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Use smart parking meters to top up ConnectCards and Healthy Ride accounts

Pittsburgh's 1000+ smart parking meters could be used to make transit and bikeshare more equitable with a software update.

Photo of Adams Carroll
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Technology can make transportation faster, easier, and more environmentally friendly. Port Authority's ConnectCard has sped up boarding times across Pittsburgh. Healthy Ride's fleet of smart bikes has gotten people out of their cars for short trips. These two agencies have collaborated to create the country's first bikeshare-transit integration, allowing any transit user to unlock a bike for free just by tapping their ConnectCard.

Technology can also make transportation less accessible. Advocates have urged the Port Authority to add more ConnectCard machines (http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2018/03/19/poverty-pittsburgh-cash-fare-port-authority-connectcards-public-transit/stories/201803180010). Bike share systems across the country have struggled to create a user friendly cash payment option (http://betterbikeshare.org/2016/04/07/arlington-bike-share-offered-cash-payment-system-nobody-used/).

The Parking Authority has more than 1000 cash payment terminals installed across the city. With a software update, users could type in their ConnectCard number or log in to their Healthy Ride account and then add cash value. Later, the Parking Authority could add RFID readers to their meters, enabling Google Pay and Apple Pay as well as adding the ability to top up a ConnectCard just by tapping it on a parking meter and inserting cash. Working together, these three agencies could make transportation in PIttsburgh more equitable and more convenient at a minimal cost.

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Photo of Aly Stone

Hi Adams, welcome and thanks for the post! Since we're approaching the end of the explore phase, where we are trying to get more of an idea of the experiences Pittsburghers are having with transit, I'll ask you to tell us about how your experience of using the current cash meters has been. Time consuming? Otherwise, thanks for posting up the idea. I'll be interested in seeing what others think.
-Aly, community facilitator