Parking Space Wars

This is a story that I wasn’t planning on telling anyone, but I was invited recently to propose a technological project that relates to traffic issues, which are very severe in my city. This brought this to my mind. The story begins with me waking up very early so I could arrive around 6 a.m. every morning to work.

I had a different, but related problem at the same time, due to a lack of parking spots at the office where I worked some time ago. A person bought a new car and decided to start taking my sport, which was conveniently located right next to the office’s entrance.

I was having none of that, so we started this passive-aggresive (but friendly) competition for this parking spot. Soon, a few people followed suit in seeking this parking space, including my boss (who is also one of my best friends). I started then registering data on Twitter to make it a bit more fun. The logic was as follows:

  • A hashtag (#s) to record my departure and arrival times.
  • Another one to register the result (W = win, L = lose).
  • A time modifier in case it was necessary (i.e. I had forgotten to record data on time).

Take this tweet for example, on a day with a loss (they were painful!)

My friend were having a good time with it:

In the end, I used Twitter’s API to fetch and R to analyze the data. Did I learn something? Not really from the data, but from using simple modifiers on Twitter to record activity and results. I think that a useful application can be used to encode situations like those of disaster response.