Nick Nyhan, one of Roadify's founders, recently told The New York Daily News that the idea for the service was born out of his own thwarted experiences looking for parking spots in the neighborhood. By employing crowd-sourcing techniques, Nyhan hopes that Roadify evolves into a robust database of available parking spaces kept current by participating drivers' real-time updates.
According to the company's Twitter feed, more than 300 drivers registered for the service in its first week of launch. Proponents of the service point to the time-saving and traffic-reducing potential of the system as big wins for both individual drivers and the community.
But not everyone is convinced that technology is the panacea for this particular problem. Several commenters on the Brooklynian blog voiced concerns about the dangers of texting while driving (Roadify discourages this practice, and asks users to pull over before they text), as well as the logistical headaches that could ensue if multiple drivers receive the same alert for an available parking spot. One commenter objected to the idea on environmental grounds, and said the focus should be on "decreas[ing] the number of cars in the hood," rather than accommodating drivers' parking needs.
Roadify is the latest entry in an increasingly crowded field of web- and mobile-based services attempting to address the eternal dilemma of parking space (or lack thereof). Other noteworthy sites servicing the New York metropolitan area include ParkAtMyHouse.com, which pairs property owners with empty driveways and garages with drivers needing someplace to park, and PrimoSpot.com, which identifies prime parking spots in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens (as well as Boston and Hoboken, NJ) with Google maps and an extensive database of parking signs.