The Des Moines International Airport Authority Board has approved a new system that will tell drivers, in real time, how many parking spots are available on each level of the parking ramp.

The system also will have lights on each stall — red when it is occupied and green when it’s not. Baker Group won the contract to use the Indect system in a $140,000 proof of concept in the hourly and premium parking areas in the north garage. If it works well, the system will be installed across the whole ramp system, at a cost of $678,000. 

Kevin Foley, airport general manager and executive director, said the system will help the airport use its spaces more efficiently. Now, there are times when signs tell drivers there are spots available, then they can’t find an empty stall. Other times, there may be a few open, but the sign says the ramp is full.

The Indect system uses ultrasonic technology to monitor how many spaces are available at any given time. That means a driver may see an entrance sign that says the first level is full but the second level has 20 spaces open, for example.