It’s a Global (Parking) Village in Dublin This Week

Shawn Conrad

I’m in Dublin, Ireland, at the European Parking Congress. It’s only just started, but a highlight this morning was a meeting of the Global Parking Associations Leadership Summit (GPALS). IPI sowed the seeds for this group to provide a forum for parking associations around the globe to share information and work collaboratively for the advancement of the parking industry. The group first met at the 2012 IPI Conference & Expo in Phoenix, and is now 17 associations strong and growing! Learn more at parking.org/gpals.

At this week’s meeting, which was attended by representatives from 15 countries, we shared and discussed the results of GPALS’ global parking trends report, which is the group’s first collaborative project. Based on an adaptation of IPI’s annual Emerging Trends in Parking survey, data was collected from the members of parking associations from Australia, Norway, Finland, Japan, Brazil, Canada, Spain, Ireland, Sweden, Germany, Great Britain, and the U.S. Parking professionals from these countries, as well as from Denmark, Belgium, Serbia, Austria, France, Hungary and Slovakia, participated in the survey.

Survey results focus on the top parking trends as they relate to technology improvements, operations, sustainability, politics, and economic factors that will affect how we regard and manage parking. It also asked respondents to assess whether perceptions about parking were changing for the better or the worse in their countries.

Results from the GPALS survey will be published by each participating parking association next week, and will be featured in the October issue of The Parking Professional. Be sure to look for them when the magazine hits your mailbox next month.

Here in Ireland, there’s a very warm feeling toward the remarkable and unselfish collaborative spirit provided by all of the parking associations. There is much we can learn from each other if we provide pathways for sharing. GPALS is paving the way.

 

Action Item: Parking Trend-spotting Survey Time

Helen Sullivan

“Trends, like horses, are easier to ride in the direction they are going.” shutterstock_113788327
John Naisbitt
, futurist, author of Megatrends

Understanding trends can make you smart, make you money, and make you successful.

I urge you to take five minutes to participate in IPI’s third annual Emerging Trends in Parking Survey. There are only 10 questions, plus a few at the end for demographics. I think you’re going to enjoy the new questions we’ve added this year, which help identify cities that are progressive when it comes to parking.

In addition to capturing overarching trends that are affecting the parking industry, there are questions related to trends specific to parking and sustainability. There’s also a provocative new question this year about the bad parking and driving habits parking professionals find most frustrating.

This is a nationally projectable, quantitative study developed and analyzed by marketing researchers that helps us benchmark and monitor parking industry trends. It also creates an opportunity for IPI to generate positive publicity that helps bring greater awareness for the important role parking has in terms of urban mobility, life on this planet, etc.

Your thoughtful answers to open-ended questions on the survey, such as “What’s the next big thing in parking?,” have been the seeds for IPI programming ideas, articles in The Parking Professional, and educational sessions at the IPI Conference & Expo. We listen!

We also use the results to guide the Parking Matters® program. One question asks you to weigh in on what group is most important for us to reach with our messages about the value of parking expertise. The collective wisdom shared in previous surveys to this question alone have been instrumental in targeting our efforts for maximum efficiency.

Ten questions – less than 10 minutes. Please weigh in. Your opinion counts. We’ll be releasing results in conjunction with the upcoming IPI Conference & Expo in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., May 19-22.

Please take the survey now, or by the Wed April 17 cut-off date. The survey is open to all parking professionals, but  IPI members in particular have a track record for incredible response rates to this type of survey, and that is appreciated beyond measure.

TRB and a Spot for Parking

Shawn Conrad

I have just returned from completing a marathon, but not the kind that involves sweating through 26 miles on foot. This week, the nation’s capital hosted the 92nd Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB).

The TRB is one of six major divisions of the National Research Council. Its mission is to provide leadership in transportation research and information exchange, conducted in a setting that is objective, interdisciplinary, and multimodal. From the moment I picked up my meeting materials until they closed the exhibits, I heard about a smorgasbord of transportation-related issues and what mobility will look like in the future. Great stuff!

The five-day program included almost 750 sessions and workshops on all aspects of transportation. With topics such as the Department of Transportation’s session on Map 21 Implementation (I will leave this discussion for a future post); Innovations in Statewide Multimodal Planning; Pedestrian Planning, Policy, and Demand Analysis; Nondestructive Hot-Mix Asphalt Testing; and Reducing Traffic by Increasing Passenger Ridership in Cars, Vans, and Transit, there was plenty of information for every transportation professional’s craving.

But what about parking? What about parking operations, management, technology, pricing, transportation demand management, sustainability, financing, or trends? Some of these things were discussed during the event, but let’s be honest: the only proper immersion on these issues happens at the 2013 IPI Conference in Fort Lauderdale, May 19-22. (That’s my plug, but seriously, as one IPI member said as we passed in the hallway at TRB, “Parking is covered at the IPI Conference.”)

That’s not to say that there weren’t very interesting sessions on parking-related topics, because there were. Topics such as parking’s role in congestion reduction, variable pricing, and managing parking at sporting events were addressed.

But possibly the biggest breakthrough discussion centered around parking occurred during the second day of TRB when Josh Kavanagh, CAPP, from the University of Washington made a strong and compelling argument on IPI’s behalf that TRB create a full-fledged parking committee. The interest for a parking committee is certainly at peak level and IPI leaders have offered TRB their time and expertise to making this committee tangible.

I will keep you updated on our progress.

Meanwhile, those in the parking profession should feel empowered about how vital and relevant parking is to transportation. Advancing the profession and increasing awareness for its importance is vital not just to us, but to the greater good.

I’d be interested in hearing your TRB experiences. Comment below or email me.