By Mollie Bolin
When city leaders are preparing to procure new or updated mobility solutions, they often ask questions such as, “How do I write a request that opens a bid up to a wider range of respondents?” “I have an urgent need–is there a way to speed up my procurement process?” Or, “Am I approved to procure through a purchasing alliance?”
Every city has a unique set of parking, mobility, and enforcement needs, and with those come different approaches to procurement. The traditional RFP method is no longer the only option and over the years, the industry has started to see an increase in procurement via purchasing alliances. This trend can be attributed to a number of reasons, but most commonly, cities are leaning toward this route to increase the flexibility in what they are procuring for and speed up the overall procurement process.
Many municipalities are unaware that they are already a part of (or fall under the umbrella of) an alliance. Alliances, such as the National Cooperative Purchasing Alliance (NCPA) and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), can offer preferred pricing and additional products and features that may not have been included in a traditional bid. Conversely, a traditional RFP may elicit responses from companies a municipality may have not expected to respond, especially if it is written with updated and accurate requirements.
Whether a city opts for the traditional RFP method (like the City of Portland, Maine) or the purchasing alliance method (like the City of Chelsea, Mass., and the City of Key West, Fla.), the modern curb space continues to rapidly evolve. Now more than ever, it is vital for cities to consider re-imagining the procurement process, how their overall parking management system is structured, and what is needed to accomplish for both short- and long-term goals.
Mollie Bolin is an account executive with Passport. She will present on this topic with John Peverada, City of Portland, Maine; and John Wilkins, City of Key West, Fla., at the 2021 IPMI Parking & Mobility Conference & Expo, Nov. 29 – Dec. 2, in Tampa, Fla.