By Jeff Petry
OUR ROLE AS PARKING PROFESSIONALS ALLOWS US TO MEET, work, and make a difference with community members, neighborhoods, and businesses every day. We leverage these relationships to enhance economic development and strengthen neighborhood livability. In deliv­ering parking and transportation services, we combine modern and classic technology to meet our customers’ needs.
Most programs now use, or are on their way to using, credit card payment machines, mobile phone payment appli­cations, parking sensors and counters, and license plate readers for enforce­ment and permits, in addition to main­taining active social media accounts. We have modernized the business of parking, making it fast and convenient to meet the needs of today’s consumer.

Parking and transportation profes­sionals will continue to excel at the busi­ness side of our jobs to meet the needs of our organizations and communities. We have been doing this since the in­troduction of the park-o-meter in 1935. As we continue to manage the business side of our programs, we must also start thinking about how we can leave a lasting positive impression on our com­munities. We need to think about how parking and transportation influences our communities’ current social fabric and helps shape future growth.
One of our industry’s strengths is the number of informational data points our systems collect every minute of every hour of every day. Our systems collect data by parking space, parking lot, and individual vehicles across multiple technologies. It can be overwhelming to analyze all this information, which is why IPI’s Alliance for Parking Data Standards ( is work­ing to develop uniform parking data standards to streamline worldwide information sharing.
Standardizing data management practices in the parking industry allows us to think about the ways data can be used to inform housing, climate, and business data on a local, regional, and national level. For example, a municipality might create a data warehouse across departments to unify parking enforcement data, building permits, building code enforcement, rent­al housing code, economic development programs, affordable housing, and land use actions. The database would have scripts running to look for common con­nections between complaints, such as ad­dresses or quarter-mile heat maps. Even­tually, an alert would go out to program managers to say that a parking officer is working a recurring abandoned vehicle complaint, building code enforcement is working a hoarding case, and animal con­trol is working an animal complaint—all at the same address. The municipality could then take an off-ramp and assign a livability manager or similar to coordinate a solution for that address.
Sharing Data
Warehousing and sharing data can also be used to identify the business and land use impacts of parking. Meter and permit revenue, citations, and occu­pancy counts can connect to business sales, property tax values, and economic development incentives to better under­stand the ways communities develop.
Building permit data has the total number of parking spaces associated with each new construction and rede­velopment building permit. If this infor­mation is in a shareable database that is connected to public on- and off-street parking spaces, the parking supply blue­print of your community is now available. A really rich data layer would include add­ing transactional data from parking and transportation systems to show system use, including pick-ups and drop-off line segments from bike shares and transpor­tation network companies and occupan­cy parking sensors. The end result cre­ates the parking and transportation pulse of how our community moves to inform mobility services strategy for the future.
A major challenge is the data needed to create the vision of connecting our community through parking technology lives in data silos in standalone software systems across various work units and departments. Our private-sector partners can help piece the data points together to make smart and innovative decisions. It is our responsibility to start looking to tackle issues through data-driven lead­ership, combining data and technology to make a difference every day for the com­munities where we live, work, and play.
JEFF PETRY is parking and technology manager for the city of Eugene, Ore. He can be reached at