Raising Standards in the UK

Patrick headshot 2012 cropped

There is so much happening in the parking world at the moment that it’s hard to catch one’s breath.

The British government is pressing ahead with its plans for local authority parking, the Daily Mail has kicked off a summer offensive against the private parking sector, the Royal Mint is poised to launch a consultation on the new £1 coin, and Park Mark reaches the ripe old age of 10—to name but a few.

There is a link, though, between all these events, and it’s not just that they all have something to do with parking. They throw down a challenge to the parking profession in general and the British Parking Association (BPA) in particular to demonstrate our resilience in putting the other side of the argument and our commitment to drive standards in parking ever higher.

So we have successfully persuaded government not to ban CCTV outright but rather to allow its continued use in specific circumstances; we have shown through establishing Parking on Private Land Appeals (POPLA) and renewing the Code of Practice on Parking on Private Land that Daily Mail readers who are recipients of parking tickets have an independent means of redress against those tickets; we are directly involved with the Mint prior to its formal consultation so we can shape and influence policy on behalf of our members; and through Park Mark, we can demonstrate we really are serious about raising standards and not just talking about raising standards.

We are going to talk more about raising standards though during the autumn as we try to engage with members on how to develop a Professionalism in Parking Award for all sectors to continue to drive those standards still higher. We need to demonstrate to government, media, and stakeholders that we can do it so we have the tools and the commitment to tackle future onslaughts in the future. That’s why lots of things happening is a good thing if at the end of them you come out on top.

I believe the parking profession can come out on top if it truly believes in raising standards in every part of its make up.

New British Proposals Affect Parking

Patrick headshot 2012 cropped

As you enjoy  your summer holiday, you are (wisely) probably not thinking too much about the challenge of the British government’s proposals on local authority parking, which they published in late June. But I’m afraid those days of sun and sea will soon pass and our focus will be back on the job!

Following significant lobbying by the British Parking Association (BPA) and other organizations, including the Local Government Associations and London Councils as well as individual local authorities, we succeeded in persuading the government that banning closed-circuit television (CCTV) in its entirety was throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  At least the Transport Minister saw sense and has ensured, in the publication of his response to the consultation, that he intends to permit CCTV to continue to be used, but only in specific circumstances of his choosing.

The BPA will lobby on our members’ behalf to ensure that CCTV can continue to be used in the circumstances for which it was intended, namely to relieve congestion on our streets and improve road safety.  We will be working over the summer with members of the House of Lords as the Deregulation Bill, which the government amended in June, makes its way through the Lords on its way to Royal Assent, probably at the end of the year.

There are many uncertainties at present around how the government’s proposals will turn out, and there are a number of opportunities to improve the position from the perspective of local authorities and the wider parking profession, at the same time ensuring that we place the consumer at the heart of our thinking.

The most extraordinary outcome from the government’s published response is that the responsibilities for implementing these changes are shared between the Department for Transport and the Department for Communities and Local Government.  When a government is at loggerheads with itself, organizations such as the BPA must redouble their efforts to deal with two sets of officials and two sets of Ministers.

I do hope that the government is united in developing these proposals as fractures within the policy- and law-making organizations does not make for good legislation, and, as we know, in other circumstances bad legislation can make life very difficult for those who have to implement and enforce it.

I hop you will put in your diary the date of our Annual Conference in October, where we will have very interesting and, I hope, constructive debates about where we have been on this subject and where we are going in the future.

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

Shawn Conrad

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

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

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

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

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

 

Back to Life in Abu Dhabi

David Hill

Today, I am in Abu Dhabi, population just less than 1 million and capital of the United Arab Emirates–a modern, urban oasis situated at the crossroads of four continents.

It’s a fascinating place–a bit like Las Vegas without the gambling and glitz, with over-the-top architecture, high-rise mega projects, broad avenues, crazy traffic, hot and sunny days, cool and pleasant nights, dozens of languages spoken, restaurants, night clubs, shopping malls, ocean vistas, and the occasional sand storm, all held together by cheap cars and gasoline and a mutual quest for available parking.

Up until a few years ago, parking in Abu Dhabi was unregulated and free; as a consequence, I am told, it was chaos with a lot of parking on sidewalks, double parking in streets, and vehicles jammed into drive aisles in parking lots. There are numerous private garages in downtown Abu Dhabi and amazingly, some offer free parking 24 hours a day, but the space is not organized or advertised, and so it is difficult to know if you will find a space at any particular time. To bring some order out of this chaos, the city created Mawaquif, a branded parking authority, to provide regulation and enforcement and apply some control mechanisms to the street. In a very short period of time, Mawaquif has done what appears to be a pretty good job. Most parking areas on the streets and in public surface lots have regulatory signage, paint on the curbs, and a zoned pay and display system that charges up to 15 dirhams ($5) for parking up to 24 hours. Time at the meters is not strictly regulated, the fee seems to do the trick.

There is considerable competition for space, particularly for long-term parking for downtown employees during the morning rush. The city is now turning to garage construction in high demand areas, and there are several public structures under construction. The Emiratis believe in doing things big–if you build it, they will come and if you build it bigger, more will come and they will bring money. The UAE was part way through a major building boom back in 2008 when the financial crisis hit, and many of the mega-projects that were in mid- construction simply halted. From my vantage point, parking projects are revving up, the cranes are swinging, and the projects are coming back to life.

There are interesting times ahead.

Parking Matters® in Korea and Beyond

Rachael Yoka

People in the U.S. used to be worried when Mike Wallace of CBS’ 60 Minutes called for an in-depth interview. It often meant trouble. But, nothing could have been further from the truth when the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) recently knocked at our door with an invitation to feature Tim Haahs on a television news program in Korea. The documentary that resulted is one we are very excited about because beyond Tim’s accomplishments, the segment  explores the complexity and relevance of parking and transportation to the design of cities, both here and abroad.

In producing the documentary, KBS visited IPI headquarters and interviewed IPI Executive Director Shawn Conrad, CAE, on the role and evolution of parking. Since the airing of the show, we have received numerous inquiries about it and our transportation system. People, businesses, and governments are intrigued and challenged by parking and transportation issues and their effects on sustainability and economic development.

The world is watching, and listening, for what’s next in our industry. IPI and its members are responding to those by expanding our reach into international markets and forums in Asia, Europe, and Central and South America. We can’t wait to see what those partnerships and discussions will bring! For now, enjoy the video and let us know what you think in the comments.

 

 

Parking: Coming of Age

L. Dennis Burns

Has big business finally found its way to parking? Consider the following:

  •  3M has acquired Federal APD (PARCS), PIPS (LPR), Sirit (AVI), and VES (a toll service provider located in southern California). 3M currently operates a division that focuses on transportation, but this is significant entre’ into the parking industry.
  • Affiliated Computer Systems (ACS) became part of Xerox which also has a transportation division that includes commercial vehicle operations, electronic toll collections, motor vehicle services, on/off street parking, photo enforcement, public transport, and transportation management.
  • Serco (the largest company you’ve never heard of) is the systems integrator behind the SFpark program.
  • Zeag, which recently acquired Magnetic Corporation, was recently acquired by a large Swiss company.

Initially, I worried that this could be the end of innovation and the beginning of a new corporate mentality that might become pervasive, but then these negative thoughts were drowned out by the following:

  • This investment in our industry is a reflection of the fact that parking is being recognized for the important industry that it’s become.
  • New investment from large multi-national corporations will mean new advancements for the whole industry.
  • The effect of thought leaders such as Don Shoup, Casey Jones, CAPP, and others has created new awareness and spurred huge government investments through agencies such as FHWA and others.
  • Innovative governmental agencies such as the Seattle Department of Transportation and the Washington D.C. Department of Transportation (DDOT) are moving forward with creative research and implementation programs even without big federal grants.
  • Transportation planners and transportation demand management (TDM) professionals are becoming more engaged with parking industry practitioners to create new partnerships.
  • Universities are beginning to create sustainable transportation degree programs.
  • The number of smaller technology-based start-ups are increasing and interest by venture capitalists is increasing.

After some reflection, it seems to me we are on the verge a whole new era of growth and advancement. But then, I am always so negative.

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®.