Friday, December 17, 2010

ParkPGH Innovative Parking Solution for Cultural District

FOR RELEASE: December 15, 2010

Media Contact:
Veronica Corpuz

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust unveils city’s first mobile “smart” parking solution for Cultural District garages

Pittsburgh, PA: This morning The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust launched the pilot program ParkPGH [Park P-G-H], the city’s first comprehensive “smart” parking solution that delivers real-time information about parking availability in all Cultural District garages. This technology-based program, funded by The Benter Foundation, delivers space availability by way of an iPhone application, a traditional website, a mobile website, text messaging, and through a call-in telephone service.

“One of the perceived barriers to the Cultural District has traditionally been access to parking,” said J. Kevin McMahon, President and CEO of The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. “Our goal in launching ParkPGH is to reduce stress for arts patrons, increase more impromptu visits to the District, decrease the number of latecomers to performances, and further improve the overall visitor experience of enjoying Downtown retail and entertainment.”

“The Benter Foundation is pleased to support development of these smart technologies to make parking easier in the Cultural District,” said Bill Benter, President of The Benter Foundation. “These applications will guide visitors to open spaces right when they’re needed, easing traffic congestion, reducing energy and making the Cultural District an even more inviting destination. This pilot should help to enhance the vitality of Pittsburgh.”

In the pilot phase, eight parking lots are currently transmitting real-time information: five Alco Parking-managed garages (Theater Square, 6th and Penn Avenue, Convention Center, Three PNC Plaza, Town Place) and four Pittsburgh Parking Authority Garages (Grant Street Transportation Center, Ft. Duquesne and 6th Street, Smithfield & Liberty). The Pittsburgh Parking Authority garage located at 9th and Penn Avenue will be added in January 2011, totaling more than 5300 spaces monitored by the ParkPGH system and representing 25% of garage parking in Downtown Pittsburgh. The program serves two million visitors to the Cultural District annually and approximately 149,700 daily commuters.

Once the initial phase is assessed, enhancements and plans for ParkPGH will extend to other areas for citywide use of the technologies. “ParkPGH is a great opportunity to highlight how Pittsburgh is deploying technology to advance intelligent transportation solutions. This pilot program is one aspect of a multidisciplinary approach that will help brand the region as a learning lab for smart transportation,” said Rick Stafford, director of Traffic21, a research initiative of Carnegie Mellon University.

“ParkPGH is an exciting initiative that figures into the city’s long-term transportation plan of MovePGH. The program helps to raise the national profile of Pittsburgh as a ‘smart transportation’ city that successfully showcases the collaboration among our cultural and educational institutions,” noted The Hon. Luke Ravenstahl, Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh.

In addition to The Benter Foundation and Traffic21, The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s ParkPGH program is made possible through and its partners: Pittsburgh Parking Authority, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, Hillman Foundation, Numeritics, and Alco Parking. ParkPGH was built by Deeplocal.


ParkPGH operates on a system that calculates the number of parking spaces available in Cultural District garages every 30 seconds. Patrons who use the system will know the capacity of each garage through a Green/Yellow/Red grade and a numerical update for the number of spaces available.


A free iPhone app is available at the iPhone App Store. The app features a scrollable view, listing each available parking lot and its parking space availability along with Cultural District destinations. The information can be manually refreshed by the end-user. Clicking on the parking lot will reveal more information, such as address, map and pricing. Patrons can view a map with each parking space and availability as well as the user’s current location (if GPS is enabled). This will help visitors to pick the closest parking lot to their location.

The website,, offers a web page with a list of parking lots and their parking space availabilities. Clicking on a lot will provide the user with an address, map, and options to get directions to the parking lot. Pricing information will also be displayed.

In addition to parking garage information, popular destinations will also be displayed so that visitors can locate their targeted destination and find the closest available parking.

Mobile Website

A mobile version of the website,, provides the same information as the traditional website but will be optimized for all mobile devices, including Blackberries and Andriod Phones.


Visitors can text PARKING to 412-423-8980 to obtain a list of downtown parking lots.


Similar to the SMS offering, visitors may call 412-423-8980 to receive a list of parking lots with available space. A text-to-speech system will announce the parking lot names and the available spaces for each lot.


The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a non-profit organization whose mission is the cultural and economic development of Pittsburgh’s 14-block Cultural District through public and private support. The Trust presents and encourages diverse performing and visual arts programs within the District, and is an impetus for additional development in downtown Pittsburgh.

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