Philadelphia Parking Authority has launched parking locator web service

The web service offered by the Philadelphia Parking Authority, which finds the closest, cheapest, available parking spot to your city destination, facilitates parking in the city of Philadelphia.
The Web program, available at the authority's site,, took a year and $600,000 to be crafted by Huntingdon Valley-based interactive design firm Refinery. It includes not only PPA parking lots and garages, but those of private firms as well.

"When you look at the amount of garages out there, I think it's important to bring both groups together here," Refinery CEO Andy Sullivan said of the service, which is offered free.

Of the city's 400-plus PPA and private garages, about 170 had signed up as of Wednesday and a total of more than 200 were expected to be onboard by Friday, said Richard Dickson, senior director of strategic planning for the Philadelphia Parking Authority.

screenshot ppa web site
Philadelphia_parking.jpg"People don't come to Philadelphia to park; you come to Philadelphia to enjoy the restaurants or museums or something like that," Dickson said. "We want to make parking a seamless part of that visit. You can concentrate on the fun thing you want to do, and we will concentrate on the parking so you can enjoy the city."

Users of the service can plug in their intended destination and in turn receive a listing of city garages and lots, their parking rates, amount of available spaces (including the number of handicap spaces), as well as their distance from the intended destination.

The next phase of the service will be linking users to driving directions, so users can get directions from their home to the lot or garage they choose to park in, Dickson said. PPA also intends to link its Web site to other city organizations and groups, such as the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.

"You could go to the [Web site] of the venue you want to attend, order tickets and then link to find parking," Dickson said.

In April, PPA began offering virtual parking services for the Philadelphia International Airport at its Web site. The service, which cost $125,000 to implement, allows users to put in information on the airline and flight number and find out the status of the flight, whether it's on time or delayed, and the closest, cheapest available parking spot.

About a month ago users were also given the ability to get parking reminders -- a service that calls them on the phone with a reminder to pick someone up at the airport, and it provides information on the status of the flight, its arrival gate and the closest available parking facility. The service was also designed by Refinery.

"It's there to, basically, make people's experience in Philadelphia better, so it's available all of the time," Sullivan said of PPA's round-the-clock free virtual parking services.
Philadelphia Parking Authority
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