U.K. Drivers Enjoy New Parking Resource

Christina Onesirosan Martinez

Research commissioned by the British Parking Authority showed that nearly 24.7 million motorists in the U.K. believe parking rules and regulations are extremely confusing. Half are unaware of their parking rights, and an astonishing one in 10 does not know the difference  between the rules for parking in a municipality lot versus a private parking lot.

The recently launched "Know Your Parking Rights" initiative provides trusted information to motorists who want to understand parking.

The recently launched “Know Your Parking Rights” initiative provides trusted information to motorists who want to understand parking.

How many times have you heard a customer say (or how many times have you said), “I had no idea you couldn’t park here,” or, “Is that citation really legal?”

Drivers often become frustrated because they don’t fully understanding parking do’s and don’ts from both a practical and a legal perspective. How many of us can confidently say we know our responsibilities and rights as a motorist?

Without clear guidance and awareness, frustration and conflict often arise between drivers and parking authorities/lot operators.

The recently launched Know Your Parking Rights initiative wants to be a beacon of light and clarity by providing trusted information to motorists who want to understand parking.

The initiative aims to give clear advice on:

  •  What to do if you receive a parking ticket.
  • What signs to look out for and what they mean.
  • Useful facts about the appeals process.

An easy-to-use website provides drivers with an option to download the Know Your Parking Rights Consumer Guide for information and best practice on parking.

With a bit of common sense and a visit to this new website, motorists in the UK should have all they need to avoid parking fines this holiday season.

Can a Parking Garage Be Beautiful?

Dave Feehan

Conventional wisdom among downtown and business district managers is that most parking garages are best hidden away or disguised, and that too many are downright ugly. But can parking garages be beautiful? Can they actually contribute to urban design and urban fabric? Can they fit into an historic district or a gleaming collection of state-of-the-art office and residential towers?

As always, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some might look at a very futuristic design and see beauty, while others might a structure that is jarringly out of place in relationship to its surrounding context. Some prefer simplicity while others prefer color and a more fanciful approach. Still, parking garages can be both functional and attractive, and a few recent examples are truly beautiful, even stunning.

Car Park One in Oklahoma City makes many of the “most beautiful lists, as do 1111 Lincoln Road in Miami and the Santa Monica Civic Center Parking Garage. There are also a number of European structures that show up on many lists (many have been showcased in The Parking Professional and in IPI’s annual Awards of Excellence competition—submissions for this year’s competition close soon.)

So what criteria should we use to judge the most beautiful garages? Here are a few I would suggest:

First, the garage must be visually striking. While many fine designs seek to make the structure relatively unobtrusive and nearly invisible, a garage must have a certain amount of attitude to be considered truly beautiful.

Second, it must be more than functional—it must be designed with users in mind, not just as an architectural statement.  Beauty is not just what you see from the street—it’s the feeling you get once you’re inside the garage.

Third, tasteful, thoughtful and effective use of color is important. We’ve seen way too many concrete brutalist designs and we’re living with these monstrosities today. Grey concrete is simply insufficient no matter how functional it might be.

You can check out some of the most lauded beautiful garages here.  Have you seen a particularly attractive garage lately? Let us know in the comments.

It’s a New Generation for Frosty the Snowman

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I have two children, ages three and six. So it is no surprise that we watch “Frosty the Snowman” during the holiday season. What did come as a surprise was the new version of the “Legend of Frosty,” which included a consistent storyline of a young girl studying for an urban planning career.

This was a very new type of Frosty for me to watch. I was impressed with the storyline and how directed it was toward the career path of urban planning. It made me think about how the parking industry can better engage younger generations into the profession.

Now more than ever, there is a focus on different generations interacting in the workplace. At this moment, America has more people over the age of 60 than under the age of 15. Organizations, leaders, and corporations are struggling to better understand how to engage, reach, motivate, and leverage Millennials, Gen Xers and Boomers. By 2020, Millennials will be 40 percent of the workforce and the dominant marketing segment. Are we ready as an industry?

It is important to have a basic understanding of generational diversity. Moreover, can you and are you using this knowledge to your organization’s advantage? Join us at the 2015 IPI Conference and Expo in Las Vegas to learn more. Our Welcome Session keynote speaker is John Martin. John is the co-founder and CEO of Boomer Project, a national research-based marketing think tank that tracks generational trends and offers insight on how to effectively communicate with each generation.

To flourish, your organization must be age-aware. At the age of 60, Bruce Springsteen earned more revenue from his concert tour than Coldplay and the Jonas Brothers combined. How did he accomplish this? Bruce is age aware! Are you?

 

A Two-Way Street

Bill Smith

Most people think of marketing as selling, and to some extent they are correct. Selling is about the transaction and that’s certainly an important part of marketing. But to me, marketing is much more.Twoway

It’s really about communicating. It’s about letting fellow parking professionals know what’s special about your organization; letting prospective customers know what sets you apart and why they need to work with you; letting potential partners know what value you can bring to a relationship; and letting parking industry stars know why you are a great place to work.

Like all successful communication, marketing is a two-way street. What you learn is just as important as what you say.  Too many organizations make the mistake of thinking that marketing is about controlling the dialogue. They create their messages in a vacuum and then force-feed them to their audiences.

It’s essential to be constantly listening to your audiences so you know what they want when you are developing your products and services and creating sales strategies. Paying close attention to what your audiences are saying also lets you know where you stand so you can adjust your messages.

From a marketing perspective, there are a number of ways to encourage your audiences to engage you. On a micro level, one-on-one communication with customers and influential parking leaders can provide invaluable feedback. Also, pay close attention to industry publications such as The Parking Professional as well as publications in other industries with an interest in parking, to keep up with what your customers and competitors are saying. Parking and other industry conferences also provide valuable opportunities to keep up with the most important issues affecting your customers.

Social media also promotes two-way communication. It allows organizations to engage their audiences and receive direct feedback. LinkedIn and Facebook, for instance, allow readers to respond directly to posts while Twitter permits re-tweets and response tweets. These and other social media platforms have changed the landscape, and you should take advantage of this new dynamic.

Ultimately, marketing, like any other type of communication, requires give and take to be successful. Make sure you are listening as much as you’re talking.

 

 

“Survey Says!”

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I’m probably going to date myself here, but as a kid in the late ’70s, I was a fan of the show Family Feud. It fascinated me and I felt like I was constantly learning “worldly stuff.” Part was learning and entertainment, but also being at an impressionable age, I was fascinated at the affection Richard Dawson bestowed to every female contestant. The show was canceled in 1985 and revived in 1988 with Ray Combs hosting and I never could really get hooked back during that time. Over the years, there have been a number of other hosts but none I really ever felt replaced Richard Dawson or could quite match his enthusiastic “survey says!” shout to the game board. Still, this iconic game show left its impression on me for more than just Richard Dawson and the unique character he brought to the show.Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 8.22.52 PM

Like a good advertisement or TV commercial, there are certain slogans or catch phrases that stick in your head. I believe in the advertising world, they would call that good marketing. I think Family Feud accidentally stumbled on that simply by the repetitive phrases that would be shouted out by both the host and the players. “Survey says!” And “Good answer! Good answer!” followed by loud clapping and cheers from families as they offered up encouragement to a teammate for their input were the two that come to mind for me.

I have to tell you, I had a Family Feud moment the other day here at the IPI headquarters. We work as a team to plan the IPI Conference each year. We hold focus groups, we have committees and we often ask our members to help shape the annual event. It takes a village. Recently we held a contest for past IPI Conference & Expo attendees to answer two questions: “How has attending the IPI Conference & Expo been a value to you or impacted your career/business?”, and “If you were giving tips to a first-timer, what would you tell them?”

Of course, with any research, that data means something to us. As I’m compiling the final responses and reading through the vast amount of feedback, I’m formulating the Family Feud scenario in my head. It would have gone something like this:

Richard Dawson: “100 people (more like 3,000) were surveyed and the top five answers are on the board. How does attending the IPI Conference & Expo advance or impact your career or business?”

Top Five Responses would be something along the lines of:

“The networking—everyone who is anyone is there! You have to be there!”

“The tradeshow—biggest and best for new technologies! Visit EVERY vendor—it will open your eyes to new technologies to implement in your organization”

“The education and professional development opportunities —by far the best in the industry.”

“Best place for finding out about industry best practices, knowledge, future initiatives, trends”

“The social events and fun activities—don’t miss an opportunity to spend time any and everywhere with other attendees and professionals. Sleep later – Grow now!”

And as I read through each response, I kept thinking, “Good answer! Good answer!”

What are your top tips for first-time attendees? Comment here!

(Part III) It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: University Parking Practices Worth Reconsidering

Casey Jones 4x5 (2)

Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. All too often, we continue with old practices while not being satisfied with the outcome or worse, we can’t bring ourselves to change something even though we know that there has to be a better way. In my last few posts, I’ve focused on topics that universities may consider if they’re not satisfied with the same old results: angry parking customers, financially-strapped parking departments, and too much parking demand and congestion. In the first post, I discussed permit allocation systems and in the second, centralization of parking and transportation functions. In this installment, I’ll take on the topic of organizational alignment.

Parking programs at most universities started in the public safety department because the main activity in the early days of campus parking management was issuing parking citations. Since then, parking has become more complex and demanding and now requires unique expertise and an overarching focus on service delivery and a business-like mentality. No longer are parking programs maintained—they are managed with great care, effort, and singular focus. And as parking programs have grown and evolved, so too have the demands placed on university public safety officials. To burden public safety departments with parking duties while security responsibilities grow seems counterproductive.

Affinities require a close working relationship between public safety and parking departments especially with regard to emergency management and special event operations. But direct oversight of parking by public safety is no longer considered a best practice; this is said with the greatest respect for university chiefs of police and public safety directors. Instead, aligning parking under finance and administration or student services produces better customer service and promotes financial stability. Though most universities are moving away from a public safety alignment, a few outliers are considering moving parking under public safety likely out of a need to shore up their security budgets using parking revenue. But if universities wish to improve their parking programs, public safety budget challenges must be solved elsewhere and an organizational alignment should be chosen for parking that promotes customer service and a strategic business approach.

Recommendation from a Research Junkie

L. Dennis Burns

I confess: I have officially become a research junkie. The good news is that given my job, this is actually a good thing! The best part is sharing some of the great work that I have stumbled onto with friends and colleagues.

One really nice piece of work that deserves a wider audience is a study: “Driving Urban Environments: Smart Growth Parking Best Practices,” published by the Governor’s Office of Smart Growth in Maryland.

This study does a great job of capturing both the importance and the challenges associated with parking. It addresses the increasing concerns related to the downsides of an auto-based landscape that no longer holds the promise of progress and growth, but rather fosters congestion that steals precious time from our lives and creates significant environmental concerns. In contrast, this work promotes the promise inherent in smart growth strategies, recognizing that the future and vitality of our communities is dependent upon our ability to foster better planned, more environmentally protective, more sustainable patterns of development.

The promise of smart growth strategies, however, does not come without its challenges, and no aspect of development illustrates this better than parking. The following quote captures the essence of this work: “Parking requirements now drive many site designs, and are often the make or break issue for financing new developments. Too many quality smart growth projects remain on the drawing board because they simply cannot solve the parking dilemma. We need parking, but we need to re-think parking design, parking financing, and parking supply and demand to better meet the needs of communities, developers, and users.”

This study addresses parking management and design as a critical factor in the context of smart growth strategies for urban environments and reaffirms the key role parking plays in effective community and economic development.

I encourage you to check out this great piece of work.

Penny Wise and Pound Foolish: Funding America’s Transportation Needs

Shawn Conrad

Major media outlets across the United States are streaming headlines of the implications of the midterm election results. Analysts debate what the loss of congressional seats from the president’s political party will have on future legislation. While many may think I am referring to our most recent election results, these events were after the midterm elections of George W. Bush’s first term in office, when his party lost numerous congressional seats. What comes around goes around, or as New York Yankees great Yogi Berra stated, “Deja vu all over again.”

While Capitol Hill sorts through all of the upcoming changes and a wave of new government aides replace the old guard, it’s anyone’s guess what effects these changes will have on transportation reauthorization or fending off the insolvency of our nation’s transportation fund.

The issues being discussed and receiving the most attention are immigration, health care, potential tax reform care and, yes, the Affordable Care Act, which is going to get another review. While these are important topics and deserve attention, it’s important to remember that transportation funding runs out May 31, 2015.  Our colleagues at the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) are showcasing options to raise the necessary transportation funding. These options include an increase on taxes for gas and diesel fuel consumption or charging drivers for miles driven. Of course, these ideas have their critics. But is not funding roads, bridges, highways, transit, light rail, and intermodal centers really an option?

As legislative leaders return from their victory parties or from licking their wounds, let’s collectively seek their attention on our nation’s worn infrastructure and investing in mobility.  An investment will have a positive effect today and help drive economic growth tomorrow.

The Ebola Report

Bruce Barclay

After watching CBS correspondent Lara Logan’s report on 60 Minutes a few weeks ago, I began thinking of the effect Ebola has on the people of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. As of last week, there were more than 13,200 cases confirmed and more than 5,000 deaths in the three countries where the virus is widespread. Logan and her crew are finishing a 21-day quarantine in their hotel as a precautionary measure; fortunately, they have shown no signs of infection with the virus.

As much as the television story moved me to think of the situation in West Africa, I began to think closer to home and the impact the virus can have here in the U.S. Since an airport would be the primary point of entry for travelers who may be carrying the Ebola virus, the U.S. government selected five airports for entry screening: JFK, Newark, Chicago O’Hare, Washington Dulles, and Atlanta. These five airports receive more than 94 percent of the travelers departing from the Ebola-affected countries.  But, what if the individual is not showing any symptoms when they arrive at one of these airports? It is conceivable the infected person may slip through the screening process and arrive in one of our cities. What happens to the car or taxi he hires?

I’m sure there are lots of us thinking about what would happen if an Ebola-infected traveler arrived at our airports and was detained because of symptoms of the virus. Do we need to be ready for parking-area quarantine? What are the protocols for airline personnel, first responders, and EMS staff? What do our parking attendants need to know? Fortunately, the Center for Disease Control has provided guidance for personnel who may have to deal with potential Ebola infections. The CDC provides a great deal of information on its website ranging from prevention, signs and symptoms, and diagnosis, to preparedness for health care workers.

Advances in transportation technology are making the world’s population more mobile. As a result, the threat of Ebola and other diseases hitting our shores is a reality.

Getting Together

Rachel_Yoka 2013

There is something about meeting in person that simply cannot be replicated in any other way: To find common ground with another person or organization and to identify amazing opportunities face-to-face. Last month at GreenBuild, the United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC) annual conference and exposition, I was fortunate enough to represent IPI, along with the Green Parking Council (an affiliate of IPI). We met with one of the most dynamic teams I have ever had the pleasure of interacting with: the senior leadership of the USGBC. Their ability to communicate, their passion and fire for their work, and the pace of our conversation all added to the excitement of finding our common ground.

Of course their passion for their work shines. They know that the built environment (buildings and yes, parking garages) can add tremendous value to the triple bottom line—people, planet, and profit. They know that better buildings (and yes, garages) can build a better world for our kids and grandkids. And their drive to accelerate that process, to create a better physical environment and financial return, is simply contagious.

That cannot happen over a conference call. I have the same feeling every year at the IPI Conference & Expo. The level of excitement and collaboration can only happen when more than 3,000 of the greatest people in the world (parking professionals) get together in one place. I don’t know exactly what amazing outcomes and experiences will come out of the Vegas show in 2015. But I for one cannot wait to find out.