By Christina Jones, MBA, CAPP

I recently participated in a conference session that really resonated with me: Words We Need to Stop Using. The main theme was to identify ways in which we can improve our communications with each other and the general public, recognizing that words may take on new meanings over time, and we must adapt accordingly to be effective communicators.

Not only do we need to be aware of word choice as it relates to identifiers and the potential for confusion with over-generalizations, but our industry loves jargon and acronyms. There is a tendency to assume that the audience for most reports has at least a basic understanding of parking and mobility planning and design. However, there is a continued push for increased transparency and more reports are being published online for the general public’s consumption which is a wonderful opportunity to educate. Building on this idea of improving communications, I started thinking of words, phrases, and acronyms I commonly use and see used in the parking and mobility industry and how we might adapt our language to improve communications. Below is my list of these words to avoid and suggested replacements.

Ineffective Language Potential Replacement
Disabled Parking, ADA space Accessible Parking
Handicapped Persons living with disabilities
Blacklist Habitual Offender List, Stop List
Whitelist Permitholder List, Allowed List
Grandfathered Legacy
Manhours Person hours, Full-Time Equivalents (FTEs)
Urban Population Metropolitan Population

What additional words or common phrases are you seeing that we should be updating in our industry’s vernacular? If not a specific word, is there a trend we should be aware of and responding to?

Christina Jones, CAPP, MBA, is a consultant with Walker Consultants.