ParkPGH Receives National Transportation Award

The Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) today recognized the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust for deploying the city’s first “smart” parking solution and the nation’s first predictive parking app to direct drivers to available parking spots, helping to reduce congestion and delays in downtown Pittsburgh.

Kevin McMahon, President and CEO of The Pittsburgh Cultural, was presented with the ITS America Smart Solution Spotlight award in recognition of ParkPGH, 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, calculates the number of parking spaces available in Cultural District garages every 30 seconds and delivers available locations to drivers through an iPhone application, a traditional website, a mobile website, text messaging, and through a call-in telephone service.

“The ParkPGH app takes the guess work out of trip planning and gives motorists more time to enjoy the wonderful attractions in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District,” said Scott Belcher, President and CEO of ITS America.  “ITS America is excited to recognize this collaborative pairing of technology and mathematics which has resulted in a consumer friendly and useful tool for drivers and merchants in downtown Pittsburgh.”

Unlike parking apps available in other urban areas that rely only on real-time information, ParkPGH also includes a predictive parking component.  The predictive parking algorithm uses historical parking trends and current events to predict parking minutes to hours in the future. The predictive parking algorithm, designed by Dr. Robert Hampshire of the Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College, allows drivers to plan the timing of their trips to find an available parking space.  This research was supported by Carnegie Mellon University’s Traffic21 Initiative ( funded by the Hillman Foundation.

“ParkPGH is a perfect example Henry Hillman’s vision in funding Traffic21 at Carnegie Mellon University, which is taking cutting edge research and working with public and private partners to improve transportation in Pittsburgh through deploying technology,” said Dr. Robert Hampshire of Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College.

Currently, 10 parking lots are transmitting real-time information to five Alco Parking-managed garages (Theater Square, 6th and Penn Avenue, Convention Center, Three PNC Plaza, Town Place) and five Pittsburgh Parking Authority Garages (Grant Street Transportation Center, Ft. Duquesne and 6th Street, Smithfield & Liberty, 9th and Penn Avenue).  The ParkPGH system monitors more than 5,300 spaces and 25% of garage parking in Downtown Pittsburgh, serving two million visitors to
the Cultural District annually and approximately 149,700 daily

“The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is thrilled to accept this national recognition on behalf of the many partners throughout the city who have helped the Cultural Trust implement this exciting technology,” noted Kevin McMahon. “In particular, I’d like to acknowledge Bill Benter for his support to develop the use of smart technologies to ease congestion and to enhance the vitality of our region.”

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

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.

About the Intelligent Transportation Society of America
ITS America is the leading advocate for ITS technology development
and deployment in the United States.  ITS America was established in 1991 as a not-for-profit organization to foster the use of advanced technologies across America’s surface transportation system.  Members include private companies and industry leaders, government agencies at all levels, universities and research laboratories.  For more information, visit