Searching for a parking spot—especially one in the city—can be infuriating, not to mention time-consuming.
Enter Northeastern alumnus Onur Erikoglu, E’12, and his cousin Caglar, who have developed a free crowdsourcing application to make the pursuit of the elusive parking spot easier and more efficient. Dubbed Parqt, the app lets users know when spots become available. It launched on Nov. 11 and has already racked up some 2,500 users in cities across the country.
“The main goal here is to create a community that solves the street parking problem,” Onur said. On a loftier note, he hopes the app could help “reduce our carbon footprint, because endless driving creates a lot of carbon emission.”
The idea took shape in the spring, when the young entrepreneurs became fed up with looking for parking spots in Boston for extended periods of time.
The app’s main feature allows users to set a parking timer when they “check in” to a new spot and advertise to other users where the spot will become available.
The app’s patent-pending technology uses a phone’s and car’s Bluetooth paired/unpaired information to record whether or not the spot is vacant.
“It’s a seamless experience,” Erikoglu explained. “It also captures where your car is parked so you won’t forget.”
Parqt users choose how much information about their car they want to share. They could choose to share only the location of the parking spot, or include the make, model, and color of their vehicle.
In order to incentivize people to use the app, those who “check in” to a spot will earn points that can be redeemed for gift cards. “Users are definitely more engaged when there is an incentive like this,” Erikoglu noted. “You will be rewarded by simply turning your car’s engine on and off.”
He learned about the power of incentives while on co-op with a Boston-based company that rewards manufacturing sites to decrease their electricity use.
“Northeastern really gave me an entrepreneurial view of the world and the tools I needed to go ahead with this idea,” he noted.