So I found this parking meter one day exploring in France. Having studied a little about parking I was fascinated. One of the goals of parking meters is to encourage turnover to allow lots of people to visit the area. In France, you sometimes run into timed parking (limited to 1 to 4 hours) with a similar goal. The “old-school” way of doing that was to have a little disk you would put on your dash, showing when you showed up (and by extension, when you could park there till). It took me a while to figure out the system (they paint the lines green for those spots) and then once I had it figured out, I never had a disk with me. So when I spotted these machines, I thought they were genius! They tell you right away how long you can park in the spot and how much time you have left. As a “bonus,” it makes if far easier for the Meter Maid to see in a hurry who has overstayed their welcome.
I only saw it in the middle of the day but you could easily extend the idea to provide different parking rules throughout the day (for example, to allow people to park overnight) or to provide remote supervision, allowing Meter Maids only to be dispatched to over-parked cars, or maybe even to issue photo parking tickets without anyone actually having to be there!
Below is another picture of the whole machine in context.
Model: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSI
Lens ID: EF-S 18-55mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 IS
Exposure: 1/50 sec
Focal Length: 44 mm
Flash Used: No
Filter(s): HOYA UV(0)
Date and Time Original: 2011:04:22 14:46:09