The promise of convenience is one of the greatest factors that draws us towards new technologies. Whether it's a griddler that saves us from having to barbecue in the rain, a device that allows us to transport thousands of songs and videos in just a few square inches of storage space, or any of the other great technological advancements of our world, it's clear that convenience is in high demand.
As it turns out, convenience is also quite the motivational force when it comes to getting people to obey the rules. To verify that claim, all one has to do is look at Toronto Police Service parking ticket data from both before and after it introduced its Green P mobile parking app to drivers.
In the 10 months prior to the app's introduction, the city issued approximately 261,000 parking tickets. During the 10 months immediately after the app's release, only 200,000 tickets were issued, representing a 29 per cent decline.
"[It's] most likely due to convenience, no need for change or credit card, the expense reports available for reimbursement on application and e-mail notification when time is due to expire," said Brian Moniz, parking enforcement supervisor for Toronto Police. "There's much more compliance."
That's certainly a win for civil obedience. However, from the city's perspective, compliance does have one major drawback. If more people are paying for parking, it also means there's less opportunity to fine drivers who choose not to pay. Since the money generated from fines is substantially greater than the costs of a parking session, there has been a significant loss of revenue since the Green P app arrived—$1.5-million, to be exact.
Losing money is a hard pill for the city of Toronto to swallow. But if a reduction in offenders means that the municipal government will eventually have to employ less parking officers, then the app could end up providing value after all.