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Transportation and Parking gets SMART

Transportation and Parking Services makes some changes geared towards improving parking technology on campus.

Lehigh’s Transportation and Parking Services is taking great strides this year in applying technology to simplify and ease parking and transportation. The new campaign, which is called the SMART campaign, officially launched this summer with the installation of the SMARTmeter.

The SMARTmeters are color-coded and have a press for free time button, meaning that users can press the meter button for five minutes of free parking. This gives users five free minutes to accomplish a short task or to get change to feed the meter.

Chris Christian, director of Transportation and Parking, deems the free time button to be a nice benefit for Lehigh students, faculty, and staff. “This is the only meter on the market with this convenient feature,” he says. “Some of our meters on campus were 20 years old. It was due time for new ones.”

The SMARTmeter is not the only technological feature being introduced by the department. Additionally, the department is introducing the SMART Parking Card this semester. The SMARTcard will work in any of Lehigh’s meters and replaces the now obsolete cash key. The SMARTcard is similar to the cash key, except there is no need to pay the $10 deposit that was required for the cash keys. “Basically, the cards are easier to use and refill, and they also cost less to maintain,” Chris says.

For the first few weeks of the semester, SMARTcards will be sold for a discount (a $25.00 card for only $20.00), and then can be reloaded as needed. SMARTcards can be purchased by anyone from the Lehigh community and should be especially handy for parents, who can use them when they come to campus for family visits or sporting events. They are currently available at the Parking Office, Bookstore, and on the Parking website under “forms”.

Along with the two large changes above, Transportation and Parking Services has more ideas on improving services that they will be publicizing in the future. “We’re still doing a lot of research, but we’re looking into ways to improve our web site,” Chris says. “Down the road, we want to have some sort of technological system in place so students waiting at the bus stops can see if the buses are on time and so on. The new meters and SMARTcards are just the first step in some big plans we have in store for the community.”

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