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Parking Lessons from Football Champions

Brett Wood

I feel like you all are getting to know me a little better through this blog. This week’s tidbit is that I am a very proud alumnus of Screen Shot 2013-01-14 at 11.25.48 AMthe University of Alabama–very proud of my education and the wonderful strides the university has taken to establish itself as a premier educational institution. But–you guessed it–today I am proudest of the latest notch in the belt that is the Alabama football dynasty. They won their third national title in four years a few weeks back, and their 15th of all time. And while that last number might be debated, what’s not debatable is their place in football history.

How can we relate that success to a parking program?

Alabama football coach Nick Saban’s approach to achieving success can provide you a roadmap to improving your day-to-day operations and implementing your own successful dynasty. “The Process,” which is Saban’s approach to building a program, focuses on small details rather than the end goals, and the primary objective is for every member of the organization to improve the tasks they handle so it’s inevitable that the program is a champion. Consider some quotes about his process:

  • “Eliminate the clutter and all the things that are going on outside and focus on the things that you can control with how you go about and take care of your business.”
  • “We’re not going to talk about what we’re going to accomplish. We’re going to talk about how we’re going to do it.”
  • “Success doesn’t come from pie-in-the-sky thinking. It’s the result of consciously doing something each day that will add to your overall excellence.”
  • “You can’t get from A to Z by passing up B.”

It’s not rocket science. Saban focuses on nutrition, training, education, fundamentals, and player development as much as game planning for the next opponent. Perfection in every facet is possible because of the daily focus on details. In other words, stop worrying about the big picture success, get down in the weeds, and find a way to make your people, your program, and your community better by focusing on the little things and making more aspects of your program shine.

Judging by the Alabama and Notre Dame parking program comparison in the January issue of The Parking Professional, it appears The Process has extended itself to Alabama Parking Services as well. When The Process is rolling, no one can stop it. ROLL TIDE!

Parking Leaders Kickstart the New Year

Kim Fernandez

The New Year’s resolution: the highlight of the holiday season or the bane of one’s existence. It can go either way. Anyone can make a January 2013 Parking Professional Coverresolution that says we’re going to drop 10 pounds or spend less time on the smartphone or read a book a week or do more yardwork, and lots of us swear that starting January 1, we’re going to work harder, treat our bodies better, and emerge 12 months later better and more successful in some way.

The real question, of course, is how you get from point A to point B. How do you lose that weight? How do you cut back on the email without sacrificing career goals? How, exactly, do you make yourself better/smarter/stronger with the same 24 hours a day you’ve always had?

Businesses are no different; nor is the parking industry. We want to be better at what we do, more efficient, more sustainable, and more successful than ever before despite financial, regulatory, and political roadblocks.


Those are the questions we posed to some of the industry’s top experts in the January issue of The Parking Professional. And they answered, giving their honest evaluations of the industry as it stands and concrete advice for 2013 and beyond. Our industry leaders’ interview is a great starting point for anyone who wants to improve their department or their career this year (who doesn’t?), and we hope you find it useful.

Also in this month’s issue are the winners of our first photography contest (how often do you see a dancer on the cover of a parking magazine?), our Social Media 101 guide for parking professionals, and features on managers as coaches and cheerleaders, turning lemons into lemonade and engaging the entire community in the process, and on airport landside employees’ number-one secret weapon for dealing with difficult customers.

We hope you enjoy this month’s issue!


Casey Jones 4x5 (2)

A tradition I thoroughly enjoy is putting together my list of resolutions for the coming year. It’s pretty standard for me to include such aspirations as, “work out more,” and “eat less junk food,” but this year I thought I’d turn to many of my colleagues on the IPI Board of Directors for inspiration in hopes of not giving up a week into 2013. I looked back at each of the Entrance columns written in The Parking Professional magazine in 2012 to pull together my list. This year I resolve to…:

  1. Be innovative. In February, Chuck Reedstrom, CAPP, wrote about the ever-changing nature of technology in our industry and the need to stay up on the latest innovations.
  2. Keep learning. In April, Cindy Campbell discussed how important it is to continue to develop professionally and for leaders to help their teams do the same.
  3. Serve others. Rick Decker, CAPP, reminded us in the June edition that ours is a service industry and that we can and should expand the products and services we offer our customers.
  4. Think and act strategically. Following lessons learned in his extensive military career, Al Corry, CAPP, in August discussed how critical it is to have a big picture game plan and to execute that plan.
  5.  Have fun. In perhaps my favorite Entrance column of the year, Mike Swartz in November sagely reminded us to find fun in our work and in life.
  6. Be open-minded. In the December edition, Michael Klein, CAPP, pointed out that one can believe in free enterprise and also in protecting the environment.
  7. Be thankful. While this resolution doesn’t come directly from a board member’s column, each person I’ve had the chance to serve with at IPI reminds me of how special our family really is and how lucky I am to be a part of such a great effort.

Good luck writing your own New Year’s resolutions and thank you for your part in making IPI and our industry a success this past year. Here’s to a happy, healthy, prosperous 2013. Onward.

Credit Check

Henry Wallmeyer

Do you accept credit cards? The past several weeks have been very busy and very fruitful for the International Parking Institute and our members in helping bring some understanding to high credit and debit card swipe fees that affect the parking industry. Swipe fees have increased dramatically over the past 15 years, and they’re now a top cost for parking operators. Why the rise? It’s simply because the fees are set by Visa and MasterCard, and they have the market cornered.

Earlier this month, IPI announced it had joined the Merchants Payments Coalition to combat  unfair swipe fees. The Merchants Payments Coalition (MPC) is a group of retailers, supermarkets, drug stores, convenience stores, fuel stations, online merchants, and other businesses fighting against unfair credit card fees and for a more competitive and transparent card system that works better for consumers and merchants alike. The coalition’s member associations collectively represent about 2.7 million stores with approximately 50 million employees.

We’re taking other steps in this area as well. Last Monday, I met with Dan Swanson, counsel to U.S. Sen. Richard J. Durbin, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, to discuss the Durbin Amendment, swipe fees’ effects on the parking industry, and what we can do about the issue as an association and industry. IPI and the MPC view the passage of debit card fee reforms—often referred to as the Durbin Amendment—as a step toward creating a fairer and reasonable payments marketplace. Swanson said he is happy to talk with any of our members and provide insight on this issue. He can be reached at 202.224.2152.

Wednesday, Liz Garner and Doug Kantor of the MPC presented Credit and Debit Swipe Fees: Combating Invisible Costs as part of IPI’s monthly webinar series. They gave a legislative, regulatory, and legal overview of the issues. They also provided details about  the court case brought against the Federal Reserve for poor implementation in their final rulemaking that gave major credit card brands latitude to increase rates on small ticket transactions. You can access the archived version of the webinar here.

IPI will keep you informed of the latest happenings on this issue and with the coalition, but in the meantime, you can control some of your costs by taking advantage of IPI’s Payment Processing Program through AMG Payment Solutions. It is the best program in the industry and will show a direct benefit to your bottom line while IPI works to lower the bigger cost of interchange fees.


IPI’s Latin Parking Conference & Expo Kicks Off

Bonnie Watts

What a beautiful day in Puerto Rico! After a welcome reception that offered wonderful pre-meeting introductions and networking, the second IPI Latin Parking Conference & Expo launched yesterday morning. IPI Executive Director Shawn Conrad, CAE, welcomed the group of more than 80 people from eight countries to San Juan.

Attendees represent a broad spectrum of expertise, with architects, planners, government officials, operators, and university and airport professionals

The conference includes all-day interactive seminars with industry experts facilitating discussions on why Parking Matters®, exhibits, local facility tours, networking events, and roundtable discussion groups. IPI Chair-elect, Liliana Rambo, CAPP, kicked off the morning’s education with The Business of Parking and Profits. She talked about visiting Old San Juan and the challenges faced in the area, and recommended developing a plan, structuring paid parking, and enforcing with courtesy.

A common frustration shared by attendees is how to overcome regulatory hurdles established by city officials who aren’t yet aware about developing parking programs, and the benefits of adding that potential revenue stream to the economy. Spirited discussion happened in sessions, in the hallways, and while visiting with more than 20 exhibitors of parking equipment,  products, and services. It was an exciting day in San Juan!

Parking Gets a Spot at the White House

Casey Jones 4x5 (2)

President Obama has just announced his intent to nominate of IPI Board Member Tim Haahs, P.E., AIA, president and CEO of Timothy Haahs and Associates, to the Board of Directors of the National Institute of Building Sciences. That’s an important role and a significant honor. You can read the official White House release here. And more about the work of the National Institute for Building Sciences here.

What was one of Tim’s first reactions when IPI sent heartfelt congratulations? Tim said he will “make sure Parking Matters®!”

For those of you fortunate enough to have met Tim, you know this is well deserved. His visibility in this important post will reflect well on our entire profession and is fitting for such a visionary and capable expert. Tim is a longtime IPI Board member who contributes greatly to parking, transportation and community building. He is an engineer, architect, head of one of the industry’s best-regarded and most successful parking consultant firms, a prolific writer on the topic of parking and transportation, a community leader, pastor, and beloved colleague and mentor to many of us in the parking community.

You can read his bio here, but that doesn’t do justice to the effect Tim continues to have on our industry because of the unique spirit he brings to everything he does, and to his spiritual self that is ever present. All of us at IPI offer him our most sincere congratulations for this well-deserved achievement.



Shawn Conrad

Our friends at AAA tell us that about 90 percent of U.S. travelers (that’s 39.1 million people) plan to go over the river and through the woods this Thanksgiving in their cars. We know more than anyone that all those cars will be in motion for just part of that time – most of the holiday, they’ll be parked. To aid drivers in the scramble for parking during this busy season, we’ve distributed a news release to consumer media providing parking information, safety tips, and practical advice for holiday shoppers.

We also know that as drivers turn their vehicles into the safe harbor of a parking spot, they probably won’t stop to consider how many parking professionals they have to thank for that remarkable and essential piece of real estate and the industry behind it. So here’s an official thank you from all of us at IPI for your know-how and expertise; without it, we could not connect to our communities, our colleges, our cities, our downtowns, our malls, our museums, our sports stadiums, our entertainment centers, our airports, our hospitals, our retail shops, our residences, our workplaces, or ultimately, our families and friends.

Please count me among those who are thankful for so much at this time of year, and especially for the wonderful people in parking I have the privilege to know.

On behalf of all of us at IPI, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

A Day in the Life of a Parking Professional

Shawn Conrad

What are all the day-to-day tasks involved in being a parking professional?

That’s what we are trying to ascertain with the IPI Parking Job Analysis Survey, which you may have received this week.

This isn’t just another survey–the Job Analysis Survey is particularly important to all of us because it will help us develop a real-world profile of the tasks and responsibilities of parking professionals. That profile will help us better explain the scope of work of our profession to others, and help guide us in developing on-the-mark training and professional development programs within our own ranks.

The difficulty in doing a Job Analysis Survey can be that you really need an extraordinary number of respondents in order for the survey to be truly representative, truly valid. In this day of overburdening emails, too much information, and time constraints, how do you break through the clutter and convince people to take 15 minutes to complete one?

I risked seeming like a wild and crazy optimist when I told our talented and very experienced Job Analysis project consultant, Kate Windom, that I believed our members would surprise her with their response. (Not to brag, but I’m the envy of other association executives when I boast that IPI members in the hundreds fill out our annual call for volunteers.) I knew (hoped!) that I could count on our enthusiastic, thoughtful, and always generous members who were sure to take just 15 minutes to share their thoughts.

Even I was wowed by the response we received to just our first email requesting survey participation. Kate says she’s absolutely never seen anything like it! The response was beyond our wildest dreams!

We still need more. So if you haven’t yet seen an email about the Job Analysis Survey in your mailbox, on IPIs Facebook page, or through the IPI LinkedIn group, please send an email to and ask for a link to the survey. Just write “Job Analysis” in the subject line. You don’t have to be an IPI member to participate. It takes just 15 minutes (every one is a gift to us and to the industry) and you could win an iPad Mini just for responding.

The survey is important in our quest to advance the parking profession and your input is vital.

Hurricane Sandy

Shawn Conrad

IPI’s offices are closed today as we, like much of the Eastern seaboard, prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. As I write this, forecasters are saying she will be catastrophic–perhaps the largest storm to ever hit the U.S.

We will open again as quickly as possible when Sandy retreats from this area. Until then, much of our staff will be working from home for as long as power remains. Apologies in advance if
a few of your emails or phone calls receive delayed responses.

Our thoughts are with everyone in the path of the hurricane and all who will be affected. It is times like these when I reflect on the meaning of community. The definition I like best is one that defines community as a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. Most of us are fortunate to be part of many different communities, and I am very honored to count the IPI parking community among those most important to me. Stay safe, all!

Last Week to Enter The Parking Professional Photo Contest

Kim Fernandez

You know how the holidays sneak up on us every year? Same with tax day–we think we’re prepared and ready, and then wham! It’s here, and we end up panicking to get everything done before the big day ends.

Consider this your seven-day warning: The Parking Professional’s first photo contest ends exactly one week from today, and you have a little more than 168 long hours to get your entry in. We’ve received a lot of fantastic entries, but we still want to see yours!

Need a little motivation? How about a free registration to the IPI Conference & Expo in beautiful Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., next May? That’s what our Best in Show winner will receive, along with having his or her photo featured on the cover of an upcoming issue of The Parking Professional. You could also spice up your wardrobe with a stylish Parking Matters® shirt or see your photo published in the magazine if you take top honors in our six main categories of pictures:

  • Beautiful
  • Funny
  • People in Parking
  • Structure/Lot
  • Nature
  • Most Offbeat or Unusual

All you need to do is take a parking-related digital photo and visit to upload it into the contest. That’s it! Easy-peasy, but you only have one more week to join in the fun.

Hit us with your best shot! I can’t wait to see all of your entries!


Catch the Big One

Bonnie Watts

As I write this, I am exhilarated–and tired. I sure won’t be sending you a photograph of my desk this week. That’s because we opened exhibit sales for the 2013 IPI Conference & Expo and we’ve already broken our best opening-day record. It’s been a wild ride! I guess this is like hosting a Super Bowl in your city for our municipality members, or the freshman move-in day for our university members. A big day! An important day! By Day Two this week, we were 70 percent sold out–already bigger than any other parking conference or expo in the world–and I have a hunch the IPI Conference & Expo in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (on the ocean–such a beautiful place to be in May) will be our biggest show ever. Biggest and best. Behind the scenes, IPI staff is working to make the conference the best ever, on every level.

We’ve got new initiatives underway to ensure that we broaden the types of attendees who attend because we know there are important new ideas, products, and services that need to be shared in order to advance the parking profession–our primary mission. We’re looking at new ways to meet the needs of our attendees so that every day of the conference is full of learning, opportunity, and inspiration.

Mark your calendars now for May 19-22 and we promise to provide expertise that prepares you, technology that empowers you, and networking that moves you forward. And did I mention a whole lot of fun and long-lasting friendships, too?  To our wonderful sponsors and exhibitors (those who have already signed on, and those who may be planning to), I just wanted to say it’s a privilege to work in this industry.



PARK(ing) Day Completes our Streets

Jeff Petry

Today is PARK(ing) Day –an international day where our metered parking spaces turn into park spaces that promote creativity, civic engagement, critical thinking, unscripted social interactions, generosity and play.*

Why are we sometimes hesitant to embrace a concept such as PARK(ing) Day? Have a seat on my couch and let’s talk about our anxieties:

  • Safety: Having people, especially kids playing, in a parking space next to moving traffic is dangerous.
  • No turnover: The space is essentially reserved all day long and the abutting businesses lose convenience customers.
  • It challenges our thought: It can be difficult for us to think about an on-street parking space being used for something other than an automobile.

I understand these concerns, as they all went through my mind with my first experience of a PARK(ing) Day. The top two disappeared when I saw the safe layout of the transformed spaces and neighborliness of the PARK-ers with adjacent businesses (There is a free PARK(ing) Day manual that addresses these issues, too).

The last, I realized, was just a reaction to tackling something different from our day-to-day work, but the fresh perspective of PARK(ing) day provides a healthy challenge to our profession. We need to be pushed outside our comfort range to maintain a robust understanding of how our profession integrates into larger community concerns.

The mission behind PARK(ing) Day, however, is not that different from other familiar situations. Many municipal and campus parking lots are viewed as land bank sites for future development. How many of us have had a surface lot converted to something else–likely a building or parking structure? How many of us carry this normal development scenario over to the on-street parking system? Is it really that big of a leap of parking faith to think about converting an on-street parking space to a different use, at least for a day?

We must recognize that our streets are public spaces that serve more than just a transportation function. Our public spaces provide the opportunity for social interactions, public gathering spaces, vending, events, and even sometimes temporary conversion to a park for a day. PARK(ing) Day feeds into the concept of a Complete Street that aims to allow socioeconomic uses for our streets to coexist happily with our transportation needs year ‘round. PARK(ing) Day provides a short-term experiment to help us and as our enlightened community members and decision makers visualize a different use of a metered, on-street parking space. It can also help us parking folks expand our professional roles and re-think the services our management can provide.


*Original PARK(ing) Day concept by Rebar.,

Grants Awarded for Parking Pricing Projects

Henry Wallmeyer

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced more than $363 million in grants from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to fund a wide variety of highway improvements that include the Value Pricing Pilot (VPP) Program. The VPP Program supports a variety of strategies to manage congestion on highways, including tolling highway facilities through congestion pricing, as well as other methods that do not involve tolls, such as mileage-based car insurance and parking pricing. Awardees and grant amount included:

Multimodal, Dynamic Parking Pricing in Downtown Washington, D.C.
This project will implement dynamic pricing and a reservation system for commercial vehicle parking to manage metered curbside spaces in the congested downtown business district and tourist areas. It will encourage freight travel at off-peak times and enable tour bus operators to find parking, as well as use parking revenues to support transit services. $1,090,000 

ParkSmart New York City
The project continues the work of a previous pilot to introduce higher on-street meter rates during peak times in select neighborhoods to support retail areas by increasing vehicle turnover and allowing more vehicles to access on-street parking. It offers tailored pricing strategies in up to 25 new neighborhood retail corridors to reflect parking demand, and will reduce congestion caused by double-parked and circling cars. $950,000

Kendall Square Employer Transportation Benefit Pricing Trail
The city of Cambridge, Mass., and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will evaluate the effectiveness of a range of current parking pricing strategies used by area employers and provide financial incentives to deploy and evaluate additional new strategies.  $743,872

Performance Parking System Implementation in Los Angeles
This project will install sensors to monitor occupancy and adjust prices for 543 on-street and 366 off-street parking spaces to reduce emissions while searching for parking. $600,272

San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Commission Regional Parking Pricing Analysis Tool
This proposal creates a regional parking database that will allow localities to analyze the effects of various parking pricing scenarios designed to encourage transit and other alternative travel in the Bay Area. $560,000

King County, Wash., Park-and-Ride Pricing in Multi-Family Developments
This project will address a regional shortage in parking spaces at park-and-ride facilitates. The project will facilitate the paid use of parking spaces that are vacated during the day in multifamily neighborhoods along transit routes in the Seattle area, thereby allowing more use of public transit. $543,900

Parking Pricing Enhancement Study in San Francisco
This two-part project will study and assess options for implementing a residential parking pricing pilot and develop transferable technical specifications for SFpark, which would help other cities implement similar programs. $420,000

For the complete list of awardees, visit, and be sure to download for free the FHWA’s Contemporary Approaches to Parking Pricing.

We encourage all parking organizations to explore the opportunity to improve their operations with the assistance of federal or private grants. For more information on the FHWA grants, please contact:

Allen Greenberg
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration

America’s Parking Lot

Kim Fernandez

My dad took me to my first football tailgate when I was 12 or 13 years old. It was a University of Maryland vs. Clemson game, and while I don’t remember who won, the party in the parking lot is clearly etched in my brain.

Filmmaker Jonny Mars went to his first pro football tailgate party as an adult, five years ago, after betting a friend that watching a Dallas Cowboys game at home was a better experience than going to a game in person. He figured there would be food and beer and lots of yelling, but what he didn’t expect to find was a community there among the pickup trucks and tents and trailers. And he certainly never thought his life would be flipped upside-down outside Cowboys Stadium, but that’s exactly what happened.

Mars spent the next four years making a movie called “America’s Parking Lot,” about the Gate 6 Tailgaters in Dallas–possibly the most rabid group of fans the Cowboys enjoy–and how they were nearly torn apart when the team moved to a new stadium, a new ticket pricing structure, and a new parking lot. He and I started talking several months ago, and even having spent much of my work time immersed in parking for more than a year, his film and those fans’ story kind of blew me away.

In the September issue of The Parking Professional, you’ll meet tailgate ringleader Cy Ditmore, who’s featured in the film, and hear his thoughts on football and tailgates and parking. He talks about the family he gained when he started hanging out on the asphalt before football games, and he means it quite literally; the men and women he parties with have become as dear to his heart as his own blood relatives.

The movie is scheduled to appear on most cable systems’ video on demand menus starting November 22, sharing the importance of that parking lot with much of America. I hope you’ll spend some time with our story, get to know Jonny and Cy a little bit, and then make a date with your television to watch the film.

It’s much more than a party out there. It’s a neighborhood, and shows why, in a very grassroots sense, Parking Matters®.

It’s IPI Conference Presentation Call Time

Henry Wallmeyer

It may seem like we’re all still settling in from the 2012 IPI Conference & Expo in Phoenix, but the IPI Conference Program Committee is already hard at work planning the 2013 event in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., May 19-22. If you’ve ever thought about giving a presentation at the largest gathering of parking professionals in the world and helping shape the future of your industry, this is the time to submit your proposal.

Experienced and articulate professionals who’d like to share their expertise and real-world experience with IPI Conference & Expo attendees are invited to submit proposals to present at next year’s event. The official call for presentation explains all the details, but there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Presentation proposals are due Oct. 1, 2012. The Conference Program Committee will review them immediately  after that date, so don’t be late with yours.
  • Presenters are entitled to a 25 percent discount off full or daily Conference registrations (CAPP candidates are not eligible for this discount). We cannot, however, provide fees or expense reimbursements.
  • Please don’t confuse educational sessions with Expo hall pitches. Make sure your educational session content is based on a relevant topic, concept, or idea, and not your services, products, company, or proprietary information.
  • Submit as many proposals as you want, but make your proposals great to rise above the rest.

To learn more about how the IPI Conference Program Committee judges and selects Conference session presenters, see the April 2012 issue of The Parking Professional .

There is no better venue than the IPI Conference & Expo to share your experience; it’s where parking professionals from around the world go for the game-changing thinking and innovation that will propel them and their businesses ahead. I hope you’ll be part of it and consider submitting your proposal by Oct. 1. Please let me know if you have questions, and see you in Ft. Lauderdale!

The Parking Professional and Colin Powell

Shawn Conrad

Inspiration can come from many sources. My inspiration comes from people I meet every day who make the most of their surroundings and those who look for and seize opportunities, like the gentleman on the cover of the August issue of The Parking Professional.

General Colin Powell certainly has made the most of his opportunities. He rose, as he describes  it, from “ordinary circumstances” to serve the United States in many different capacities. Since 1958, Gen. Powell has received 11 military decorations, served as National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of State. His devotion to serving did not end when he left public office. Over the past several years, he and his wife, Alma, have devoted themselves to the well-being of children, co-chairing America’s Promise Alliance, a non-profit committed to helping young people succeed.

The general is also a car enthusiast and loves his 19 Corvettes, but that’s not why The Parking Professional sought him out for an interview. As he says in his new book, It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership, then-Secretary of State Powell had a discussion with a group of parking attendants in the State Department’s garage that we at IPI found quite enlightening.

Gen. Powell used the story about the parking attendants to remind people that our actions and how we treat people can have a profound effect on those around us.

I encourage you to read our interview with Gen. Powell in the August issue of The Parking Professional magazine , and if you’re so inclined, pick up a copy of his new book. While we will always remember Gen. Powell for his service to our country, we are also proud that he fully understands why Parking Matters®.

From Puerto Rico: Developing the Second Annual IPI Latin Parking Conference

Shawn Conrad

I just returned from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, which has a rich history dating  back to Christopher Columbus’ second voyage to the Americas in 1493. This diverse series of islands has served as a landing spot for voyagers, adventurers, developers, and individuals seeking the islands’ hidden beauty. What many people don’t know about this gem of the Caribbean is that it is just a few hours’ direct flight from most locations within the U.S., Mexico, Central, and South America.

This December 10-12, the International Parking Institute (IPI), working with a host committee comprised of parking professionals from Puerto Rico, Colombia, Panama, Mexico, Chile, and Peru, will launch our own voyage by hosting the second IPI Latin Parking Conference & Expo, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

While we knew we had strong local interest to bring education and technology to an event to Puerto Rico, my trip to this wonderful place has given me a bird’s eye view of the overall parking landscape. Parking in Puerto Rico is mostly free. That provides many challenges and also many opportunities in communicating with local government officials and with communities. There are many challenges here; IPI is eager to showcase industry best practices and to enable our member experts to share parking management, best practices, and new technologies that could provide a much-needed revenue stream to support municipal, university, and medical center activities.

With assistance from IPI representatives from the Sifontes Group and Desarrollafora LCP, the December Latin Parking Conference will showcase new thinking in managing parking operations, provide for demonstrations of the latest equipment and technology available to the parking and transportation industry, and allow Conference attendees to explore all the beauty that is Puerto Rico. The conference will be presented in English with Spanish translation provided.

Be on the lookout for more information about this event as we continue to expand the borders of why Parking Matters®.

Contemporary Approaches to Parking Pricing: A Primer

Allen Greenberg

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) learned that a parking pricing primer would be valued from feedback received at a two-day parking pricing workshop we sponsored in San Francisco in September 2011. Despite the dire financial straits of many local governments, more than 70 governmental parking and transportation officials attended and the level of engagement was incredible. We left with a clear message that city transportation and parking professionals were clamoring for help to do more.

When developing the primer (available here), we were surprised by just how many different parking pricing strategies had been tested in all sorts of different places. The one thing we can promise to readers is that no one will be lacking for great parking pricing ideas after having read the whole primer. From the responses we received from our session at the 2012 IPI Conference & Expo in Phoenix last month, putting the primer out was definitely the right move.

The primer discusses a broad range of innovative parking pricing projects, including some funded by FHWA. They involve both public and private partners operating under an array of institutional arrangements. For example, FHWA funded the nation’s largest and most sophisticated performance-parking program to date: San Francisco’s SFpark, which includes 6,000 on-street parking spaces (and more than twice that number of municipal garage parking spaces) to achieve an on-street parking occupancy goal of 60 to 80 percent by charging rates that vary by geography and time of day.

Parking costs are often hidden or passed onto someone other than the person parking. The primer examines strategies for unbundling parking from real-estate (where parking is purchased and rented discretely from other transactions) and strategies such as parking cash-out (when employers provide free parking to employees, often in employer owned or leased lots).

The primer also highlights some smaller gems. For example, a lesser known aspect of SFpark is the fee structure applied within city-owned garages. A $2 discount is provided for vehicles that enter a parking garage before 7:30 a.m. or leave after 7:30 p.m. and stay for at least three hours. The discount is designed to encourage travel outside of peak congestion periods. A second gem was found in an FHWA-funded project in Minneapolis. This research targeted purchasers of monthly parking passes and examined the effects of various alternatives. The most flexible of the alternatives tested was called the PayGo Flex-Pass, where a monthly transit pass was provided free to purchasers of monthly parking passes, and those taking transit instead of parking any day of the month received a $2 rebate versus a $7 rebate on days where neither parking nor transit was used (with the total monthly rebate capped at half the cost of the monthly parking pass). This led to a huge decline in driving days—from 78.5 percent to 56.5 percent.

FHWA’s primer aims to help IPI member professionals eager for information on parking pricing to pursue innovation. Download your copy today at!

So Much to Learn!

L. Dennis Burns

I told a friend at this year’s IPI Conference and Expo in Phoenix that I couldn’t believe how much I was learning.

The pace of technological innovation continues at breakneck speed, but even more fascinating is the creative application of these advancements in parking management and sustainable transportation initiatives. Seattle, San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., are all pursuing advanced programs that could redefine parking’s relationship with technology and our interaction with larger transportation and environmental disciplines. Somewhat ironically, despite the cutting-edge technologies and creative system design and integration, the basic elements of communication, customer service, and effective program management continue to be core issues that need to be addressed.

The innovation and product development of an increasingly diverse set of vendors and suppliers was really eye-opening. New products and services (not to mention professional colleagues) from around the globe were some of the most exciting elements of this year’s conference for me.

Equally impressive were the advancements in mid-sized municipal programs. At the top of this list are Michael Klein’s innovative program in Albany, the incredible turnaround of the Cedar Rapids parking program (now known as “Park Cedar Rapids,” led by Vanessa Rogers and Jon Rouse) following the devastating floods of 2008, and the City of Lincoln’s strong and steady progress in going from “Good to Great” under Ken Smith’s leadership. These programs show the depth and penetration of the industry’s progress.

Another key area changing how we are perceived is facility design: parking being “better integrated into the urban form” and designed with sustainability and economic development in mind. A great way to stay abreast of the innovation and industry advancement in these areas is the IPI Awards of Excellence program. Look for more on this year’s winners in the July issue of The Parking Professional.

One final note: The selection of Rachel Yoka as IPI’s Parking Professional of the Year was the perfect choice! Congratulations, Rachel!

The Importance of a Good Industry Education

Brett Wood

Just last year, I started working to earn my Certified Administrator of Public Parking (CAPP) designation through IPI. I have two degrees in civil engineering and professional engineering registrations in a couple of states, but throughout years of arduous years of study and training, the closest my classmates and I came to learning about parking was some coursework on the design of a surface parking facility. Very few universities or programs teach parking as a discipline.

Next time you get in a room of parking professionals, ask, “How did you get into parking?” I bet their various backgrounds range from business to transportation, design to policy, and everything in between. A lot of our industry leaders are self-made and self-taught. Many of them began as cashiers or operations staff and worked their way into parking management, and this background provides them with a strong knowledge of the industry. Thankfully, IPI recognizes this and uses their expertise to drive the CAPP program. These innovators are the same people who are leading the training in the classroom.

More importantly, the next round of parking innovators is sitting in the audience. While I have found great value in the materials presented in the CAPP class, my greatest takeaway has been the network of people I have met there and the knowledge I extract from them. These folks include a wide spectrum of public operators, private operators, municipal managers, airport parking managers, university parking and transportation directors, equipment manufacturers, and consultants. This broad cross-section provides a much more well-rounded experience for me and all CAPP candidates.

If you are considering the program, ask a CAPP candidate or graduate about the importance of a good education. You’ll invest both time and money in CAPP for sure, but my recommendation is to jump in feet first. The knowledge and network you develop may very well send you to the head of the class in your program and our industry.

Hitting Our Stride

Casey Jones 4x5 (2)

I’ve run about 20 marathons and half marathons over the past 10 years and while each one is unique (talk about unique: at the Newport, Ore. marathon I ran in early June, runners were treated to raw Yaquina Bay oysters at miles 11 and 19), each also offers a similar ending, at least for me. As I hit the finisher’s chute elated and relieved to be finished, a sense of accomplishment washes over me quickly. After a few minutes, I regain a small amount of composure and find other runners to chat with about how the race went and what big race is next. There is an overwhelming sense of community, accomplishment, inspiration and yes, well-earned fatigue among the runners at the finish.

As we boarded buses heading back downtown after our closing fiesta event held at the Corona Ranch at the end of the 2012 IPI Conference and Expo in Phoenix, I couldn’t help feeling these same things. This fun, exciting, and at times surprising closing event capped off what I consider to be one of the very best conferences we’ve ever held. With more than 2,400 attendees, 220+ exhibitors, and 25 countries represented, it’s difficult not to feel a great sense of accomplishment and inspiration about where our industry has been and is heading. Thank you all for your part and for making this a memorable and hugely successful event.

Some think of life as a race with a start and finish and winners and losers. I think of life and running as a journey with hills and valleys and lots of water stations, and good company along the way.

IPI Conference & Expo Out with a Bang

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A live rodeo in an outdoor arena, complete with performances by good-natured parking professionals, authentic Tex-Mex dinner, and spectacular fireworks display closed out the 2012 IPI Conference & Expo in Phoenix with fun and friends.

IPI Chair Casey Jones kicked things off with an appearance on horseback in the middle of the ring at the Corona Ranch, before some unsuspecting Conference attendees were called out to wrangle calves, milk goats, and have some good old-fashioned Phoenix fun before their friends in the audience.

After a dinner together, attendees were invited outside for a surprise fireworks display that was met with much applause, before bidding goodnight with promises to meet again in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., May 19-22 for next year’s Conference & Expo.

Before all of that, it was another productive day at the Phoenix Convention Center…

Summit Explores How TDM Compliments Parking

A crowd gathered at the IPI Conference & Expo Wednesday morning to learn how parking professionals can integrate transportation demand management (TDM) strategies into their programs to help achieve mobility goals, during the Summit on TDM: Transportation Tools to Support Parking Program Effectiveness.

The one-day symposium, co-sponsored by IPI and the Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT), provided participants with a lot of practical, actionable information and case studies. The event was co-chaired by ACT president Brian Shaw, director of business services at The University of Pennsylvania, and Josh Kavanagh, director of transportation at the University of Washington.

In “Show Me the Money: The Business Case for TDM,” UrbanTrans North America president Joddie Gray, AICP, shared vital tips on transportation program funding. She noted that it’s important to create a strategic business plan, based on a clear picture of future transportation demand and desired transportation system performance.

Brian Shaw took to the podium to deliver “Setting the Stage: How Public Policy Can Create a Favorable Environment for Your TDM program.” Shaw explained how transportation programs are funded and how parking operations can be at the table to get their share of federal and other public resources.

Other speakers addressed “Getting What You’re Paying For: Metrics for TDM Programs,” “Building Your Operating Plan: Picking the Right Tools for the Job,” and other topics. The Summit’s afternoon panel discussions gathered the collective expertise of several speakers to field questions and provide guidance on implementing a variety of TDM strategies, in “An Operating Manual for Your TDM Tools.”

Media Crash Course: Speaking Parking Matters®

Wednesday’s general session brought Nick Calderone, owner of Reel Stories, and Phoenix CBS 5 News Anchor Sean McLaughlin to the General Session stage for a robust discussion on talking with the media.

“Nobody knows the information better than you,” said Calderone. “You’re in control.” He encouraged participants to remember going into a media interview that the reporter sought them out for their specific knowledge–”You are the smartest person in the room.”

The two presented their “Bes and Don’ts” for media interviews, encouraging parking professionals to be prepared, honest, passionate, expressive, accurate, and calm. “Everybody can tell if you’re not telling the truth,” said McLaughin. When faced with a reporter, they said, don’t lie, mislead, be evasive or defensive, speculate, or deny. And no matter what, don’t say “no comment.”

“Get that out of your brain,” said Calderone.

We Have Winners!

The last day of the IPI Expo meant lots of excitement on the floor as raffles were conducted and prizes were given away. Cheryl Woodward and Debra Wooden each won $500 in IPI’s Expo-Opoly game. After that, it was time to announce the year’s Best in Show exhibitor booths. Winners are:

  • Best in Show, 100-300 square feet
    •    First place: Eco Lights
    •    Second Place: Garage Juice Bar
    •    Third Place: Streetline
  • Best in Show, 400-600 square feet: Magnetic Autocontrol
  • Best in Show, 800-1200 square feet: Amano Mcgann
  • Best in Show, People’s Choice: Magnetic Autocontrol


Media Coverage

The IPI Conference & Expo generated lots of press coverage, as reporters and cameras descended on the show floor to see all the latest in parking technology, products, services, and trends. A few highlights:

  • KPNX-TV the NBC affiliate in Phoenix featured a live morning interview with Casey Jones and reporter Jaclyn Schultz, complete with a smart parking meter and sensing device to show.
  • KNXV-TV the ABC affiliate in Phoenix featured an interview with IPI Chair Casey Jones.
  • KPHO –TV the CBS affiliate in Phoenix sent anchor Sean McLaughlin for a report for the 10 oclock news, but had so much fun he couldn’t tear himself away and stayed for more than an hour.
  • Sean Holstege, reporter for the Arizona Republic newspaper, toured the floor with Casey Jones and Immediate Past Chair Cindy Campbell, asking in-depth and probing questions about all the new technology.
  • Cindy Campbell was interviewed for Phoenix news radio station KTAR.
  • Casey Jones will be the guest on the radio program Business for Breakfast on MoneyRadio 1510.
  • Finally, the New York Times sent a videographer to the Expo.

Tuesday at the IPI Conference & Expo: Recognizing Achievement, Peering into a Crystal Ball

Mark Wright

Casey Jones (right) presents Roamy Valera with his Chairman's Award

Gary Means, CAPP, and Kim Jackson, CAPP, cranked up the spotlight Tuesday morning to present the 2012 IPI Professional Recognition Awards. Noting that the awards are given to parking pros who “exemplify excellence in their work everyday,” they presented plaques to:

  • Heather Medley (Texas Tech University): Parking Staff Member of the Year
  • June Broughton (Texas A&M University): Parking Supervisor of the Year
  • University of Maryland, College Park, Department of Transportation Services: Parking Organization of the Year
  • Rachel Yoka LEED AP BD+C, CNU+A, CPSM (Timothy Haas & Associates, Inc.): Parking Professional of the Year

Next, Board Chair Casey Jones, CAPP, presented the Chairman’s Award to Wanda Brown (UC Davis Health System) and Roamy Valera, CAPP (Standard Parking Corporation). Casey expressed his deep appreciation for their service and shared comments—both touching and amusing—from board members about both of them. (Hint: watch for salsa dancing at next year’s IPI Conference & Expo in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.!)

The Future of Parking

Attendees were then invited on a journey into the future of parking and mobility by Dr. George Hazel, FCIHT MICE FCILT OBE, chairman of MRC McLean Hazel. Opening with an adaptation of the blue pill/red pill challenge Morpheus issued to Neo in “The Matrix,” Hazel observed that while staying with an operational/regulatory “blue pill” view of parking and mobility is perfectly OK, trends around the globe reveal a whole new “red pill” paradigm centered primarily around the customer that savvy parking pros can leverage to their benefit.

Mobility will have to be seamless, be end user-focused, and offer customers value, he said. We need to think of this future as a retail model, not an operational model, he added, offering examples from around the globe of new apps and services that put the customer at the center of parking and mobility.

The question, said Hazel, is: Who’s going to shape, lead—and make money from—that “red pill” future? “If you don’t do it, someone else will. Maybe Google? Maybe Walmart? Who knows?”

He said he hopes a partnership model emerges, but it’s not clear yet in the journey who will do this. “The parking industry has a crucial part to play in cities in all sorts of ways,” he observed. But we need to understand these trends and explore potential business models.

The Expo

Exhibitors and Conference attendees enjoyed several hours on the show floor. Since the show opened, they’ve been joined by reporters from several news outlets. Yesterday, CBS’s Sean McLaughlin stopped to chat with parking professionals including Rachel Yoka, vice president of Timothy Haahs & Associates and the 2012 IPI Parking Professional of the Year.

Lunch was again served in the Expo hall, and attendees took advantage of education sessions before and after show hours.

Today at the Conference & Expo

It’s Free Expo Hall day! There is no charge to visit this year’s Expo today and guests are welcome.

Also today are a general session keynote on How to Maximize Media Opportunities and Speak Parking Matters®, the IPI/ACT Summit on TDM: Transportation Tools to Support Parking Program Effectiveness, more educational sessions, and the Viva la Fiesta industry closing event (tickets required), which should be a bang!

An Electric Day in Phoenix, in More Ways than One

Mark Wright

Monday proved another productive, enlightening day at the IPI Conference & Expo in Phoenix, Ariz. After Executive Director Shawn Conrad, CAE, walked attendees through scenes from IPI’s first 50 years during Monday’s breakfast keynote session, Chair Casey Jones, CAPP, recognized current and outgoing members of the board, followed by the presentation of the 2012 IPI Awards of Excellence. (read more about this year’s winners in the July issue of The Parking Professional).

Keynote speaker Britta Gross, director, Global Energy Systems and Infrastructure Commercialization, General Motors, then took the stage with a simple message about a complex topic: Parking is very important to alternative fuel vehicles.

She outlined the three major options for fuel and propulsion systems on the market: plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), extended range EVs (EREV), and battery EVs (BEV). After talking about the technology behind her company’s Chevy Volt, she urged parking professionals to become familiar with EVSE (electrical vehicle supply equipment) suppliers, and recognize opportunities to make parking facilities EV-friendly. Toward that end, she concluded with seven steps to consider:

  1. Identify parking facilities where vehicles park for two or more hours.
  2. Prioritize residential (overnight) parking.
  3. Identify existing 120V outlets in parking facilities.
  4. Reach out to electric utilities for information.
  5. Consider 240V EVSE installations..
  6. Consider a valet parking solution to facilitate access to nearby EVSE installations.
  7. Explore solar power for EVSE installations for even greater sustainability benefits.


Florida Prize Winner Excited to be in Phoenix

Jacqueline Sablain was taking in the sights and sounds of her first IPI Conference & Expo, meeting people at her table during the Monday, June 11 breakfast keynote, when she found herself in the spotlight.

IPI Executive Director Shawn Conrad, CAE, welcomed Jacqueline during his opening remarks, noting that she was attending the show as the winner of the Florida Parking Association’s (FPA) Carol Easterling Scholarship Award grand prize for front-line employees. Here’s her winning video!

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As head clerk in the University of Central Florida’s Parking and Transportation Services office, Sablain said she focuses on turning negatives into positives. “I’m looking forward to learning as much as possible and looking for anything that helps us with our customer service,” she said Monday morning.

High on her must-attend list during the conference: the “Going Green” Arizona State University campus tour on Wednesday, and the “Parkaholics Anonymous: 12 Step Intervention” educational session on Tuesday that focuses on the University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s program.

Expo Hall Opens to Fanfare

After Monday’s Awards of Excellence program and keynote address, parking professionals flooded the Expo hall to meet with vendors from all segments of the industry. Many attendees noted the larger size of the hall as compared with past years, and later returned Monday afternoon for a reception that was complete with live music, refreshments, and a slice of IPI’s 50th birthday cake.

Today at the Conference & Expo

Tuesday kicks off with a general session keynote by Dr. George Hazel on “The Future of Parking in Cities” (read more about that in the November 2011 issue of The Parking Professional), and the 2012 Professional Recognition Awards. A full morning and afternoon of educational sessions and off-site facility tours are complemented by lunch and several hours in the Expo Hall, with even more Power Pitch offerings. it’s going to be a full day in Phoenix!

All Roads Lead to Technology


According to a new survey released today by the International Parking Institute (IPI), technology, sustainability, revenue-generation, and customer service are the top trends in the parking industry and the things most parking professionals are looking for.

The 2012 Emerging Trends in Parking Survey was released at the IPI Conference & Expo in Phoenix, Ariz., this morning. It showed that cashless, electronic, and automatic payment systems join apps that provide real-time information about parking rates and availability and wireless sensing devices that help improve traffic management as the top in-demand technologies in the industry.

More than one-third of respondents said that demand for sustainable services is a top trend, and that they’re talking about energy-efficient lighting, parking space guidance systems, automatic payment process, solar panels, renewable energy technology, and systems that accommodate electric vehicles and/or encourage alternative methods of travel. Technologies that help people find parking faster take cars off the road; an estimated 30 percent of people driving around cities at any time are looking for parking, wasting fuel and emitting carbons.

Survey participants also said that convincing urban planners, local governments, and architects to include parking professionals in their early planning processes is a priority; doing that, they said, would help prevent many design problems in final projects. And when asked where parking should be included as a course of study in academic institutions, nearly half of the survey participants said schools of urban study, followed by business or public policy schools.

The full survey can be accessed on IPI’s website.