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Building Innovation is a collection of stories by 90.5 fm WESA reporters about the Pittsburgh region focusing on efficient government operation, infrastructure and transportation, innovative practices, energy and environment and neighborhoods and community.

Parking Authority Launches Pay-By-Phone Option

Drivers can now reach for their smartphones to pay for city parking rather than coins or credit cards.

The Pittsburgh Parking Authority launched a mobile payment option Thursday. Users download the Go Mobile PGH app on their smartphone and register their license plate and credit card numbers. Drivers enter the zone number found on a sign located at the nearest kiosk and how long they want to park there. Then the countdown on their phone begins.

Users can opt-in to receive an alert 15 minutes before their meter will expire with the option to add more time.

A ticket for an expired meter Downtown, in Oakland and Uptown is $40; tickets run $25 everywhere else in the city.

Mayor Bill Peduto said the alert will help people avoid tickets but also alert them to move their cars.

“It means we will utilize parking spaces in a much more efficient manner, opening up more spots so businesses have more customers,” he said.

Peduto said the Parking Authority wants to create a supply and demand pricing system in the city. The parking app is another way to monitor where areas of demand are.

The technology is free to the authority but users will be charged an 8 cent fee that goes to the app creator, Parkmobile.