- Pittsburgh International Airport will partner with Carnegie Mellon University’s Metro21: Smart Cities Institute on new projects and innovations for the aviation industry.
- Allegheny County Airport Authority CEO Christina Cassotis and CMU President Farnam Jahanian signed a Memorandum of Understanding allowing CMU faculty and students from the institute to work on the projects.
- "Innovation is in our DNA in this region and for our airport to reflect the community it serves, it also needs to be part of the airport," County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said in a statement.
Already, the airport and university have partnered on a series of projects to make the airport a smarter establishment. That includes helping identify empty parking spots, understanding the flow of people through the airport and developing a smartphone-based navigation system to help the visually impaired, akin to an app for the blind by Microsoft.
What is striking about this partnership is that, as Pittsburgh looks to become a smarter city, it is clearly looking at how to enable people from around the globe to take advantage of what it has to offer. By focusing on how its airport can be improved and how outsiders can access the city, Pittsburgh is enhancing its long-term growth and attracting new residents and visitors. "Pittsburgh International Airport plays a critical role in our economy and shares our vision for making the Pittsburgh region a model for communities across the world," Jahanian said.
Similar work is underway at other city airports across the country. Los Angeles International Airport is set for a new electric people-mover system, while autonomous vehicles (AVs) have been tested at Heathrow Airport in London and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport is considering an express train service. Airport innovation will continue to benefit cities, as it makes them more welcoming to residents and visitors, and especially leaves a good first impression.