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Innovation & Startups

ParkPGH best urban parking app in the country

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's mobile parking app, ParkPGH, directs theatre-goers to open parking spots so efficiently it was recognized as one of the smartest parking solutions in the country.

Touted as an innovative model for urban traffic congestion, the designation was bestowed by the Washington, D.C.-based Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITSA). 
Rolled out last December, ParkPGH offers users both real-time and predictive information on available parking spots through a mobile website, an iPhone app and texting. (Predictive information is not available by phone call.)

The beauty of the app is theater-goers can check the predictive data earlier in the day and devise a parking strategy based on estimated arrival times; real-time information can be accessed on the fly when patrons get to the Cultural District.  
What impressed ITSA the most was the public-private partnership behind the initiative that made it happen, says Scott Belcher, president and CEO of ITS. 
"It's a great model," says Belcher. "This is how transportation problems today are going to get solved. Thirty percent of all urban congestion is people looking for parking. We need to remedy this."
Unlike other urban apps, the predictive component relies solely on real-time information, he adds. ParkPGH uses historical data and algorithms to accurately predict where available parking spots should be within a 30-minute time frame. The predictive system was designed by Dr. Robert Hampshire of CMU's Heinz College and supported by CMU's Traffic21 Initiative and the Hillman Foundation.
ParkPGH monitors more than 5,300 spaces and 25% of garage parking in Downtown Pittsburgh, serving two million visitors to the Cultural District annually and about 149,700 daily commuters.
The app was built by Pittsburgh-based DeepLocal and made possible through: The Benter Foundation, Traffic21, Pittsburgh Parking Authority, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, Hillman Foundation, Numeritics, and Alco Parking. 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust; Scott Belcher, ITSA

Logo courtesy of ParkPGH
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