All Roads Lead to Technology

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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.

Garage Design: How Far We’ve Come

Rachael Yoka

How far we have come from the monolithic, gray boxes of recent memory? Pretty darn far!

Did you know that a garage is on the list of the top 100 buildings in Florida, as proposed by the Florida Chapter of the American Institute of Architects? It’s a people’s choice competition, so I suggest that all parking professionals vote for 1111 Lincoln Road.

1111 is the amazing new garage that doubles as a wedding, yoga, and meeting venue, with a Vanity Fair-featured residence on the roof. IPI featured the garage on the cover of the October 2011 issue of The Parking Professional [PDF], recognizing the new connections between functional parking and thought-provoking architecture. The Wall Street Journal also recognized the building, stating, “The structure—with thin concrete slabs at irregular heights and no exterior walls, leaving vehicles on open display—is more than a place to stash cars. It features luxury retailers at the street level, a glass box housing a clothing store on the fifth floor and a soaring space with stunning views on the seventh floor that can be rented for events—all connected by an internal staircase that spirals up like a DNA helix.”

How far we’ve come! To check out 1111 in the Florida AIA competition, click here: http://www.aiaflatop100.org.