New York City officials have announced that motorists will "soon" able to pay for parking by phone and via the internet. But there's still plenty of work to be done before paper receipts start disappearing from car dashboards. The city yesterday began searching for the company that can best offer drivers "a means to use their cell phones to pay for parking at all 14,000 parking meters across the five boroughs." And while it may be some time before a contract is awarded, local officials have already revealed a framework for how the system will work.

Motorists will be able to pay for parking using a smartphone app or by calling a toll-free number. From here, you'll enter a number displayed on the nearest muni meters to verify your car's location. NYPD traffic officers will be kept up-to-date on which vehicles are paid up thanks to live updates on their handheld ticketing devices. Adding extra time to your parking meter won't require a physical trip back to your car; you'll be able to re-up remotely by phone or with any internet-connected device. "Innovative solutions like these are making it easier for everyone to get around New York City and will be a boost for business across the five boroughs," said outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Bloomberg pointed to a successful pilot in the Bronx launched earlier this year as proof that New Yorkers are ready to embrace a convenient parking solution. But that pilot extends beyond just paying for a spot; it also includes embedded street sensors that can provide a real-time map of where and when parking is available. Officials believe a city-wide system could be in place by early 2015.