Valuable Lessons from Accreditation

Accredited Parking Organization logoBy David G. Onorato, CAPP

With its 2017 recognition as an IPMI Accredited Parking Organization (APO), the Public Parking Authority of Pittsburgh became one of just a few initial municipal providers to achieve APO status. Awarded with distinction, the designation affirmed the effectiveness of the agency’s aggressive adoption of the most recent advances in both technological and operational equipment. We view our success in meeting Accreditation standards for the 2020-23 cycle, received with distinction, as strengthening our position as a leading international supplier of public parking services.

The Authority’s management team credits adherence to IPMI’s principal measurement criteria for much of its organization’s progress, both administratively and in the field. Our increased attention to mobility, for example, coincides with IPMI’s inclusion of that function in its name.  With former curbside spaces being converted solely for bicycle use and new installations of EV charging stations, we’ve demonstrated our commitment to adapt to changing market needs. Concurrently, activities involving Authority patrons, once awash in cash, are now increasingly cashless and paperless.

No current description of parking operations, in Pittsburgh or virtually anywhere, can ignore the persistent threat of COVID-19. Among its negative effects, the pandemic has triggered revenue declines, assignment reconfigurations, and even reductions in staff. In each instance, we feel the actions required were accomplished with less difficulty because of our employee team’s greater awareness of data points targeted by the Accreditation process. Going through its sequenced steps–for most, their second time–enabled our people to become more familiar with their organization’s function, its sources of income, and, perhaps most importantly, its financial obligations. Their collective response to management’s necessary actions regarding the pandemic’s presence was, to some degree, shaped by their Accreditation experience.

David G. Onorato, CAPP, is executive director of the Public Parking Authority of Pittsburgh.