03/08/2016Tech Launch ArizonaUA Startup Metropia to Help Tucson Festival of Books Attendees Arrive and Park
Tucson, AZ

Tucson, Ariz. — The Tucson Festival of Books takes place on March 12th and 13th on the University of Arizona campus, and while the entire community is thrilled about this annual assembly of desert bibliophiles, impending traffic congestion seems sure to follow. Supported by partnerships with UA Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) and Pima Association of Governments, homegrown traffic solution app, Metropia, is determined to alleviate gridlock by getting attendees to and from the festival with less fuss.

Metropia’s free mobile app launched one year ago in the city of Tucson. Tech Launch Arizona, the office of the UA that helps move inventions stemming from University research from the lab to the market, worked with Yi-Chang Chiu, Ph.D., associate professor of transportation in the Department of Civil Engineering in the UA College of Engineering, to patent the invention – an app that leverages a citywide ecosystem of local government, employers, and merchants to provide their traffic solution – and license it to Metropia.

The Metropia app will display paid, unpaid, and disabled parking lot icons during the festival. App users will be able to select a specific available parking lot as their new destination, thus reducing overall travel time to the festival. Metropia is also encouraging carpooling to the festival with their mobile app’s new DUO (short for Driving Up Occupancy) mode. Drivers and passengers can collect reward points by sharing a ride to the event.

The Tucson Festival of Books marks the debut for Metropia’s partnership with UA Parking and Transportation Services - a collaboration designed to enhance fan experiences for sporting and community events, including timely parking lot fees and availability, traffic control plans and traffic condition information. The Metropia app will incentivize future event attendees to actively reduce UA traffic. Drivers using the app will receive relevant and timely information on traffic conditions while they earn reward points toward gift cards for Amazon, Starbucks, Bookmans Entertainment Exchange, Fed by Threads, R Bar Energy, and many more businesses, both local and national.

In Tucson, local government support is provided by PAG (Pima Association of Governments), which uses Metropia data to assess traffic congestion hotspots in the region. The City of Tucson and University of Arizona are applying Metropia data as well in a Grant Road traffic study to better understand the level of congestion before and after Grant Road construction. Local merchants and businesses that contribute rewards for the MyMetropia store, such as Fed by Threads, R Bar Energy, and now Bookmans Entertainment Exchange, have also driven the community’s involvement in driving a better city.

Festival of Books attendees are invited to download the free Metropia app, carpool to the festival, locate a parking spot, and then visit Metropia at Booth #103. The Metropia team will be on site to answer questions and Metropia users are eligible to “Spin the Wheel” to win more Metropia points and prizes.

About UA Parking and Transportation Services

PTS is a department of the University of Arizona whose mission is to provide a variety of transportation options to students, faculty, staff, and visitors of the University. PTS aims to provide these users with equitable and quality service within the scope of available resources. Some of the goals of this department include improving accessibility and mobility throughout campus and utilizing environmentally sound methods to meet transportation demands. More information may be found on the PTS website: parking.arizona.edu.

About Metropia, Inc.

Metropia, headquartered in Tucson, Arizona, is a GovTech 100 company whose mission is to make cities better places to live by reducing traffic congestion. The Metropia mobile platform incentivizes commuters to make better travel decisions independently and through casual carpooling with the DUO feature. The Metropia app is available for free through the Apple App Store and Google Play. To learn more, visit www.metropia.com or Booth #103 during the Tucson Festival of Books.