Poli Sci Do or Die

Casey Jones 4x5 (2)

In college. I earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and spent a good bit of my early career in the public sector working for politicians. This inevitably involved campaigning and elections and since then, I’ve watched with great interest most local, state, and federal elections. My wife teases me on Election Night as I sit riveted to the TV, watching the results roll in.

I’m as eager now to learn who has been elected to the IPI Board of Directors. While the responsibility of voting falls to someone else in my organization, I did take keen interest in the slate of candidates, reading their statements and considering how they’d impact IPI. So much talent steps forward each IPI election cycle and the voters do a great job of advancing people well-suited to serve as board members. It takes courage, thought, and commitment to run, you must allow your experience to be scrutinized, and you have to accept the chance that you will not earn enough votes. I applaud everyone willing to throw their hat in the ring and encourage more to do so. Without a diverse group of quality candidates, the board of IPI cannot effectively fulfill its mission and foster the organization’s growth.

Another important election will occur once the new board is in place and that will be for two key IPI officer positions: the board chair-elect and the treasurer. With the chairman of the board and immediate past chair, these positions comprise the organization’s executive committee and are selected by the IPI board. As I see it, the executive committee’s role is to provide the central board leadership and interface with the IPI executive director to ensure that the organization stays on track, exploits new opportunities, and maximizes the impact of the entire board and volunteer committees. These duties are shared among the executive committee, so the composition of the committee and its chemistry matter greatly. The executive committee is often called upon to handle sensitive issues and consider matters prior to the full board’s deliberation. There must be a willingness among the committee to disagree, challenge one another and to offer new, creative thinking to the conversation. This group must be bold, visionary, thoughtful, selfless, and singularly focused on what is in IPI’s best interest.

Selecting the next chairman of the board and treasurer is of critical importance to IPI and I wish the candidates who will step forward all the best. Unfortunately for me, I’ll have to wait for the results to be revealed as CNN won’t be covering the deliberations on Election Day.

Spring Ahead with Fantastic Local Education and Networking!

The Parking Matters Blog Avatar

The spring season for parking and transportation events is in full swing. Before you join us at the 2015 IPI Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, be sure to mark your calendar to attend some of the state and regional events in your neck of the woods or an IPI webinar from the comfort of your desk (invite your co-workers to watch with you!). One thing is for sure: The parking industry is vibrant and offers parking and transportation professionals amazing opportunities for both networking and professional development, and maybe a few rounds of golf, too!

April 14 – 17

New England Parking Council Annual Spring Conference

Newport, R.I.

newenglandparkingcouncil.org

April 15

IPI Webinar: TDM Case Study; Seattle Children’s Hospital

parking.org/webinars

April 21 – 23

Texas Parking & Transportation Association Conference and Trade Show

Corpus Christi, Texas

texasparking.org

April 21, 2015

NYSPA Annual Spring Training

Johnson City, N.Y.

nyspa.net

April 22-24

Parking Association of Georgia Annual Conference and Trade Show

Pine Mountain, Ga.

parkingassociationofgeorgia.com

April 27-29, 2015

Big Ten/Midwestern Universities Transportation and Parking Conference

Minneapolis, Minn.

z.umn.edu/SeeUs

April 28-29, 2015

2015 Parking and Transportation Education Summit (PIPTA/SWPTA)

Boulder, Colo.

southwestparking.org or pipta.org

May 1, 2015

Parking Association of the Virginias Spring Workshop

Richmond, Va.

pavonline.org

Kid in a Candy Store

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That’s me. A kid in a candy store this week as I began what I consider total fun—pouring over the results of IPI’s Emerging Trends in Parking Survey and beginning to crunch the numbers, while looking out my window here in D.C. at the sno-caps, even though the calendar says March.

As in past years, IPI members and the parking community really came through—a whopper of a response—and the high numbers make this survey meaningful and projectable, offering a pay day of valuable insights and information. Kudos and a kiss to the entire Parking Matters® Committee (but particularly co-chairs Cindy Campbell and Casey Jones, CAPP, along with Vanesssa Solesbee—the three musketeers on this project) for reshaping the survey this year and adding some new questions about parking minimums and placard abuse.

Can you guess how many of your colleagues would recommend parking as a career to those currently in high school or college? I can’t share exact percentages yet, but suffice it to say, good ‘n plenty!

Special thanks to Todd Litman, executive director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, who was a lifesaver for allowing us to use his materials for a series of questions on transportation demand management (TDM). The responses to the TDM questions validate just how much more than parking parking folks deal with!

We kept a few questions from past surveys that deal with emerging trends so we can measure changes over time, but it’s the new questions on the survey  that are out of this milky way and will make you look like a smartie.

Beyond analyzing results of the survey as a whole and trying to connect all the dots, we also slice and dice the information by sector. How do parking professionals at airports, for instance, differ from those at cities or universities in how they see societal trends that are influencing parking?

I’m not the ultimate cracker jack marketing researcher, so the IPI survey is also being analyzed, as in the past, by Maria Ivancin of the Washington, D.C.-based Market Research Bureau.

When the results are published and shared in conjunction with the 2015 IPI Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, we’ll all have a lot to chew on!

While we are be-twix-ed and between the close of the survey and the publication of the results in June, you are welcome to view a past survey here.

P.S. Are you snicker-ing, yet? The first person who sends me an email with the correct number of candy brands mentioned in this blog, will receive one item of his or her choice from the IPI store, at ShopIPI. Write to me at sullivan@parking.org.

University to Municipality: What a Leap

Doug Holmes

Ah, the wonderful adventures of retired life. All you have to do is make sure you get the few things done around the house that need to be done, run some errands like grocery shopping, do a favor or two for the kids, bounce the grandkids off the ceiling a time or two, or maybe volunteer your time to do some work for the International Parking Institute (IPI).

Then you get THE PHONE CALL. “Hey, Doug, can we meet for lunch?” Sounds pretty innocent until at lunch you find out that your counterpart in the neighboring municipality is leaving his post as parking manager on fairly short notice and would you be willing to help with the transition to the new manager? The big tip-off should have been when I showed up for an interview, nicely groomed, in a suit with resumes and recommendations in-hand, and the first question I heard was, “When can you start?”

I figured what the heck, I have been pretty successful on a university campus for more than 30 years, past chairman of the IPI Board of Directors, and had to deal with 45,000 students, 18,000 parking spaces, 4 parking garages, 15,000 employees, my own staff of about a dozen direct reports, and goodness only knows how many visitors. How could dealing with the parking problems in such a bucolic municipality as State College, Penn., be much different?

The operative word there is “municipality.” I truly thought that at Penn State, I was in the public sector. I guess the answer is, sort of but not really. I know there are some exceptions where an individual state retains the right to set fees, fines, and so forth. But that was my world.

In a municipal setting, unless you have an authority (and maybe then as well) everything turns on the borough code of ordinances. Parking probably cannot just make a change to the application of policy. Once you have convinced the professional staff of a potential change, you must convince the elected officials that what you want to do will have a positive effect on the community. This was a major paradigm shift for me.

I must mention that even though there are a lot of differences between one side of College Avenue (the main dividing line between town and gown) and the other, there are a ton of similarities as well. Basic tactics and equipment are the same. The eleventh amendment to the Constitution, “The right to keep and bear an automobile shall not be abridged,” applies here also. Software may or may not be identical, but the areas of control and logic are very similar. Of course, I could be an old dog trying to learn new tricks, but the political differences between the two jurisdictions are huge.

The change has been significant. I have been rewarded as my abilities have been stretched and many new experiences added. There are times when an oddball idea generated by my academic past rolls around and gains traction in the borough. My different experiences and point of view have been of value here. I am very happy to say that I am still learning and this gig has definitely reinvigorated me. Thanks, State College!

I have been blessed with a very intelligent, imaginative, can-do staff and the phenomenal support of other departments within the borough from the borough manager through the HR director and IT department, down to my own assistants—it’s been marvelous and rewarding. The package of benefits is also very nice. However, I retired for a reason and that is why I have the word “Interim” in front of the title Parking Manager. I started on Sept. 2, 2014, and will be here until the new Parking Czar is in place. By the way, applications are being accepted until Feb. 28.

Be well, and looking forward to seeing you all in Las Vegas for the 2015 IPI Conference & Expo.

Hey Buddy, Can You Tell Me About Changes to U.S. Coins?

Shawn Conrad

At the 2014 IPI Conference & Expo in Dallas, Jon Cameron, the U.S. Mint’s director, office of coin studies, discussed research the U.S. Treasury Department initiated on all circulating coins.  Cameron told a packed Opening Session audience that Congress wished to identify ways to reduce coins’ production costs.  Many might not know that each penny engraved with the 16th president’s likeness costs $0.0166 to make, or that each five-cent nickel costs $0.0809 to manufacture.

For the transportation industry and many other industries (vending, laundry) that rely on coin use, any alteration of the size, shape, weight, and electro-magnetic signature (EMS) of coins could require very expensive equipment alterations.

After extensive research and development on potential alternative metal compositions for circulating coins, the Mint’s Office of Coin Studies made the following recommendations to Congress:

  • Continue large-scale testing to identify a metal mixture that could potentially serve as an alternative to current coins in circulation while reducing costs.
  • Explore production improvements.
  • Continue to keep stakeholders (IPI and other organizations) informed and engaged in R&D efforts.
  • Initiate studies to understand consumer behavior regarding the use of coins in commerce.

In an age when the trust and transparency between government and business is often tested, it is very gratifying to see how open the U.S. Mint is to industry input.  With an estimated cost to U.S. businesses calculated between $2.4 billion to $6 billion to accommodate new coins, the Mint’s efforts to include all stakeholders is welcome.

You Never Know

Rachel_Yoka 2013

Recently the International Parking Institute (IPI) was invited to participate in a forum for the Smart Card Alliance (SCA) titled, “Convergence of Payment Technology.” Could be rather dry, right?  Well, I was in for a surprise.

Like many meetings with a great diversity of viewpoints and a hot topic, I left with my brain on fire. The opportunity and challenge around this issue is really fascinating. We were able to connect with the folks out in front of this issue, from government agencies dealing with the connected car to private-sector players such as Ridescout who are changing the transportation landscape, and both IPI and the Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT) had much to say on the issues at hand.

I had a chance to talk Parking Matters® as well as comment on the role of the garage as a platform for art, architecture, and sustainability. We discussed how changing demographics will affect privacy concerns, the evolving role of big data, and how parking and transportation will play a vital part in creating single accounts and apps for payment from transit to tolls and, of course, for parking.

Once again, I was reminded how much you can learn when your mind (and ears) are open to the possibilities.  Next steps: We are working on a new white paper with the SCA on the impact of EMV chip card technology to our industry … which is just the tip of the technology iceberg.

The Power of Mentoring

MichelleJonesHS

The late, great Whitney Houston sang to us, I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.

Michelle with Ashley Cady, a lovely senior at the University of South Carolina.

Michelle with Ashley Cady, a lovely senior at the University of South Carolina.

This week, I had the privilege of attending the 59th annual conference of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA). It was my 16th consecutive year of attending PCMA’s Convening Leaders and it’s where I go for my professional development, the way you participate in IPI’s Conference & Expo for yours.

I was a mentor to a college student who was attending for the first time and I served in a round table session for all of the college students, called PCMA U. It was so refreshing to speak with more than 25 wide-eyed young people all wanting to be event planners (and a couple wedding planners) upon graduation, and to hear their questions about the meetings and hospitality industries. They came prepared with calling cards and LinkedIn requests. Their initiative and financial sacrifice to attend were impressive. I offered to be there for them, not just during the conference, but going forward. I would happily send them job announcements and give résumé advice or help them connect with other professionals in my network.

In your varying roles as parking professionals, I would urge you to pay attention to and nurture the young people around you. One day, they will be the ones doing the jobs we do. Whether you can help them understand what you do every day, or recommend them for an internship or even a job, you’re helping the next generation of the parking industry. There are lessons that only our experiences can impart—lessons that are not taught in textbooks or classrooms.

Free Parking Marketing Ideas. Send More by Feb. 6

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Today’s the day to connect with your marketing, communications, and PR folks to urge them to share their successful campaigns with colleagues (and the world!) by entering the Parking Matters® Marketing and Communications Awards.

lightbulbEntries are due February 6 and it’s a purposely simple and streamlined online process. IPI’s Parking Matters® Committee established the awards, which debuted to great success in 2014, to showcase many winners. We want to build an online treasure trove of ideas for promoting parking technology, ideas, operations, programs, and public service. We can learn so much from each other by sharing!

Descriptions of last year’s 12 winners, including three Best in Shows, make for mighty good and inspirational reading and include links that enable you to see the actual posters, videos, ads, and collateral that made each individual campaign noteworthy.

Visit the online summaries and you’ll discover:

  • How Montgomery County, Md., used integrated marketing to improve pedestrian safety in parking lots.
  • A comprehensive campaign by the Norwalk Parking Authority to rebrand itself, increase awareness, and boost goodwill in the community
  • A creative spring break parking promotion by Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
  • An effective roll-out promoting a new valet parking program by Houston Airport System Parking.
  • Ideas for using an on-campus photo competition to pique interest and appreciation for parking at the University of Alaska.
  • Zombie aPARKalypse: a low-budget way to create on-campus buzz for parking permits by tapping film and theatre students.
  • Tools and techniques used by ParkIndy and Xerox to engage and aid the citizens of Indianapolis to embrace the modernization of their parking operations.
  • Ways the University of California/Irvine used Rideshare Week and Bike Month, plus cost-effective digital marketing on Twitter and the Web, to increase both sustainability and transit use.
  • How the Pittsburgh Parking Authority developed a creative, grassroots, low-cost approach to promoting the ease of use of pay-by-plate meters.
  • Examples of Texas A&M Transportation Services’ engaging print advertising campaign to highlight car and bike sharing, transit options and sustainability measures and communicate that the university “never rests on its laurels.”
  • The ways Texas Tech University’s outreach program used branding, incentives, partnerships, and advertising to draw student, faculty and staff bicyclists—and even non-bicyclists—to a bike clinic.
  • The ins and outs of how the city of Sacramento worked in a public/private partnership with IPS to develop a comprehensive campaign that used multi-media messaging and marketing materials to introduce new, smart meters.

If you don’t enter, you can’t win. We are eager to see what your organization has been doing to market, promote, and educate about parking. Read more about last year’s winning programs here, and submit your enter for this year’s awards by February 6 here.

 

“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!

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.

Future Thoughts

KimFernandezJan2014

Scrolling through Todd Litman’s Facebook page is a little bit like watching the slideshow of a world traveler—he has been everywhere to talk about transportation and the future. Head of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, Litman is a respected researcher and expert on transportation systems, growth, technology, and trends, and that includes parking.

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 11.02.04 PMParking, he says, is a critical piece to urban development and the success of cities, and the industry has a big role to play as technology and the ways we work, shop, and live change. He also has specific ideas on parking management and the role parking professionals should play in the greater planning and transportation realms, and he shares them all in the November issue of The Parking Professional. My favorite quote from our Q&A with him is, “Parking policy reforms can make major contributions toward creating more economically successful and livable communities, and many parking professionals are helping implement them. You should be proud!”

We’re all looking toward the future and the role the parking industry will play, and our November issue is chock-full of information to help you decide which direction to pursue and how to proceed. From a feature about the fledgling parking industry in Abu Dhabi to a fascinating look at how a parking census changed things for the better in San Francisco (do you know how many spaces exist in your city?), it’s an issue you’ll want to read and pass around in the office.

Know what else you should pass around? A camera—it’s last-call for The Parking Professional’s third annual photo contest and we can’t wait to see your parking photos! We have a streamlined entry process this year that’s super easy and you could win prizes ranging from Parking Matters® bling to a full registration to the 2015 IPI Conference & Expo, June 29 – July 2 in Las Vegas. Check out our categories, rules, and entry forms here, and send me your best shots!

I hope you enjoy our November issue!

Biden, Flying Cars, and IPI, Oh, My!

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Biden

Clockwise from top left: Prototype of a flying car; Google’s director of self-driving cars, Chris Urmson with Washington Post editor David Cho; Uber’s David Plouffe; “Easier Parking” panel: Washington Post editor Mary Jordan (at podium) with David Cummins (Xerox) Eric Meyer (Haystack),Rachel Yoka (IPI),and Post urban policy reporter and blogger Emily Badger; and Vice President Joe Biden.

What a day for parking here in D.C.! The Washington Post’s first Answers Series event focused on “Fix My Commute” and included a day-long, live stream, and studio audience of policy makers, wonks, and transportation insiders. Vice President Joe Biden, keynoted the event after introducing himself as Joe “Amtrak” Biden, much to the delight of the Amtrak and rail folks in attendance. See his remarks here. A panel on parking included IPI’s VP Program Development Rachel Yoka, Xerox’s David Cummins (IPI’s Smart Parking Alliance™ co-chair), and Haystack CEO Eric Mayer.

Bravo to David and Rachel for being so articulate about the role of parking, innovative approaches, and sustainability. The Post’s team did a stellar job with an all-star line-up that included mayors from Denver, Honolulu, Miami-Dade, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake City, along with former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, now co-chair of Building America’s Future.

Google X’s (the company’s “top secret” innovation arm) Chris Urmson gave a fascinating preview of their self-driving car, including a video of the vehicle being test-driven by friends of developers. There was also a presentation of a prototype of a flying car being “floated” by start-up Terrafugia. (It was parked just outside the theatre where the event was held—on-street and taking up quite a few metered spaces!).

My favorite soundbites:

  • “Thank you for letting me vent” is the most common close to any correspondence sent to columnist Robert Thomson (Dr. Gridlock) from consumers who write to him about D.C. traffic and commuting issues. See a related video shown here.
  • “A car is a freedom machine.” Andrew Card, Former U.S. secretary of transportation and White House chief of staff.
  • “A lot of technology exceeds government’s ability to take advantage of it.” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.
  • “Transportation is a family’s second biggest expense, after housing.” Joe Biden

During the events, I sat next to Mark Wright, executive director of the Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT), now part of the IPI family. I also had the pleasure of speaking with David Plouffe, the new senior VP of policy and strategy with Uber (very relevant for ACT these days),as well as Liz Jones representing the League of American Bicyclists.

For parking to be so much a part of this national discussion on transportation, I couldn’t help but think, “We’ve come a long way!”

 

 

Parking Matters® at the Local Level

Brett Wood

I just got back from the Southwest Parking & Transportation Association (SWPTA) conference in fabulous Las Vegas. The conference was a blast and very rewarding given all the work that went into it. I’ve served on the SWPTA board for the last three years, with the last two as vice-president and president. More importantly, I’ve served with a number of great individuals who share a passion for making that organization thrive, serving parking professionals throughout the southwestern United States.

Just like us, there are more than 25 state and regional parking organizations throughout the United States, each serving a base of parking professionals who are looking to find their way in this exciting and growing industry. The beauty of the state and regional organizations is the ability to connect parking professionals of all experience levels. Just this past week, I observed past IPI Chair Casey Jones, CAPP, working side-by-side with local frontline staff from the City of Las Vegas to solve parking problems during an interactive parking charrette. In that instance, you have a guy who is considered to be one of the brightest in the industry helping a future industry star see the way.

These organizations provide experience, education, and opportunity, and we should strive to bring our knowledge and passion for parking to them—with the same fervor that we would bring to an IPI Conference & Expo with its 3,000+ attendees. For those who have found a home and a place to shine in our industry, there is no better place to give back than the local and regional level. IPI has realized this and is making great strides to expand its alliance with these diverse groups. Just this year, they’ve helped our organization stage frontline training and CAPP courses, helping bring the energy of their traditional offerings to folks who might not always have access to them.

The best way you can give back is to seek out a board position with your local organization. It’s not a lot of work—no wait, I’m wrong; it’s a tremendous amount of work—but the rewards are even greater than the time spent working. The people you meet and the difference you make is reason enough to go for it. And the icing on the cake? You might get to be in a Carlos Santana music video…just ask Casey!

Parking Matters®? Prove it!

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I’m not a parking professional, but after talking to the media about the industry since 2009, I certainly think it’s fair to call myself a parking cheerleader and advocate. You could say Parking Matters® is my baby—even my three adult daughters will say it’s true.

WhyParkingMatters

If you record milestones in the lives of your children, you’ll understand that I feel similarly in sharing a new white paper IPI has published titled, “Why Parking Matters: The case for why parking –and the expertise of parking professional— is integral to the future of our cities.

From the earliest days of IPI’s Parking Matters® program, it’s been easy to talk to reporters and describe an industry whose dramatic, exciting, positive change is worthy of attention. The convergence of technology, sustainability, and a focus on customer service has given us credible and important stories to share with decision-makers at municipalities, universities, airports, hospitals, retailers, downtowns, sports arenas, and beyond.

This new white paper, coupled with a companion piece summarizing innovative parking programs in the U.S., and the “Smart Parking: A Tale of Two Cities” infographic produced by the Smart Parking Alliance™ this summer, is a powerful tool that takes us a step further in telling our story.

Focused on the municipality market, Why Parking Matters® includes discussions of the economics of parking, sustainability, and how parking contributes to making more livable, walkable communities.

The white paper supports IPI’s mission to advance the parking profession. The call to action?  Rethink your parking strategies, starting with the expertise of a parking professional.

I hope you’ll download Why Parking Matters® and share it widely with colleagues and clients. You’ll also receive a hard copy with next month’s The Parking Professional magazine.

The white paper is a living document. If you have a particular statistic that makes the case for Why Parking Matters®, please share it with me at sullivan@parking.org. If your city is not one of the 13 included in the Innovative Parking Programs in the U.S., send me a summary of its innovations and we’ll add it in.

Why National Heatstroke Prevention Day Should Matter to Parking Professionals

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Another child died of heatstroke in a parked car while I was writing this blog post. 
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Click on this link to download IPI’s Parking Safety Matters public service ad/fact sheet about preventing children from dying in hot parked cars and help get the word out! You can even customize it with your organization’s logo. Post the information on your website, tack it to office bulletin boards, print it and share with staff to increase their awareness, and distribute it on the windshields of cars parked in your garages or lots so drivers will know they cannot leave a child in a car for even a minute.

Jan Null, the nation’s leading expert on this topic who spoke at the 2014 IPI Conference & Expo in Dallas and who is working with us on this public service initiative, just updated his online statistics to 19 child deaths in hot cars this year.

There’s been an extraordinary amount of media coverage about this issue this year, and expect more today; July 31, is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) National Heatstroke Prevention Day. Heatstroke is how most of these innocent infants, toddlers, and young children die, often within minutes because children’s bodies are more susceptible to heat. Participating organizations will post social media messages throughout the day, asking people to share the posts on Facebook and retweet using #heatstroke.

You can also help by signing a petition supported by a number of child safety groups to help gain attention for this issue and to encourage government action.

Would you ever leave your baby in a car? Most everyone says no. But the sad truth is that good parents–normal, just-like-you parents–do. It’s heartbreaking. Often one parent or caregiver thinks the child is with someone else. Sometimes it’s just a case of being distracted. Often a sleeping child is simply left behind, or a child playing in an unattended car gets trapped inside and is not found until it is too late.

Though southern states see more incidences, geography is not a valid predictor, says Null. The temperature in a closed vehicle can rise 19 degrees in just 10 minutes and skyrocket 43 degrees in an hour. Cracking the windows has little effect. Even a 72 degree day in Seattle can be deadly. See a time-collapse video illustrating how fast a car heats up here.

This isn’t just a one-day, or one-summer initiative. IPI’s Safety and Security Committee, co-chaired by Geary Robinson, Ph.D., CAPP, and Bruce Barclay, CAPP, will be developing other ways for you to be part of this important public service campaign. Your comments and suggestions are welcome.

Want a poster to put in elevators, or display areas? Write to me at sullivan@parking.org and I’ll send you a poster art file you can take to your local print shop. (Send me your hi-res logo and I’ll put it on the poster before I send you the art file.)

The Best Things in Life…

Rachel_Yoka 2013

Are worth waiting for, right? Sometimes you work on something for a really long time.  We have a project like that (36 months, 4 days, 17 hours and 15 minutes it took, I believe) that’s just reached the finish line: Sustainable Parking Design and Management: A Practitioner’s Handbook.

When I first entered the business world, I believed there was an immediate and direct relationship between effort and productive hours expended and a successful outcome, regardless of timeline. The faster you invested, the faster the product would be complete and it would be as good as the effort. In my years here at TimHaahs, often there were decisions I wanted us to make and projects I wanted us to start, and Tim would advise us to wait (waiting has never been my strong suit). But something special (almost always) happened in the waiting. Situations changed, additional thought was applied, and a different sort of organic evolution took place. Often, projects were improved by allowing other people to get involved or by tackling unforeseen challenges. Although it did not come naturally to me, I learned the importance of applying patience, sleeping on it, and allowing projects to grow on their own.

At long last, Sustainable Parking Design and Management: A Practitioner’s Handbook–all 188 pages of it, a joint project of IPI and NPA, is available for pre-order now, and both a hardcover and an ebook (Kindle) version will be available in just a few weeks.

This brand new book about sustainability and parking is the first of its kind. As the editor, I can say we are all very excited about it (who wouldn’t be after 36 months?). I know our authors, peer reviewers, IPI, our Board of Directors consider it a watershed moment.  This publication–a reference and technical manual for integrating sustainability into our industry–needed time to grow, to evolve, and become the very best that it could be.

Thanks so much to every person who touched the book. You have all made this one of the very best things I have had the honor and pleasure to work on.

Some projects are just worth the wait.

 

Announcing a New Green Parking Book

Shawn Conrad

We call it the “Green Book” for short, but you can now pre-order from IPI the 176-page Sustainable Parking Design and Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 9.35.32 AMManagement: A Practitioner’s Handbook as an ebook or limited-edition hardcover at pre-release discounted prices.

The idea for this book began with Tim Haahs, PE, AIA, of Timothy Haahs and Associates, Inc., long time IPI Board member and the consummate parking professional, who also sat on the National Parking Association’s (NPA) Consultants Council.  Tim envisioned this book as a joint industry project, and IPI and NPA have worked together for the past three years to bring it to publication.

More about the book, including a listing of chapters, is available at parking.org/greenbook.

I know “it takes a village” is a cliché, but this book really is the result of many talented people devoting a lot of time to the effort, no one more than book editor and IPI Board member Rachel Yoka, LEED AP BD+C, CNU-A. She deserves accolades and gratitude from everyone in the parking industry for seeing this project through.

The book’s chapter authors and peer reviewers also deserve thanks for their important contributions:

Ryan Astrup, M Arch (Prof) Assoc., AIA
Dennis Burns, CAPP
Michael Cramer
Gary Cudney
Chuck Cullen, CAPP, CPP
Matt Feagans
Vicky Gagliano, LEED AP
Casey Jones, CAPP, MPA
Erin Kueht, P.E., LEED AP BD+C
Megan Leinart, LEED AP BD+C, CNU-A
David LoCoco
Jerry Marcus
Mark Martin
Patrick D. Martin, P.E.
Shannon Sanders McDonald, AIA
Isaiah Mouw, CAPP, CPP, LEED GA
Raju Nandwana
Gary Neff
H. Dean Penny, P.E.
Gerard A. Rewolinski
Steven J. Roloff, PE, LEED AP
Brian Shaw, CAPP
Dave Sheldon, LEED AP
Michelle Wendler, AIA
Timothy T. Wendt, PE, LEED AP
Paul Wessel
Brett Wood, CAPP
Rachel Yoka, LEED AP BD+C, CNU-A
James M. Zullo, CAPP

Featured in the book are more than 20 case studies of facilities that have incorporated sustainable elements and which provide vital information and lessons learned.

IPI’s mission is to advance the parking profession. In our education and outreach efforts we focus on this triad: Technology. Customer Service. Sustainability.

This book is a milestone for our industry. I encourage you to learn from and delight in its pages.

A heads-up: The hardcover version of Sustainable Parking Design and Management: A Practitioner’s Handbook will be a limited-edition. Both the hardcover and ebook may be pre-ordered now at introductory (and IPI member discounted) prices at parking.org/greenbook.

It’s an exciting day for the parking industry!

 

 

 

 

 

Lending a Hand to Help a Peer–and the Profession

Shawn Conrad

One of the best things about being part of IPI’s wonderfully generous community is the sharing of information and learning from fellow parking professionals.

IPI recently collaborated with David McKinney, director of parking services at Arkansas State University. David is working on his doctoral dissertation on various management practices at universities and colleges. His work will be valuable to our industry and to support his efforts we asked IPI members to respond to David’s survey.

WOW did you respond! Within a short period of time after our request, David received a treasure trove of responses from his peers at academic institutions across North America and was the envy of his colleagues who commiserate about how difficult it is to get responses. (An aside: Kate Windom, our education researcher who conducted IPI’s Jobs Analysis Survey last year, was similarly bowled over by the level of response from our members.)

Once completed, David will share the results of his survey with IPI and we will share it with you. It’s a real win-win for everyone!

In the future, we’d like to help others with a quest to do academic-reviewed research for the parking industry. I know how easy it is to become survey-weary, but I hope you will continue to consider your participation an investment in advancing the parking profession and making an important contribution. It is appreciated very much. Onward, and thank you!

Investing In Parking

L. Dennis Burns

A recent project asked that we evaluate trends in the parking industry. One of the specific areas of focus was parking technology.

IPI released a very nice piece last year, 2013 Emerging Trends in Parking, based on a survey of its members. Two of the top trends noted in the report were the rapidly-expanding use of smartphones and mobile apps as both a means of pushing out information about parking and as payment options.

The report said, “Topping the list of trends in the $30 billion parking industry is the ‘move toward innovative technologies to improve parking access control and payment automation,’ cited by 59 percent of respondents. Another top trend is ‘real-time communication of pricing and availability to mobile/smartphones.’”

The second major trend related directly to the expansion of payment options:

“The second leading trend is the ‘demand for electronic (cashless) payment,’ with cities such as Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, Houston, and Miami among others, incorporating pay-by-phone programs. Acclaimed as the world’s most successful of its type, the D.C. program has earned 550,000 customers and accounts for 40 percent of the city’s parking revenues. About 80 percent of the seven million transactions to date employ smart phones, with payment options that include credit cards, an online and mobile money management solution, and PayPal.”

As we began our own investigation of industry trends, a friend shared an interesting fact with me” Almost $25 million in funding has been invested in parking-focused mobile payment firms during the past 12 months:

  • Passport – $6M (December 2013)
  • Pango 6.5M (February 2014)
  • QuickPay – $5.5M (February 2014)
  • ParkMobile – $6.3M (February 2013)

These facts, combined with other significant investments by major multi-national corporations such as Xerox, 3M, etc., reinforce the fact that the importance of parking is being recognized on a broader scale than ever before.

This speaks volumes about the advancement of the parking profession and underscores the critical role parking plays in community and economic development, the importance of parking planning, the evolution of a more sustainable transportation industry, and ultimately our ability to directly enhance the parking experience of millions of parking patrons every day. It’s an exciting time to be a parking professional!

 

Are You More Prepared Than a Congressman?

Shawn Conrad

The same day New York Congressman Michael Grimm physically threatened a news reporter following President Obama’s State of the Union Address, IPI conducted its annual Media Training seminar for 35 Certified Administrator of Public Parking (CAPP) candidates. This two-day course has been offered by IPI for more than 20 years, becoming more relevant as parking grows as a popular subject with many media outlets.

Parking professionals regularly find themselves sought-out by reporters seeking input on new management approaches or technology improvements. We live in a 24/7 new cycle, and everything big (and not-so-big) is newsworthy.  Cue the misbehaving teen pop singer.

IPI’s Media Training session began with the question, “How many of you think the media is on your side?”  Not one participant raised his hand. The instructors, not surprised by this reaction, leapt at the chance to showcase all of the ways a person being interviewed can get his messages across, showing our CAPP candidates how to tell their stories when the cameras arrive. Being prepared for an interview helps you not only get your message across, but also helps alleviate any anxiety you might have before the microphone is thrust in your face.

Every time a parking professional looks into a camera, clips on a microphone, or speaks at an event covered by reporters is a chance to get an organization’s message across. When you look and act confident and provide useful information to a reporter’s questions, you serve as an effective ambassador for the parking industry.

Contrary to popular belief, most reporters are just trying to get the story accurately and on time. They aren’t out there to ask “gotcha” questions or make you look uninformed. Preparation is key.

You’ll be glad to know that just as IPI offers education modules on technology, payment systems, and sustainability at state and regional meetings, thanks to our Parking Matters® committee, we are currently developing a media training module that should be ready in the fall. We’ll all benefit from having more parking ambassadors prepared to talk about all the positives in parking.

IPI’s Media Training seminars are conducted to a growing audience ever year. My hope is that you never find yourself asked questions that don’t pertain to the subject area you originally agreed to address. But if you do, media training will give you the skills to handle it on a much more appropriate and less risky way than a certain congressman from New York.

 

 

March Madness (In a Good Way)

Bridgette Brady

March is the start of conference season for the IPI Allied State and Regional Associations and unlike your March Madness brackets, these conferences are guaranteed winners.

The Mid-South Parking and Transportation Association (MSPTA) conference will be held in Chattanooga, Tenn., March 3-5. “A popular staple for our conference has been front-line customer service training,” comments Jennifer Tougas, MSPTA president. “Oftentimes, this leads to staff coming back to work with a greater appreciation of their role in the department and a greater understanding of why Parking Matters®.

The New England Parking Council (NEPC) is back in Boston this year. The NEPC’s conference will be held in the heart of Boston’s New Innovation District at the Seaport Hotel, March 11-12. NEPC hosted 240 parking professionals in Hartford last year, and they expect more in Boston.

The Texas Parking & Transportation Association (TPTA) will hold its conference at the South Shore Harbour Resort & Conference Center in League City, Texas, March 24-27. About 200 parking professionals will meet for this three-day conference that includes educational sessions, a golf outing, an evening event, vendor exhibits, and roundtable discussions.

Further supporting IPI’s partnership with the Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT), the Pacific Intermountain Parking and Transportation Association (PIPTA) will host its Transportation Summit in Salt Lake City with the Rocky Mountain Chapter of ACT (RMACT), April 10-11.

If you are looking for some southern hospitality, the Parking Association of Georgia’s (PAG) conference and tradeshow will focus on planning, mobility, and parking. PAG’s conference will be held at the Hilton Savannah Desoto Hotel in Savannah, Georgia, April 16-18.

If you haven’t attended an IPI Allied Association conference, you really need to. “Attending the Florida Parking Association (FPA) was a very emotional and amazing experience,” says Liliana Rambo, CAPP, chair of IPI’s Board of Directors. “The educational sessions were spectacular, the events were fun, and of course the food was delicious. Having the opportunity to talk, network and reunite with long-time friends and parking colleagues was priceless.”

For more information about your State and Regional Association, please visit http://www.parking.org/about-ipi/ipi-allied-associations

Bridges, Gridlock, and Parking

KimFernandezJan2014

I lived in Maryland and worked in Virginia in 1998, which meant I crossed the Woodrow Wilson Bridge over the Potomac River twice a Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 10.53.17 AMday. Thanks to a progressive manager who embraced flextime even then, I was normally in the office by 7 a.m. and on my way home by 3:30 p.m. Sounds great, right? It was, until the afternoon a jumper perched on the bridge and shut it down for more than five hours, effectively–and quite unexpectedly–plunging the entire Washington, D.C. metro area into gridlock. My 25-minute commute stretched to an utterly miserable three and a half hours.

Thanks to that, I have a lot of empathy for the people in Fort Lee, N.J., who move about at what must feel like the whim of the George Washington Bridge into New York City. Even when those at the state house may or may not be mucking around with traffic there, it affects everyone who lives in town.

Guess who went proactive to get their people moving again? If you said the parking professionals in Fort Lee, you’re absolutely correct, and their system of shuttles and policies has eased traffic in and around town and boosted community spirit, making life that much easier for those they serve. Their story offers a great example of how parking departments offer much more than spaces, and it’s in the January issue of The Parking Professional.

Also in this month’s issue you’ll find a great story on how airport professionals are dealing with entirely new challenges (think food trucks vs. security and Uber vs. traditional cabs); all the new technology airports can use to their advantage; a piece on a fabulous piece of garage art in Australia that’s got everyone there talking; and how garage repairs and marketing to the community can make a big difference. And, of course, you’ll see the winners of this year’s photo contest–say cheese!

The D.C. region survived our friend on the bridge, by the way, as did he–the police eventually shot him in the leg with a beanbag, he jumped into the water and emerged unhurt, and is probably still in hiding from the wrath of thousands of commuters. My guess is that a certain deputy chief of staff in New Jersey will enjoy the same fate.

I hope you enjoy the issue–comment here or drop me a note and let me know what you think.

 

New Year, New Address for IPI

Shawn Conrad

updated_movingIt’s 2014. And, it’s our first day in IPI’s new headquarters in Alexandria, Va.

I have a new perspective on the world, literally and figuratively.

Alexandria is minutes from Washington, D.C., accessible to three major airports and a Metro stop, and our new complex has its own bike share station. It’s easier to visit us, and I hope you will!

Being in close proximity to government agencies with whom we have increasingly close ties will be an asset to IPI and its members.

IPI’s new hometown boasts the fourth largest concentration of professional associations in the nation. Many are associations related to building, property management, urban planning, architecture, transportation, law enforcement, municipalities, universities, healthcare—the list goes on! These are groups with which we either have alliances, or want to build alliances, and the proximity will facilitate those connections.

The offices may be new, but the staff is the same, with the same dedication to serving our members. We’re looking forward to all the opportunities our new address will afford. In the meantime, please update your IPI contact information.

International Parking Institute
1330 Braddock Place, Suite 350
Alexandria, Va., 22314
571.699.3011

There may be times we’re offline during the next few days (our move has been complicated by the snow here). Rest assured, we are working hard and settling in and we look forward to hearing from you Monday morning. Thanks for your patience—look for a virtual tour of our new home in the February issue of The Parking Professional and plan a visit soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elves, Volunteers and Santa 365

Shawn Conrad

When I say 365, I’m not referring to days in the year. I’m talking about the approximate number of parking professionals who chose to volunteer and share their energy and expertise with the International Parking Institute, affiliates, or allied state and regional parking associations during the past 12 months.

Behind every successful IPI program, there are numerous “elves” oiling the machine, delivering the goods, and doing so with bells on!

This is very top of mind because I just re-read my advance copy of the 2013 IPI Year in Review which will accompany your January issue of The Parking Professional. As the year comes to a close, it’s a satisfying exercise to recap highlights of the past twelve months and see how much we accomplished. As, IPI Chair Liliana Rambo, CAPP, coined it: “A stellar year – thanks to so many.”

We were fortunate to have many talented individuals make such a positive difference by working on a committee, writing an article for The Parking Professional or the Parking Matters® Blogbeing the elvebehind the 2013 IPIConference & Expo, participating in webinars, sharing ideas during ShopTalks,and contributing in countless other ways to advance the parking profession.

This season, we hear a great deal about spirit and generosity, but I have found this to be an industry where those attributes are year round in abundance. On behalf of all of us at IPI, our deepest gratitude and very best wishes for a wonderful holiday and a healthy, prosperous new year.

Tea and Parking: What’s the Deal?

JC Porter, Parking and Transportation, Bronco Snapshot, cq

Success boils down to how you treat your customers and employees. I had the opportunity to read The Parking Professional’s Goldman Coverinterview with bestselling author, CEO, and green advocate Seth Goldman in the December issue (coming to your mailbox soon), and found it very insightful. Without giving away all the details of the interview, I want to discuss a few themes Goldman talks about and how they apply to parking.

The first thing he addresses is having a mission that employees at all levels can understand and get behind. Often, mission statements are written by leaders who are not out doing the job on a day-to-day basis and may not have the vision of what a frontline job could be. Getting employees’ buy-in on mission requires their involvement from the ground up. We have to give them the responsibility that will allow them to make decisions that go along with the mission, and empower them to make decisions that translate to top-notch customer service.

Goldman’s second piece of advice is to think like a customer, to ensure the services they want and need are being provided. Most times, we like to tell our customers what they want or need instead of listening to them.

Finally, he advises treating everyone equally so no one feels like an outsider in the corporate environment. This, he says, translates to parking pretty easily: cyclists tend to be relegated to the corner or an area that is under-utilized when bike storage is provided at all. Instead, create spaces that are well thought-out and will help encourage cycling. Consider bike storage that is secure, covered, and close to the front door; lockers and showers; and having a vending machine that dispenses tubes, batteries, or other bicycle-related items to allow quick fix before the ride home. The return on investment for these services will be high; bike infrastructure is inexpensive and employees who bike to work are in better health and less stressed when arriving to work than those who commute by car.

I hope you’ll take time to read the interview with Seth Goldman in the December issue of The Parking Professional. Finding your mission can be as easy as looking toward your employees and customers, and not just looking at the bottom line.