In a way, I think of Nicole and I as being two peas in a pod. We both saw a common problem and went about trying to solve it. The problem was the ridiculously confusing parking signs in urban areas. She attacked it with her background in design by creating signs that simplified sometimes six contradictory signs into one simple one, while I applied technology and created an app, Park Safe LA.
Sylianteng’s innovation was soon recognized in the popular media with articles appearing in The Atlantic, Wired Magazine, and Gizmodo among others. People in the world of traffic and transportation have taken notice too.
Recently, councilmember Paul Krekorian, of district 2 in Los Angeles, recently put forward a motion for a test program of Nicole’s signs. Exactly what districts will be testing the signs out remains to be seen, but sources close to the issue say a number of Councilmembers are jockeying for the opportunity to ease the parking sign burden in their districts with Sylianteng's signs. Vancouver also recently approached Nicole and it appears to only be a matter of time before everyone discovers the simplicity of these signs.
As Sam Cook once sang, “A change is gonna come.” This change in the world of parking innovation is far overdue. “We don’t need tons of money to do a digital system,” Sylianteng explains. “We need simpler signs.” She makes a lot of sense. While people like me are trying to make it easier to understand complicated signs with technology, Sylianteng turned the entire problem on its’ head by reimagining the actual signs from scratch.
Sam Morrissey formerly the City Traffic Engineer of Santa Monica and currently Associate Vice President for the traffic analytics company Iteris warns though that changing signs can involve a lot of state and federal regulations that could take years. This means these signs may initially be used as supplements to existing signs. Either way though, it’s exciting to see innovation and truly great ideas applied to a once impenetrable problem.
It still remains to be seen what cities will signup to actually implement Nicole’s signs after these test programs are completed, but change is definitely coming and Nicole Sylianteng is absolutely a part of the solution.
Follow Nicole's adventure in the world of parking signs at To Park or Not To Park.