PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – You might not think parking is a hot button topic across the country, but for the last few days, thousands of so-called parking professionals packed the David L. Lawrence Convention Center for the International Parking Institute’s annual meeting.

Roughly 3,000 people attended the conference in downtown Pittsburgh.

“Professionals that are integrating technology and customer service so that we can provide a much better experience,” International Parking Institute Chair Casey Jones said.

Through the years, the old-school parking meter got its own kind of makeover with solar panels and a credit card slot on the front. Now, more changes could be coming to the parking meter as we know it.

“We currently have the garages modernized, not so much the structural aspect, but the technology inside, and our goal is to modernize the street meters,” David Onorato with the Pittsburgh Parking Authority said.

Onorato said pay-by-phone meters that text you when your time is up are on the way. Companies also boast meters that look for you.

“We try to guide the motorists where you’re likely to find parking on the four-plus blocks,” Onorato said.

Streetline uses embedded sensors to find unused spots, then alerts you via iPad or smartphone

“The intent is to get people out of their cars and to their destination parked at the restaurant, visiting the local merchants,” Kelly Schwager said.

The future could mean automated car parks that act like a virtual valet, or parking meters that charge your electric car.

For now, it’s all about finding ways to park smartly.


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