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Innovation & Startups

Running late to a show? ParkPGH is the city's first smart parking app

Finding a last-minute parking spot on the night of a show just got easier with the region's first "smart" parking solution launched this week by The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

ParkPGH (that's Park P-G-H) is a tech-based strategy that gives users up-to-the-minute information on parking space availability in the Cultural District in one of five ways: iPhone app, mobile website, website, text messaging and a call-in phone service. Eight parking lots are participating and the remaining Cultural District garage, located at 9th and Penn Avenue, will be added in January 2011.

"I'm a regular attendee and it occurred to me that one of the big psychological impediments (to coming into the city for a show) is uncertainty about the parking," says Bill Benter, president of The Benter Foundation, who helped fund the project. "We're looking to make this a less stressful experience for all."

By January, ParkPGH.org will give patrons access to information on the more than 5,300 spaces in the Cultural District, which makes up 25% of all the parking in the city. The easy-to-use site  color-codes the garages in three ways: near capacity, approaching capacity or availability. If all goes well, the program will be expanded for citywide use.

The program was built by Deeplocal with assistance from the Pittsburgh Parking Authority, Alco Parking, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, Hillman Foundation and Numeritics. ParkPGH is designed to integrate with a larger project, Traffic21, a Carnegie Mellon initiative that is developing and deploying an intelligent transportation system that hopes to brand the region internationally as a place for "smart transportation."

"We want to make it available to the broadest possible audience," says Marc Fleming, vice president of marketing for The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Marc Fleming, The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust; Bill Benter, The Benter Foundation

Image courtesy of The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

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