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New app, Spotter, wants to be the Airbnb of driveway parking

In Providence, Spotter turns driveways into parking lots

There are few things in life more frustrating than the hunt for parking in a crowded ‘hood. But a pair of computer science students at Brown University are hoping to change all that with their newly launched app, Spotter.

The idea is simple: driveways often sit idle when their owners are at work or out of town, even as incoming drivers endlessly circle the block looking for a parking spot. Spotter lets homeowners rent out those unused driveways to motorists. The app helps to navigate drivers to their space and automatically charges them $1 an hour for the privilege of parking.

For now, the app only offers parking in Providence, Rhode Island, but its creators are amping up to roll it out elsewhere. They believe that it will not only earn a little extra cash for homeowners and make parking easier, but that the app will help improve city transportation by making its parking infrastructure easier to come by in crowded neighborhoods.

"Creating a more compact, dense city center is always advantageous to the city," said co-founder Albie Brown to Rhode Island Future. "We’d love to help turn some of those parking lots into parks."