By Tope Longe 

An unplanned change in my career—same organization, change in department and role. All my friends and family knew I had taken on a new role with added managerial responsibilities. I was a couple of years into it before they found out what I do. How could I possibly say I work in parking management? How could I explain it to them? All people know about parking is what they perceive as the main role of parking officers. They issue fines to people! The fact that those fined have violated a parking regulation is deemed insignificant. Parking is seen as a money-making machine for the government and/or enforcement agency.

Yes, parking generates money! So do other services. Why do we hesitate to own up that parking means money? Money that translates to benefits for the environment, changes the landscape for the better, and creates jobs. Parking is an important career that leads to the reduction of public nuisance created by illegal parking, not to mention the emission control that is achieved where parking is well-managed and regulated so that time spent driving around looking for a parking space while emitting carbon monoxide and other toxic fumes is reduced.

We in parking are making a vital contribution to the environment. We should wear our badge of honor with pride. Parking is much more than parking—it encompasses mobility and much more. Mobility provides the wider description of what we do. Safety, security, systems, services, road space maintenance and management, and financial management all form part of what we do.

I ditch the myth and step out in pride! Parking management is what I do. It is a way of life!

Tope Longe is specialist, contract performance management, with Abu Dhabi, UAE, and a member of IPI’s Board of Directors.