One of the worst things when traveling to and around big cities is the eternal quest for parking. Ford's latest phone app aims to lessen that burden. It's free, and you don't even have to own a Ford to use it.

The app is called FordPass, and after a quick registration of your email and address, you'll be presented with a map screen not unlike what you find in Apple or Google map programs. Provided that you've allowed it to use your location, it will automatically show the area where you are and look for parking garages. Those garages will be displayed on the map, and perhaps most helpfully, each garage shows its price as well. Considering how expensive garages can be, being able to compare prices at a glance without driving in circles is wonderful. Plus, once you've found a place to park, the app will give you an option to get directions and it will automatically load the address into your preferred map app to guide you there.

FordPass offers additional features for people dealing with a short supply of parking and want to claim a space ahead of time. Provided there are garages nearby that support the feature, it is possible to reserve a parking space using the app. We weren't able to try this out as there don't seem to be any garages that allow reserved spaces near our office. If you do find one, though, the app allows you to pay for the space, and it will store your billing info for future reservations.

In general, the app works quite well, though it isn't completely perfect. It seems that you can only pay for reserved parking through the app, meaning you'll still have to pay at the parking gate for normal garages. The app only shows parking in 160 cities so far, but more areas could be added in time. The app also only shows garage parking, and, though this may be a nitpick, doesn't seem to show available street parking. Google developed a program that would show open street parking, but it was dependent on people submitting that information to the app for others to use. It would be fantastic to see a similar feature in a later iteration of FordPass.

Even with these very minor quibbles, the app is still very helpful for either the big city dweller or visitor for finding parking and avoiding high prices. So for that ability alone, it's definitely worth the low, low price of nothing.

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