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 www.parking.org/fhwaprimer!

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

Casey Jones on His HorseARVE Error: no video ID

 

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

Congratulations!

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

EmergingTrends_100sq

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.

IPI Conference & Expo Buzzing with Activity

parking-expo-learning-lab

The 2012 IPI Conference & Expo kicked off over the weekend with the 19th Annual CAPP Classic Golf Tournament, a reception for international and first-time attendees, an in-depth Learning Lab, the Sunsational Phoenix Meet & Mingle Reception, CAPP graduation, and educational sessions in five specialized tracks. It was a busy two days in Phoenix!

Learning Lab Goes In-Depth

L. Dennis Burns, CAPP; Barbara Chance, Ph.D. and Josh Kavanagh, CAPP spent Sunday morning facilitating small-group discussions that focused on downtown, privatization, and university issues, before delving into case studies that were designed to be informative and challenging:

  • The downtown group focused on the strategic planning process that Fort Collins, Colo., used to explore the possibility of adopting paid parking, and reviewed the nine recommendations in the city’s plan.
  • The university discussion centered on a fictitious campus that experienced an 8 percent population increase that created parking supply-and-demand issues.
  • The privatization group had the perspectives of two parking pros from U.S. municipalities contrasting with two private sector property specialists from Lima, Peru. All found themselves struggling to balance short-term revenue pressures with long-term market realities.

Participants applauded the Learning Lab’s format, process, and topic mix, and said they valued the opportunity for quality networking.

 

Global Parking Association Summit Meeting

IPI Chair Casey Jones, CAPP, told participants at the first IPI Global Parking Association Summit Meeting how proud he was that they traveled from points around the globe to gather together and talk about parking and their individual associations.

Leaders from parking associations in Spain, Canada, Norway, Brazil, Great Britain, and the U.S. met for several hours Sunday afternoon, discussing the various challenges faced by the parking profession in their individual countries, and the ways the industry was similar around the world. The invitation-only event was especially appropriate this year, said Jones, as the IPI Conference & Expo hosted parking professionals from 25 different countries.

After friendly discussion about their associations and the nuances of each country’s parking industry, the group settled in to talk about Parking Matters®, and the friendships that were forged over the conference table. Follow-up events are anticipated.

CAPP Graduation

Sunday night, 13 parking professionals graduated from the Certified Administrator of Public Parking (CAPP) program, earning their certifications before a crowd of their peers after two rigorous years of study.
The newest CAPP-certified professionals are:

Ross L. Allanson, CAPP, Ampco System Parking

Pamela Corbin, CAPP, City of Orlando, Florida

Gordon G. Dash, CAPP, City of Raleigh, North Carolina

Michael Drow, CAPP, Standard Parking Corporation

James Horski, CAPP, Ampco System Parking

Natasha Labi, CAPP, Parking Company of America

Jeffrey A. LaGesse, CAPP, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Amy K. Orr, CAPP, College of Charleston.

Danette L. Perry, CAPP, City of Berkeley, California Transportation

Krishna D. Singh, CAPP, University of Central Florida

Gregory J. Stormberg, CAPP, Parkmobile USA, Inc.

Paul N. Whetzel, CAPP, Charleston County Government

Sandra L. Ziegler, CAPP, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Today at the Conference & Expo

Today will be another busy one for IPI Conference & Expo attendees. Things kick off with a keynote presentation by Britta Gross, director, global energy systems and infrastructure commercialization, General Motors, followed by the grand opening of the Expo. Another round of educational sessions promise to inspire and inform, and a reception on the Expo Hall floor rounds out the day. Check back here tomorrow for highlights!

On to Phoenix!

Casey Jones 4x5 (2)

I remember my first IPI Conference & Expo vividly. I was serving as a contractor to a city, and my client suggested that I attend. Up to that point I had no knowledge of what IPI was all about and why attending the conference was all that important. Quite honestly, I wasn’t all that excited to go. Being away from the office felt risky and the thought of the catch-up work I’d face on my return was a bit overwhelming. But I needed to be responsive to my client’s requests so I sucked it up and got on a plane headed for Las Vegas, not expecting much.

I could not have been more wrong about the importance of that Conference. In fact, my time there flew by. I made connections with people I continue to work with today, and that trip launched what I consider to be the most important professional association of my career.

Each year IPI’s Conference & Expo simply gets better and this year will be no different. From our world-class general session speakers to our largest-in-the-industry Expo to the chance to greet new and old friends in the halls of the Phoenix Convention Center, this is the event I look forward to all year long.

If you’ve not yet registered, it’s not too late: visit www.parking.org/conference for details. If you have, I’ll see you in Phoenix. I look forward to advancing the parking profession with all of you next week!

Parking’s Beautiful Images

L. Dennis Burns

I admit it, I really like parking! When you truly get absorbed into a profession or any area of serious interest, there is no end to the dimensions and nuances you can see that are lost on others.

Not many things have captured my interest as much as parking, but the one that has is photography! Stick a camera in my hand and I can wander happily for hours and hours no matter where I am. Check out this cool image from an off the beaten path parking lot in Seattle!

I was thrilled to learn that IPI had found a way to merge two of my favorite things into a friendly competition: The Parking Professional Photo Contest! How great is that!

The categories for submissions include:

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

Every photo submitted will also be considered for the Best in Show award, which comes with a free registration to the 2013 IPI Conference & Expo in Ft. Lauderdale, and publication on the cover of a future issue of The Parking Professional. Winners of individual categories will receive Parking Matters® shirts and see their photos published in the magazine as well.

I can’t wait to see the kinds of images that will be submitted. Imagine trying to capture the essence of our profession in photographs. The possibilities are endless! I’m already searching my files for the perfect parking picture. I hope you will join me!

Want more info? Go to: www.parking.org/photocontest.

IPI Conference & Expo: There’s an App for That

Bonnie Watts

Imagine being able to plan your time at the 2012 IPI Conference & Expo down to making notes on a map of exhibitors to see, products to check out, and speakers to add to your can’t-miss list. Then, imagine slipping all of that right into your pocket so it would be with you throughout the Conference.

As the saying goes, we’ve got an app for that!

IPI’s new 2012 Conference & Expo mobile app is downloadable at no charge from the iTunes store. It puts an interactive guide to the Conference right in your iOS device, and is a terrific tool for planning before you head to Phoenix (it’s available now) or once you’re on-site.

The new app includes:

  • Schedule at a Glance.
  • Sessions, including clickable speaker email links.
  • Exhibitors, including a floor plan with space for your notes, information on their products and services, and clickable email links.
  • A link to IPI’s Twitter feed.
  • A list of IPI Conference & Expo Strategic Partners.
  • My Planner, which allows you to star sessions or exhibitors that are of particular interest and build a customized planner for the Conference.

We hope this new tool will help you make the most of your Conference experience. See you in Phoenix!

Would You Recognize a Threat?

Henry Wallmeyer

With last week’s news that the CIA foiled a plot by terrorists to use a much more sophisticated underwear bomb to blow up a U.S.-bound airliner, we are once again reminded that terrorists hope to do us harm.

Parking professionals need to be constantly aware of potential threats not only because parking has played a vital role in several domestic terrorist attacks (the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the explosion that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City both originated from parking spaces), but also because if terrorists are prevented from attacking in the air, they will shift their focus to the ground.

To help you think differently about potential security threats and help train your staff to do the same, IPI worked with the federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to develop the parking module of the First Observer anti-terrorism training program in February 2010. Since then, First Observer, which supports the National Preparedness Guidelines of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has trained more than 12,500 parking professionals to spot suspicious activity and report it to the proper agencies.

An article in the March issue of The Parking Professional [PDF] highlighted successful outcomes of the program. Those who’ve taken First Observer training say it opened their eyes to activity that might not have seemed suspicious before.

First Observer training is free—there are no associated costs—and accessible to IPI members on-site at members’ operations and electronically through online, on-demand training. Everyone who successfully completes the training class will receive a First Observer card and certificate.

If you or your organization has not taken advantage of this free parking-specific, anti-terrorism program, I strongly encourage you do so. You can schedule training and find out more about the program at www.parking.org/firstobserver or by contacting the First Observer call center at 888.217.5902.

If you’ve taken the training already, how has it changed the way you do your job? Comment below.

Airport Parking Survey Takes Off

Rick Decker

It is with many thanks to the 11 members of the working group behind the recently conducted ACI-NA/IPI Parking Survey [PDF], conducted by the Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA), LeighFisher, and the International Parking Institute (IPI) that I share these perspectives. I wish to thank everyone involved for their contributions. I also wish to thank Peter Mandle of LeighFisher and his team for compiling and presenting the survey in a form that is easy to understand and covers the important points, and ACI-NA for their partnership.

We learned some important lessons over and above the value of the information gathered:

  • Streamlined. It is possible to streamline a survey document. It can be short enough that operators will complete it and yet gather the information necessary. This was accomplished by holding fast to our goal of only gathering the level of detail of interest to our audience – both the IPI and ACI-NA members.
  • Repeatable. A well-crafted survey that earns a good response is likely to remain unchanged for the next survey. This means the information gathered can be compared from one survey to the next to observe trends and movement in this industry. This makes the information even more valuable.
  • Collaborative. Collaboration between like-minded trade groups avoids duplicating efforts, reduces costs, and makes the most of committee members’ time.
  • Cost-effective. This type of survey work can be accomplished with current technology. We did not need to spend the expense (time and dollars) to meet face-to-face to accomplish this task.

As a member of IPI’s Board of Directors, I can share with you that IPI has made a concerted effort to collaborate on transportation-related projects with a number of trade groups where greater awareness about parking is a boon to both sets of memberships. These initiatives are proving to be very rewarding. The airport survey is just one example.

I hope you’ll download the report and learn more about airport parking — you may be surprised by what you find!

Thinking Outside the Lot

Eran Ben-Joseph, Ph.D.

Guest blogger Eran Ben-Joseph, Ph.D. is professor of landscape architecture and urban planning and head, joint program in city design and development, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is author of Re-Thinking a Lot: The Design and Culture of Parking, and of a feature in the May issue of The Parking Professional.

One look at a typical surface parking lot raises many questions: Can parking lots be designed in a more attractive and aesthetically pleasing way? Can environmental considerations be addressed and adverse effects mitigated? Can parking lots provide more than car storage? Can they be integrated more seamlessly into our built environment in a way that is not only practical but also elegant and enjoyable? What can be learned from usage behavior and the manipulation of lots by unplanned-for users such as teens, food vendors, theater companies, and tailgating sport fans?

In the May issue of The Parking Professional [PDF], I offer thoughts from my book, ReThinking a Lot: The Design and Culture of Parking. The book explores the origins of the surface lot and its influences on our culture; I think even the most mundane lot has potential to be much more. I argue, using the parking lot as an example, that molding everyday places though simple, generative interventions can transform the way we live and interact with our surroundings.

What is needed next is a renewed vision and exciting ideas for the 21st century parking lot. As a leading voice of the parking industry, the International Parking Institute champions new directions through its Awards of Excellence, which recognize outstanding design in parking. These awards encourage imagination and creativity that help find new solutions intrinsic to the function of the lot, but go beyond the typical aesthetic embellishments and illustrate potential for our future built environment. I am looking forward to hearing about this year’s winners in June.

What do you think can be done to encourage better design in surface lots?

 

Learn From Thy Suppliers

Casey Jones 4x5 (2)

“Suppliers” is the term many of us use to refer to the people who make the products and services we use in our parking facilities. I prefer to use the word “partners,” as in partners in finding the best solutions to address the issues at hand.

Let’s face it–parking has advanced light years within the past few years. The cash-in-the-cigar-box days have been replaced by very technologically advanced equipment and software. It’s important stuff and it’s key to our effort to deliver excellent customer service, protect our revenue streams, and operate efficiently and effectively. Hats off to the research and development, innovation, and entrepreneurship that is taking place in our industry, fueled by a relatively small number of companies that are listening to the challenges faced by their customers and delivering some very exciting solutions.

At this very moment–Tuesday, April 24–IPI’s leadership is meeting with the CEOs of many of our industry’s leading suppliers to discuss how we can better meet the needs of our membership, our profession and our shared downstream customers: the parking public. We recognize that the supplier segment is critical to our industry’s success and the more we understand supplier needs, connect buyers and sellers in healthy dialogue, and create opportunities to influence the development of products and supplies, the better equipped we’ll be to succeed. In simple terms, this dialogue with suppliers is an important milestone in working side-by-side to achieve mutually beneficial goals.

The next time a supplier calls to tell you about a new product or asks for a few minutes of your time to discuss your needs, I suggest you make time and listen. Better yet, spend some extra face-to-face time connecting with our industry suppliers at the upcoming 2012 IPI Conference & Expo in Phoenix, June 10-13. Some of the best education I’ve gotten about parking has been from suppliers who are eager to share what they know.

More Than Just a Job Board

Henry Wallmeyer

Whether you always dreamed of working in parking (hey, it happens!) or backed into your career, getting ahead is a common goal. IPI’s Career HQ  is an excellent place for parking professionals to post their resumes and search for parking jobs, all at no charge. And it just got a whole lot better. Starting this week, we’ve expanded the IPI Career HQ with career advice, professional resume writing services, and access to a career coach.

This new, more robust resource for job hunters–and recruiters–now offers:

  • Career tips.
  • Professional resume writing.
  • Career coaching.
  • Social networking/profile development.
  • Reference checking/employment verification.

You’ll find some intriguing information just by browsing through the Career Tips sections. Advice on writing a cover letter compares “aggressive vs. non-aggressive verbiage” and a section on “negotiating your offer, closing the deal” has some surprising ideas. I guarantee if you start reading, you won’t stop and you’ll learn a great deal you can put to immediate use.

While personalized resume coaching carries competitive-priced options, a great deal of the advice in these new sections is free.

To see and take advantage of these new career resources, visit http://careers.parking.org/resources.cfm and let us know what you think!

College Parking Makes the Grade

In much of the country (sorry, Colorado), birds are singing and flowers are blooming and spring has definitely sprung. April brings with it a renewed freshness as we break out of our winter doldrums, sweep out the proverbial cobwebs, open up the windows, and let a little newness in.

April means The Parking Professional focuses on colleges and universities, and there are lots of fresh ideas in this month’s issue.

We kick things off with “Shooting for Three,” which looks at how a university, a neighborhood, and a city balanced their triple bottom line when a new 12,400-seat athletic complex opened on campus. Far from shrinking from the challenge, parking professionals at the University of Oregon put their heads together and figured out how to make the new center and its crowds work for everyone.

The magazine next looks at how the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill balanced its funding when expenses went up recently. Innovative ideas helped keep the spreadsheet healthy without placing undue burden on any one group.

One of my favorite stories from the issue is about Operation Safedrive [PDF], which provides free vehicle safety inspections to students and faculty at the University of Georgia–you won’t believe how far that’s gone in good public relations for the parking services department there. Similarly, you’ll read the story of Texas Tech’s new motion awareness program that helps keep everyone–drivers and pedestrians–a little bit safer.

The magazine also features stories about Duke University’s LEED-certified garage, and how Seattle Children’s hospital used solid data and a little fun and games to proactively push TDM, with great results.

I hope you’ll enjoy the April issue of The Parking Professional. Let us know what you think!

Parking Op-ed in the New York Times

Shawn Conrad

There was an op-ed in the New York Times yesterday by Eran Ben-Joseph, Ph.D., professor of landscape planning and urban planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who has written a new book, ReThinking A Lot: The Design and Culture of Parking. I sent a letter to the editor of the New York Times (below) that supports IPI’s efforts to advance the parking profession. Look for a feature from Dr. Ben-Joseph in the May issue of The Parking Professional. I welcome your comments.

My Letter to Editor of the New York Times:

Thank you to Eran Ben-Joseph for bringing attention to the importance of parking in his New York Times op-ed, “When a Parking Lot is So Much More.”

The Survey of Emerging Trends in Parking conducted by the International Parking Institute last year found that many problems identified with parking facilities today could often have been solved had parking professionals been consulted earlier in the planning process. Well-planned parking can increase use of mass transportation, reduce the number of people commuting, encourage alternative travel methods and better utilize parking through shared use. There is a new generation of parking professionals with diverse expertise in urban planning, public policy, transportation, architecture and engineering who are making significant progress in improving parking through advanced technology, better design, and a focus on sustainability to create more aesthetic and livable communities.

What’s Better Than a Parking Professional?

Shawn Conrad

Q: What’s better than a parking professional?

A: Lots of parking professionals.

I recently heard a group of directors from other associations commiserate about lack of volunteerism and committees that didn’t accomplish anything.That’s not a problem for IPI. Time and time again, I have seen the rewards of collaboration and information sharing that happens during every IPI conference call, committee meeting, gathering, and conference. We are always better together, and we have the most dynamic, eager, generous, and knowledgeable members it’s ever been my pleasure to know.

I’m pleased to welcome you to our shiny new blog, which is going to be all about community. We have a long and impressive list of contributing bloggers as we launch and I anticipate that list will become longer. Posts will cover a full spectrum of topics, touching on every segment of the industry, and will come from all kinds of parking professionals–maybe even you!

I hope you’ll take a minute now to sign up to receive the new Parking Matters® Blog in your email box. Thanks to the immediate-publishing nature of a blog, those who opt for direct updates will likely learn about news of the day and other information before anyone else.

Blog entries on sustainability and perceptions of parking, Twinkies, squirrels, preventing storefront crashes, customer service and other topics are already in the queue, and we’ll feature posts that relate to current events as well.  Have I piqued your interest? I hope so!