more time, I would've made the site more flashy/aesthetically appealing. Check out my personal website for a demo of what I can do (aliciaguerra.com).

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

UCSD's parking site doesn't lay out parking/commuting info as clearly and efficiently as mine does. On UCSD's parking site (parking.ucsd.edu), you have to spend a lot of time digging around in different places just to find what you're looking for. While other groups' projects may be more fancy, I feel that my website benefits commuting students in a direct way - it'll save them lots of time and gas/citation money. If I'm given more time to fully develop it, I'm certain that it'll impact the commuter student body in a very positive way.

What I learned

Work with a group next time, don't drink so much Mountain Dew /eat so much junk food at hackathons, get enough sleep the night before, and prepare a project in advance!

What's next for UCSD Parking

This website will hopefully evolve into a mobile application (I'm fairly new to mobile development, so I doubt I would've finished an Android/iphone app in time). Note: Although HTML5 would've given my site a more "modern" look, it doesn't show up on older browsers such as IE9. That's why I didn't use it.

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