Oakland’s Drink for Pink 2017 Benefiting Susan G. Komen Pittsburgh

Oakland Business Improvement District’s annual Drink For Pink event was a pleasure and a success! We would like to thank the participants, donors, and all individuals who helped out. A very special thank you goes to Stack’d Burgers & Beer in Oakland for not only hosting the event, but also generously donating 100% of the tips, Blue Moon sales, and Pink Sangria sales to Susan G Komen Pittsburgh. Another set of thank you’s go to the four generous raffle donors: New Balance (who donated a full Susan G Komen custom running outfit), Fuel & Fuddle (who donated a tasty selection of beers), Pittsburgh Festival Opera (who donated two tickets to select performances), and Whimsy on Fifth (who donated a basket of goodies). Thanks to all of these efforts, OBID is proud to announce that we have raised over $2,250 for Susan G Komen Pittsburgh!
Thank you so much for your support to a very deserving non-profit organization who constantly works towards putting an end to breast cancer.

Click HERE for photos from the event.

OAKLAND FOR ALL: BEYOND ACCESSIBLE RAMP CRAWL 2017

Oakland For All: Beyond Accessible‘s annual Ramp Crawl was a success and we’d like to thank all of the attendees, participating ‘stops’, volunteers and sponsors that helped us make it possible! We were so glad to see everyone having a good time enjoying friends, drinks and the entertainment provided by Bill Shannon. Funds from the event will go toward providing Oakland businesses with technical assistance and the on-going advancement of the Oakland For All initiative.

Thank you so much for your support and helping us open a pathway to a community without barriers.

Click HERE for photos from the event.

Real-time Transportation Displays Keep Oakland’s Business District on the Move

PITTSBURGH – The Oakland Business Improvement District—in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh—is announcing the installation of TransitScreens in major Oakland property lobbies providing real-time information on multimodal public transportation to the thousands of daily Oakland commuters. This pilot project was funded by the University of Pittsburgh Office of the Vice-Provost for Research.

Designed as a business development initiative, Pittsburgh’s first publicly accessible multimodal transit screens aim to provide the public with current transportation data while attracting people to Oakland’s food and retail establishments. The screens have been installed at five Oakland locations: SkyVue Apartments, University of Pittsburgh’s Sennott Square Building, and UPMC’s Falk Medical Clinic, Montefiore and Presbyterian facilities, as part of the Pitt Smart Living Project. This first pilot phase of the project will also plan to install screens in Oakland’s retail storefronts as well.

Alexandros Labrinidis, Ph.D., and Kostas Pelechrinis, Ph.D., professors at the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Computer Science and School of Information Science respectively – soon to be part of the new School of Computing and Information – are currently leading the charge on this initiative and find Oakland to be the perfect place to have it take off. “This technology is the first of its kind in Pittsburgh; not many cities have this. Oakland is the perfect host and this is definitely a positive for its high-tech nature… We have five Oakland locations with the TransitScreen displays and there are spots still open for other local businesses to jump on board,” said Labrinidis. The University of Pittsburgh’s pilot grant covers the cost of a 42”-50” flat screen, Transitbox, and a one-year subscription service through TransitScreen – retailing at $3,000 per year.

“The TransitScreen technology combines information from Uber or Lyft, Healthy Ride, Pitt Shuttle, UPMC Shuttle, ZipCar, and Port Authority,” said Labrinidis. “The information shown on the screens is customized for each location giving information relative only to where you are at that moment… We look forward to the next step where we integrate all this data into a multimodal trip information and planning mobile app.”

Kannu Sahni, Director of Community Relations at the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Community & Governmental Relations, is proud of the University’s innovative endeavors. “The TransitScreen installations in Oakland and downtown as part of the Pitt Smart Living Project offers a great service to commuters by providing real-time transportation information. This project will also help expand the knowledge of researchers seeking to understand and design approaches to interfacing and interacting with commuters, and the challenges they face when utilizing various modes of transportation,” said Sahni.

“This project is yet another example of how the OBID will harness the talent of our vast university research community to bring Oakland’s public life into the digital age” said Georgia Petropoulos, Executive Director of the Oakland Business Improvement District. “Our retail and restaurants will benefit from new promotional activities designed to take advantage of transit riders waiting time.”

SkyVue Apartments, located at 3333 Forbes Avenue in Oakland, recently had the TansitScreen technology installed in their lobby to provide its residents access to the live-streaming information. “I am very excited to see this high-level technology in our community. TransitScreen efficiently assists our residents in getting to their destinations whether it be work, school or just out-and-about — not to mention, it keeps SkyVue on the cutting edge,” said Denissa Visconti, Community Manager.

Matt Caywood, Co-Founder and CEO of TransitScreen, finds Oakland to be the perfect place for this technology. “Oakland is one of the liveliest neighborhoods in Pittsburgh and even the country. With its dense clusters of small businesses and an active transportation network of public and private mobility services, it’s a neighborhood that needs to be served by TransitScreen’s public information, and a great place for testing new technology. We’re excited to expand TransitScreen service into Pittsburgh in collaboration with this dynamic team of urban computer scientists from the University of Pittsburgh.”

You can find more information about the displays and the Pitt Smart Living project at http://pittsmartlivingorg. If you are interested in having a TransitScreen display in your businesses or organization as part of the pilot project, please contact Alexandros Labrinidis at labrinid@cs.pitt.edu.

Dr. Alexandros Labrinidis is a professor at the Department of Computer Science of the University of Pittsburgh and an adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon University (CS Dept). He received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2002. Dr. Labrinidis’ research focuses on user-centric data management for scalable network-centric applications, including web-databases, data stream management systems, sensor networks, internet of things, and scientific data management. He has published over 90 papers at peer-reviewed journals, conferences, and workshops and is the recipient of an NSF CAREER award in 2008 on user-centric data management.

Dr. Kostas Pelechrinis is an Associate Professor at the School of Information Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of California at Riverside, while he also holds a 5-year undergraduate degree from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the National Technical University of Athens, Greece. His research is focused on network and data science. He is a recipient of the prestigious Young Investigator Award from the Army Research Office (2015) for his pioneering work on analyzing multi-dimensional networks.

 

Oakland Business District Pedestrian Count

Ped Count

To better understand the Oakland Business District’s market place, the OBID has requested the help of the University of Pittsburgh to do a pedestrian count in Central Oakland’s busiest corridor.  With the leadership and help of Mark Magalotti, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer and Codirector of the Center for Sustainable Transportation Infrastructure at the University, PYRO-Box pedestrian counters made by Eco-terCouns have been set up to collect data on foot and cycling traffic in the business district.

The counters record the number of pedestrians by direction and data is summarized per hour. Magalotti’s team anticipates running the counters for about two weeks, and the 24/7 information will then be compared to the manual counts of pedestrians the team is collecting during the district’s busiest times – lunch and dinner hours.  Magalotti’s team consists of MD Shakir Mahmud, a graduate student in the transportation engineering program, and Nathaniel Dirks, a graduate student who installed the pedestrian counters.

“This project has provided an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students in transportation engineering to gain experience in pedestrian data collection and understand the importance of measuring pedestrian activity levels as it related to urban business districts,” said Magalotti… “The project is being conducted as a public service project for OBID by the student chapter of the Institute of Transportation Engineers,” Magalotti continued.

Revv Oakland’s Startup Profile: TravelWits

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Co-founders: Arman Bimatov, Alla Safonova, Maxim Likhachev

Co-founders: Arman Bimatov, Alla Safonova, Maxim Likhachev

What does TravelWits do and what is its mission?
TravelWits.com allows you to book a last minute vacation or getaway much easier than any other travel website. Simply enter your budget, vacation theme, and desired time in transit then our website returns what we call TripKits.

TripKits are pre-built getaways that include the total cost of a trip such as the cost of the flight, hotel, airport parking, and Uber to the resort or hotel. Our website builds TripKits by looking at all transit options such as flying, driving, taking a train or bus, not to mention thousands of hotels and resorts.

People don’t often realize all their options because configuring the total cost of several trips is very time consuming. In addition to building the complete trip, we allow users to purchase the flight, train or bus ticket within the same checkout as the hotel.

TravelWits.com caters to people who want to find new vacation ideas without breaking the bank, or endlessly searching online. As for booking the vacation, TravelWits keep customers informed about pricing changes via email alerts so that when the price is right and moment is right TravelWits allows you to book the entire trip in one single checkout page.

How was the company born?
As founders we personally ran into this issue over and over: every few months we would schedule a weekend getaway, but routinely we had little time or desire to actually plan. Building a website that made it easy to travel last minute has been our main goal, and this came from our personal frustrations and shortcomings with current travel websites.

How long has TravelWits been around?
TravelWits is a young company in the startup phase and it has raised a seed round of funding from Innovation Works. This summer TravelWorks will move out of beta and will launch in four markets. You can checkout the beta product for these markets at:
Getaways from NYC
Getaways from Pittsburgh
Getaways from Boston
Getaways from Washington, DC

Why did you chose to locate in Oakland?
We have close ties to CMU and one of our founders is a CMU research professor. Given, Oakland was a natural fit.

How is Revv Helping Your Business?
Most of all Revv has supported us by offering up an ideal office space in a location that attracts the talent we need. We often work with young engineers, interns and young professionals. Being located in Oakland is helpful to attract these workers.