Tag Archives: accredited parking organization

APO Chat: Getting Started with APO

Accredited Parking Organization logoAPO Chat: Getting Started with APO

Join us for a free Shoptalk-style discussion about the APO program and how to get started.  Get resources and the APO Manual for Applicants at parking-mobility.org/apo.

Free to attend, pre-registration required; sign up today!  Get the inside scoop on what’s new, best practices, and more. Open to all considering APO or APO Site Reviewer training, as well as current APOs and Site Reviewers.

This event is designed to be an open discussion – share your questions and ideas in advance via email at apo@parking-mobility.org.





APO Chat: Getting Started with APO

Accredited Parking Organization logoAPO Chat: Getting Started with APO

Join us for a free Shoptalk-style discussion about the APO program and how to get started.  Get resources and the APO Manual for Applicants at parking-mobility.org/apo.

Free to attend, pre-registration required; sign up today!  Get the inside scoop on what’s new, best practices, and more. Open to all considering APO or APO Site Reviewer training, as well as current APOs and Site Reviewers.

This event is designed to be an open discussion – share your questions and ideas in advance via email at apo@parking-mobility.org.





IPMI News: Secure Parking UAE celebrates achievement as IPMI’s First International Accredited Parking Organisation with Distinction

Secure Parking UAE celebrates achievement as IPMI’s First International Accredited Parking Organisation with Distinction

Awarded under the Accredited Parking Organization program, this is the highest accreditation in the parking, transportation and mobility industry

Dubai, UAE, November 10, 2020: The International Parking & Mobility Institute (IPMI) has announced Secure Parking UAE to have achieved the first international accreditation under its Accredited Parking Organization (APO) program. Secure Parking exceeded all thresholds under both Accreditation and Accreditation with Distinction, the highest accreditation available in the parking, transportation and mobility industry. The Accredited Parking Organization (APO) establishes national and international standards for professionalism, accountability, innovation, responsibility and performance.

Secure Parking’s vision, expertise and flexibility of working towards maximising the value and potential of your car park, has helped it earn this global recognition.

Commenting on the achievement, Pamela Chikhani, General Manager, Secure Parking UAE said, “At Secure Parking, we are passionate about unlocking the true potential of your car park facility. It is our tryst with technology that ensures we select the best innovations and apply them in a way that serves the ever-changing needs of consumers. Our avant-garde approach is what makes us the game changers of the parking industry. Our constant endeavour is to set new benchmarks in product innovation, service quality and timely delivery, and that is what helped us get recognised with this unique international accreditation.”

IPMI launched the Accredited Parking Organization (APO) program in 2015 after more than three years of rigorous and comprehensive development of criteria and requirements covering every aspect of the industry. The accreditation demonstrates that Secure Parking UAE has met and exceeded this exceptional standard of excellence, addressing all aspects of parking, transportation and mobility operations. These include innovative and progressive practices in responsible management and operations, finance, planning, professional development, sustainability, security and risk management, technology and more.

“IPMI is thrilled to celebrate our first international APO with Secure Parking UAE. Their pragmatic approach has helped them optimise technology and develop a series of unique and flexible solutions that emphasise on customer experience,” said IPMI CEO Shawn Conrad, CAE. He further added, “They have demonstrated the leadership and commitment to excellence that serves as the hallmark of the APO program.”

 About Secure Parking UAE

Established in Australia in 1979, today, Secure Parking operates over 1.2 million parking spaces in over 11 countries around the world. With 1,700 car parks across Airports, Shopping Malls, Hotels, Hospitals, Commercial & Financial Centres, it has operations in Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, China, India, New Zealand, US, UK, Lebanon and UAE.

Incepted in the UAE in 2005, Secure Parking UAE is owned by Al Shirawi Group of Companies, one of the largest private business conglomerates in the region. The Al Shirawi Group has 34 companies in diverse business sectors, with over 10,000 employees and annual turnover in excess of USD 1 billion.

Some of the landmarks operated by Secure Parking UAE are Citywalk, Madinat Jumeirah, The Beach, Index Tower DIFC, Dubai Chamber of Commerce, AWR M Square, Aldar Shams Boutik, Abu Dhabi World Trade Center, Aldar HQ and many more.

About the Accredited Parking Organization Program

To become an APO, an organization must demonstrate its commitment to ongoing evaluation and improvement of program outcomes through the implementation of industry best practices, as outlined in the APO Manual for Applicants. Applicant organizations work with IPMI-trained Site Reviewers to organize and present evidence of accomplishment of 250 criteria in 14 categories, including 25 required criteria. To achieve the APO with Distinction, organizations meet an additional, more stringent set of criteria. All applications and documentation packages undergo a comprehensive third-party review, internal quality review, and APO Board review prior to award.  Find out more here.

About International Parking & Mobility Institute (IPMI) 

The International Parking & Mobility Institute (IPMI) is the world’s largest association of professionals in parking, transportation, and mobility — professionals who keep all of us moving. Members include everyone from garage owners and operators to architects to city managers to government agencies, health care centers, universities, airports, and convention centers. IPMI works to advance the parking and mobility profession through professional development, research and data collection, advocacy and outreach, and with experts from around the world in dozens of specialties to make sure parking and transportation function efficiently. So people, businesses, and communities can keep moving.

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.

In Pursuit of APO


In Pursuit of APO

By Rachel Yoka, CAPP, LEED AP BD+C

Would you like to benchmark your organization? Streamline your operations? Evaluate In Pursuit of APOyour training program? Motivate your leadership? Pursue accreditation and you will be well on your way to achieving all of the above.

Accredited Parking Organization (APO) is a designation for parking organizations that have achieved a comprehensive standard of excellence. It recognizes best practices in responsible parking management and operations, customer service, professional development, safety, and security. The APO program is complex, addressing 14 major categories with well-defined and attainable measures in each.

The APO Manual: More than a Checklist
Whether you are on the path to accreditation or are interested in evaluating best practices for your organization, the APO Manual for Applicants is a significant industry milestone. It is the first and only industry accreditation available to the parking industry and specifically outlines best practices that advance the parking profession, one organization at a time. The manual addresses the fundamentals of the program, including a concise summary of eligible organizations, definitions, and summary of criteria that also addresses required items. The document details how an organization can prepare effectively and the appropriate role of the APO site reviewer. It pairs with the information contained in the APO Matrix, offering additional guidance and the intent of each category under Content Area I: Policy, Planning, Operations, and Administration; and Content Area II: Site-Visit Field Assessment.

Taking the Next Step
How do you know if you are ready to apply for the APO Program? When you submit your application, your organization will have one year to submit your comprehensive package of documentation. There is no precise formula for a program this thorough, but here are a few checklist items to get you started:

  • Make the APO Manual for Applicants required reading for your key staff, and complete an internal self-­assessment utilizing the APO Matrix.
  • Based on your self-assessment, outline how you can meet and document the 25 required measures, as well as 80 percent of the remaining criteria.
  • Assign champions from your key staff as accountable for individual sections of the matrix.
    Consider the additional criteria for Accreditation with Distinction.
  • Cultivate the support not only of your top leadership but also your key team members and meet regularly as a team.
  • Download and review the list of IPI-approved APO Site Reviewers and begin the selection process.
  • Target your Premier Site(s); include up to three with your complete submission package.
    Complete the online application, and contact me with any and all questions.

IPI recommends a three- to six-month timeline to start the process, collect documentation, and retain an IPI-approved Site Reviewer to perform a review and site assessment for selected Premier Site(s).

Recognition for the class of APOs will take place at the 2017 IPI Conference & Expo in New Orleans, La.; IPI will accept full documentation packages for recognition at the show through March 1, 2017.

Check out the APO Spotlights at parking.org/apo to learn how APOs applied the criteria and process within their organizations. Stay tuned to the Parking Matters® Blog (parking.org/blog), and watch for new posts from our APOs as they offer more insights into the program in this ongoing series.

If you plan to pursue APO in time for recognition at the 2017 IPI Conference & Expo in New Orleans, it’s time to start planning—reach out to me directly, and we will get started on the journey together!

TPP-2017-11 In Pursuit of APO

Rachel Yoka, CAPP, LEED AP BD+C, is IPI’s vice president of program development. She
can be reached at yoka@parking.org.



Parking during its first 100 years evolved slowly and linearly, much like the evolution of the Future Vision Image to click to get to articleautomobile in the same time period. It was all about the car and the space. The next 100 years will be as different as the computer on which I am now writing from the typewriter on which I learned how to type.

The first 10 items in a Google search of “the future of parking” as I write in mid-October give us a hint of what lies ahead:

  1. Road & Track’s “A Big Makeover Is Coming to the Parking Garage of the Future Thanks to Autonomy” concludes that autonomous vehicles will usher in, community by community, a human-­centered approach to planning and development.
  2. Urbanization, self-driving cars, and ride-hailing services (e.g., Uber) drives Mother Jones to envision a “low-parking” future in “No Parking Here.”
  3. No. 3 was a repeat of No. 1.
  4. Governing magazine posits that the shift to ride-hailing services might “be the end of parking requirements as we know them.”
  5. The Parking Professional’s “The Future of Parking Policies” summarizes a report for the Dutch government about how parking policies need to recognize parking’s role as the connector between mobility and place (see the August 2014 issue).
  6. Tim Haahs’ The Parking Professional piece, “The Future of Parking Design,” lays out the evolution of parking design’s focus from utilitarian storage, to safety and security, to facades, to, ultimately, comfort and sustainability (see the October 2013 issue).
  7. Self-driving cars, the internet of things, smart cities, millennials, and data analytics will be the “5 Trends Driving the Future of Parking,” predicts T2, a parking management technology firm.
  8. In “Denver developers have seen the future of parking, and it is no parking at all,” The Denver Post describes how that city’s parking garages are currently being built with extra floor height, flat plates, and removable ramps to allow for future adaptive reuse.
  9. Luxe’s virtual valet app is the focus of a Business Insider piece.
  10. An Education Business (“Business information for decision makers in primary and secondary education”) reports on how parking policy and technology changes are playing out in Great Britain.

I expected autonomous vehicles, apps, public policy, and Uber all to be part of what I found. But parking coverage in Road & Track? In Mother Jones? In an IT magazine for schools? Construction now anticipating non-parking use in the future? I was impressed how rapidly the parking discussion is broadening. (After you read this piece, try Googling it for yourself and see how the discussion has moved even further.)

As my Google search indicated, 21st century parking will unquestionably be as different from its past as the wall phone in my kitchen is from the smartphone in my pocket. No longer will parking facilities and operations be stand-alone, single-function entities. Like my smartphone, parking structures will become a platform for, and part of a web of, ever-evolving and self-updating mobility choices.

The Potential
The garage might fuel my owned or shared car or even offer me the option to join a coworker heading home in the same direction as me. It might house someone in the C-suite’s $8,000 Trek Madone bike or her Tesla. Maybe it will rebate my coworker for not parking in it or offer him a convertible on Saturday and a van on Sunday. It might even be a virtual garage, guaranteeing us spaces in nearby facilities with excess capacity. Parking operations will grow increasingly entwined with the car, the building, and a web of transportation options to mature into something like, in SP+ words, “access management.”
As personal mobility choices evolve, so too will the markets around them. As Navigant Research explains, “By 2050, perhaps the only element of personal mobility common to the turn of this century will be the act of moving around in self-contained vehicles on wheels. … Many of today’s businesses will be gone, but new ones will emerge and current players will evolve to stay relevant—and profitable—in this new transportation environment.1”

For those of us inclined to see triple bottom line opportunities, this is a wonderfully fertile moment for parking. As we enjoy the benefits of innovation, investors, tenants, local governments, and communities are starting to focus on how buildings and transportation affect the health and well-being of individuals and the world around them. As nations move forward to implement climate change agreements, tracking and reducing carbon emissions will become a growing demand on our access management work. Because nearly a quarter of the world’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are caused by transportation,2 and because cars, trucks, and airplanes now emit more CO2 than America’s power plants do, the new transportation environment predicted by Navigant will, of necessity, reward businesses that incorporate people, planet, and profit into their business models.

Parking’s Role
Not surprisingly, “decarbonizing” transportation will entail green parking strategies familiar to many parking and transportation professionals. Alternative-fuel vehicles, smart growth, shared mobility services, transit, market-based pricing, bike and pedestrian infrastructure, real-time information, and autonomous vehicles are all key drivers.3 The road map laid out in IPI’s Sustainability Framework and the Green Parking Council’s Green Garage Certification (now Parksmart) meshes perfectly with global sustainable transportation goals.

Our capacity to help enterprises realize this triple bottom line was dramatically enhanced with this year’s integration of the green parking movement into the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC’s) growing family of programs that advance spaces that are better for the environment and healthier for us to live, work, and play.

In a relatively short span of time of our work with the USGBC, the sustainability managers of real estate organizations, universities, and cities have begun unprecedented discussions with their parking and transportation peers; parking assets and operations are now on building owners’ sustainability agendas. In addition, architects, engineers, and construction firms long engaged in LEED building certification are adding Parksmart to their client offerings. (Indeed, a number of these firms express relief that they now have something to offer their clients who were seeking LEED certification for their parking structures.)

Parksmart, the rating system that defines, measures, and recognizes high-performing, sustainable garages, joins the USGBC at a time when its focus and that of the suite of certification and credential offerings by the Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) is emphasizing the performance of systems in the built environment. So at the same time the parking and transportation industries are gaining access to and incorporating data into their operations (and as new business ventures emerge making that data actionable), Parksmart, LEED, and other sustainability certifications are harnessing this data to offer benchmarking and continuous improvement tools supporting triple bottom-line performance.

In the coming months, the USGBC will roll out a state of the art platform—arc—that will allow any structure to participate and immediately start measuring performance, make improvements, and benchmark against itself. Arc is an open platform integrating current and future systems that increase performance and enable improved quality of life. It complements LEED, Parksmart, SITES (developed by landscape architects), PEER (a microgrid rating system), and other green-building rating systems, standards, protocols, and guidelines and allows buildings and spaces to connect to the built environment in a new way by comparing performance metrics and connecting them to green building strategies.

Arc reduces certification complexity, especially for existing structures. It allows building owners to take advantage of credit flexibility between certification programs. In the near future, certain Parksmart credits will also earn credit under LEED and vice versa. The rating systems will remain separate, but synergies between them will be recognized.
As a dynamic digital platform crafted by the noted design firm IDEO, arc visually reinforces behavior—for example, carpooling or taking mass transit—that improves a building’s performance. With arc, certification becomes more transparent, ongoing, and participatory.

For Parksmart, arc will help us and our community focus on the desired outcomes of our work in our structures, portfolios, campuses, and even entire cities: Are we using parking space and energy efficiently? Are we helping clean the air? Are we reducing congestion and commute times? Are we increasing throughput? Are we saving money? Are people satisfied? Are we increasing mobility while reducing resources consumed?

The Future
So what will 21st century parking look like? Short term, its evolution will continue accelerating and broadening. (Think about how much has changed since the introduction of the iPhone, less than 10 years ago.) By mid-century and beyond, it’s clearer what parking will do than how it will do it and who will own it. It will still be about managing assets and providing service to people moving from one place to another, but it will be more about moving people (and goods?) than about holding cars. Mobility choices will be hard-baked into it offerings. Structures will be important, but more as means the end than the end itself.

Parking will likely be accessed by “mobility as a service” or “transportation as a service” apps like the just-released Finnish app Whim (whimapp.com), Seattle’s Luum (luum.com), Los Angeles’ RideAmigos (rideamigos.com) or Xerox’ GoLA (goLAapp.com). Or maybe Google’s Sidewalk Labs’ Flow (flowmobility.io)—“Engaging cities and businesses to improve mobility with data and technology”—will capture the whole ball of wax.

Whim offers a monthly flat rate subscription (as long as you are in Finland) for unlimited transit, eight taxi trips, and five car rental days, all in one app. GoLA helped me realize that there was a 50-cent bus ride with 10-minute headways between my hotel and USGBC’s Greenbuild show at the Expo Center—and that I’d burn 32 calories walking to the bus and generate 0.1kg of C02 in my journey. Luum and RideAmigos are enterprise level programs, targeting employers, universities, and local governments. Sidewalk Labs talks a lot about parking as low hanging fruit in its vision of “cities built from the internet up.”

It’s too early to predict which of these apps will win out or who will own it. Will it be parking asset owner(s)? Parking operators turned access managers? The tech companies weaving it all together? Auto original equipment manufacturers morphed into mobility providers? Or will Uber or Google control it all?

Regardless of who comes out on top, Sidewalk Lab’s CEO Daniel Doctoroff (and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s former deputy for economic development) cautions us that the process will need to be guided by our values. Shared data and moving ideas from the cloud to the curb is essential for transportation choice, but technology itself is fundamentally agnostic. When cars first replaced horse-drawn carriages on city streets, Doctoroff reminded us recently at a U.S. Department of Transportation Volpe Center talk on the future of transportation, we were not mindful of how much they would dominate our cities’ public space.

In the near future, autonomous vehicles could help us repurpose space for more people-centered communities—or they could clog our city streets while circling on autopilot to avoid paying for parking. Urbanists, technologists, and policymakers will have to find common ground on our goals and provide a foundation for the future of environmentally and economically sustainable parking and transportation to emerge. I have no doubt that people, planet, and profit will be key pillars of that foundation. And that the owners and operators of Parksmart-empowered garages will be leading the way.

1 Navigant Research White Paper, 2Q 2016—Transportation Outlook: 2025 to 2050: How Connectivity, Autonomous Technology, On-­Demand Mobility, and Vehicle Electrification Will Transform Global Passenger Transportation. https://www.navigantresearch.com/research/transportation-outlook-2025-to-2050.
2 Paris Process on Mobility and Climate (PPMC), 2015. http://www.ppmc-transport.org/common-messages-2015/.
3 A New Way Forward: Envisioning a Transportation System without Carbon Pollution. Frontier Group fact sheet. http://frontiergroup.org/sites/default/files/Frontier%20Group%20-%20A%20New%20Way%20Forward%20Factsheet.pdf.
4 Unlocking the Power of Urban Transport Systems, the New Climate Economy–2016. http://newclimateeconomy.report/2015/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Unlocking-the-power-of-urban-transport-systems_web.pdf.
5 Paris Process on Mobility and Climate, 2015. http://www.ppmc-transport.org/common-messages-2015/.
6 “Denver developers have seen the future of parking, and it is no parking at all,” The Denver Post. http://www.denverpost.com/2016/10/15/denver-developers-future-parking-self-driving-cars/.

TPP-2016-12 Future Vision

Paul Wessel is director of market development for the U.S. Green Building Council. He can be reached at pwessel@usgbc.org.

365 Days Big Green

365 Days Big Green

by Megan Leinart, LEED AP BD+C

Another year has come and gone, and what a year it was. In the parking industry, we have continued to see the public and private sectors embrace the latest and greatest sustainability initiatives and technologies. A new partnership between the IPI and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has brought these ideas even more to the mainstream, broadening the reach into an even greater audience. Further, a growing number of parking industry leaders continue to work to promote and advance the value of integrating sustainable parking planning, design, construction, management, and technology.

It’s been an exciting year on the parking front, and we continue to see groundbreaking success stories. Here, we present just a few of these stories and the effects they have had. They will also help to provide a blueprint for what continues to be possible in this constantly evolving part of our industry.

Stanford University Energy System Innovation
Stanford University continues to be a leader in innovation and progress, particularly through the implementation of cutting-edge sustainability initiatives. One such initiative is the Stanford Energy System Innovation (SESI), which has transformed how energy is delivered to the campus to heat and cool its buildings. By using electricity purchased from renewable sources, the university will reduce its carbon emissions by 68 percent.

Stanford’s Parking & Transportation Services, a division of Sustainability & Energy Management, is contributing to SESI with two cutting-edge projects: electrification of the Marguerite bus yard and fleet and solar panel installation on the Stock Farm Garage.

Stanford’s Marguerite shuttle program has been expanding its use of electric buses on campus since 2014. The successful performance of the program’s initial 13 buses has led the university to acquire an additional 10. The university converted a portion of its existing bus yard to serve as the charging and storage facility for all 23 electric buses. This project was the first of a phased approach to convert the entire bus yard and adjacent parking lot into an electric charging facility for an eventual all-electric Marguerite bus fleet. This project also facilitated the installation of electric vehicle chargers in the adjacent Stock Farm Garage, doubling the charging capacity of that facility.

In addition, the university has installed solar panels on large rooftops across Stanford’s campus, including the Stock Farm Garage. While challenging, the payoff for this project will help the university meet its goal of reducing carbon emissions, supporting the electric bus fleet, and shading vehicles parked on the roof.

It’s Always Sunny in Arizona!
Arizona State University (ASU) is taking solar to the next level. The university has integrated three major solar panel installations that help not only power the university but significantly reduce fossil fuel consumption and emissions as well.

The solar installation generates a total wattage of more than 24.1 megawatts (MWdc) at 89 locations across all four campuses and the ASU Research Park. These installations, located in parking lots and on garage rooftops, also provide valuable shade to more than 5,900 parking spaces and 828 stadium seats—that’s a benefit that is always appreciated in the overpowering heat of the Southwest.

During 2015 at the Carson Student Athletic Center, the solar power plants located on ASU’s Tempe Campus facilities generated approximately 26,568 megawatt hours (MWh)—equivalent to 14 percent of the electricity used at Tempe Campus facilities. Concurrently that year, on ASU’s West Campus, the Sparky 10 MW installation generated approximately 8,595 MWh in 2015; this amount of energy is equivalent to 71 percent of the total amount of electricity used at ASU’s West Campus facilities.

The integration of the solar panels at ASU’s campuses showcases the significant effect solar power can have on meeting the energy needs on a campus, reducing the associated costs, as well as fossil fuel consumption and emissions. However, this program is also a testament to the important role parking can play in complementing this valuable energy source, providing wide open spaces for large installations while helping provide shade for vehicles and people.

Cincinnati Zoo Becomes First Demonstrator Site
The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden has been named the first Green Parking Lot Demonstrator site under a new USGBC program aimed at recognizing surface lots that exhibit exceptional sustainable design. This is part of a nearly decade-long effort at the zoo to implement a number of progressive initiatives through sustainability.

Upon arrival at the zoo, guests are greeted with a sea of sleek solar panel canopy that keeps vehicles cool and reduces the heat-island effect. In addition, the solar panels generate 1,700 MWh of electricity, equivalent to 20 percent of their usage, and eliminate 1,775 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which is equivalent to the reduction of approximately 3 million vehicle miles travelled annually.

Another groundbreaking feature of the Cincinnati Zoo parking lot is the significance of the landscaping features. Two large rain gardens, native plantings, and large shade trees provide natural beauty and alleviate stormwater issues. An underground cistern retains and slowly dissipates stormwater, relieving pressure on an aging wastewater infrastructure.

Patrons can use one of seven electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, including one DC fast charger, and bikers can dismount at the appropriately themed snake-shaped bicycle rack or take advantage of the Cincinnati Red bike sharing kiosk. For visitors looking to avoid traffic but who are not up for biking, the Cincinnati Metro Transit Agency drops off right inside the parking lot. Finally, the zoo’s vehicle fleet consists of emissions-free electric golf carts while trucks and the mini-rail are powered with recycled biodiesel.

The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is at the cutting edge of a groundbreaking new program to recognize the many sustainable design opportunities available for parking lots and will serve as a model for similar projects in the future. Leading the way, Director of Facilities and Sustainability Mark Fisher engaged his staff, the city, public utilities, and property owners to find innovative solutions to their most pressing environmental problems and creatively implement them to meet their biggest needs, while educating the community.

Medical Group Embraces Lightwells
How do you create an inviting patient experience in a subterranean parking structure while reducing energy benefits? The Camino Medical Group faced this question when the parking structure for its Mountain View campus involved a subterranean level. The answer? Lightwells.

Lighting is not only an important consideration in the functional design of a parking garage but also a critical factor in the user experience. Dark, cramped structures feel unsafe and do not attract patrons; open, well-lit structures with good ventilation feel safe and secure and invite users.

Achieving natural light and air in structured parking often requires provisions such as lightwells. Lightwells or air shafts are unroofed external spaces provided within the volume of a large building to allow light and air to reach what would otherwise be a dark and less-ventilated area.

In a below-grade parking structure, lightwells can sometimes be achieved by surrounding the structure with permanent shoring walls or by sloping back the soil around the structure. In addition to providing user experience and functional benefits, lightwells have both economic and environmental benefits of reducing overall energy demands, as was the case for the Camino Medical Group Parking Structure, which utilized landscaped lightwells in addition to extra high ceilings and brighter-than-average lighting to make patients feel safe and secure.

Emory University Upgrades Its Lighting
Always one to make its mark as an innovator in the medical world, Emory University isn’t limiting innovation to medical procedures alone. The university recently mandated a cutting-edge lighting fixture to illuminate its underground garage, which services the new state-of-the-art campus hospital expansion project.

The university’s lighting consultant created the ECO Mantis™ lighting fixture, which features linear remote phosphor LEDs specifically designed to support the parking industry. The remote phosphor LED features near zero light output depreciation over time. By locating the heat sensitive phosphor away from the heat-generating LED chips, the phosphor maintains near 100 percent output over the life of the fixture.

The garage will provide much-needed parking in an active campus and is expected to be open to the public by year’s end.

San Francisco Building Upgrades Ventilation
Located in San Francisco’s financial district, 475 Sansome Street is a 21-story, Class A office building with an underground parking facility requiring mechanical ventilation 15 hours a day Monday through Friday. To reduce energy costs, the facility operator recently installed a “variable flow” demand-control ventilation system, which fluctuates garage exhaust and supply fan motor speeds based on carbon monoxide (CO) concentrations in the garage.
Prior to the control system installation, the garage’s ventilation motors consumed nearly 60,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) each year at a cost of more than $8,800. The installation of a variable flow demand-control ventilation system significantly reduced total energy consumption and costs.

Post-installation data showed that the new ventilation control system reduced the garage fan motors’ kWh consumption by more than 57,500 per year—a 96.5 percent savings. Peak kWh demand was reduced by 14.73 percent, also a 96.5 percent savings. The project’s net present value of $84,000 is nearly four times greater than the cost of the variable flow control system installation.

Megan Leinart, LEED AP BD+C, is national director of corporate development for Propark. She can be reached at megan.leinart@propark.com.

TPP 2016-12 365 Days Big Green

Weathering the Storm

Weathering the Storm

Simply put, life on Earth exists because of the presence of water. However, water is also a force of nature that can have incredible destructive capabilities. For that reason alone, it’s important for us as parking managers to understand how our operations affect our water resources, actively take steps to protect water quality and availability, and work to mitigate the damage water can inflict. That means paying attention to stormwater management.

Natural Ecosystems
In natural ecosystems, rain falls onto woodlands, wetlands, grasslands, or forests and percolates through soil and plant material to charge underwater aquifers or flow into streams and rivers. By percolating through the natural, organic materials, water is slowly absorbed and purified.

Through this process, the water’s speed and flow is tempered, and it is gradually reabsorbed into the earth. The soil itself holds the water, which reduces flooding and erosion. The amount of water that soaks into the soil is determined by the amount of organic material.

Urban Environments
In urban settings, the process that happens in natural ecosystems is interrupted. Permeable soil is covered by impermeable concrete and asphalt. Rain that falls on these hard surfaces quickly runs off the surface, carrying with it any oils or pollutants to streams and rivers. Depending on the chemical, pollutants can have deadly short- and long-term consequences for the natural environment and humans.

Because stormwater runoff moves quickly and with some force, it causes extensive erosion. Artificially channeling water increases erosion because it increases both the speed and volume of runoff. Erosion itself is a problem as it destroys natural habitats in streams and rivers.

There are other costs as well. Erosion can undermine the structural integrity of roads, parking lots, and buildings. For the parking industry, water can have large economic effects on an organization as the water can very quickly wash away the adhesive and waterproofing properties of asphalt and get into the pavement structure, allowing it to dry out, crack, and ravel. Erosion not only increases the amount of sediments carried by stormwater runoff, but sediment running off asphalt surfaces also has large amounts of petroleum products, corrosive chemicals, and fine metals. This affects plants and animals living in our streams and rivers.

Sediment also affects the surrounding water ecosystem in several ways by absorbing heat, blocking sunlight, and polluting the water. Sediments absorb heat, so a sediment-laden river will have a higher temperature than a clear river. Warmer waters hold less oxygen, which means fewer animals are able to survive.

Sediments in the water column block sunlight. Less light means less photosynthesis by algae and aquatic plants living on the streambed. This not only reduces the amount of oxygen in the water column, but also reduces the amount of food available to support the herbivores at the base of the food chain. This, in turn, means less food is available to their predators, such as fish, birds, and mammals.

Sediments sink to the floor of streams and rivers. This eliminates homes for aquatic invertebrates, an important food source for predatory fish. The sediments also smother algae and smaller aquatic plants.

Protecting the Water Supply
As discussed, impermeable concrete and asphalt alter the natural flow and quality of water in urban environments. Fortunately, there are steps that we in the parking industry can take to protect our water supply and our parking assets.

To begin with, we can address water quality issues by simply keeping our parking lots clean and asphalt assets well-maintained. Regularly sweeping our parking lots to remove trash and debris improves the quality of any stormwater running off the pavement. Promptly treating and cleaning fluids, such as oils and coolants, that leak from vehicles also reduces water pollution.

Parking lots and roads that are well-maintained at regular intervals can last for many years; maintenance offers significant cost savings as it is more cost efficient to maintain the asphalt than it is to build and rebuild. With a strong, durable surface, water will naturally flow off the surface as designed. However, damage to an asphalt surface will allow water to seep through, deteriorate the sub-structure, and compromise its ability to sustain the pressure of traffic loads. When the foundation beneath the asphalt is damaged, the surface is more susceptible to potholes, alligator cracking, and further water erosion.

In parking lot and roadway designs, we can funnel polluted stormwater into sewer systems so runoff is treated by the municipal water treatment plant. While this may be a convenient solution, it may not always be the most feasible one, especially if there is a large body of water such as a river or lake nearby. In several coastal states where sewers drain directly into the ocean, there are significant rules and regulations regarding stormwater management that mandate onsite mitigation and treatment of runoff.

Several landscaping and surface treatments can be used to reduce stormwater runoff, including incorporating the use of bioswales and permeable surfaces. Bioswales, such as rain gardens, are landscaping treatments used to slow, collect, infiltrate, filter, and store stormwater until it is reabsorbed into the ground. These drainage areas are often filled with native, water-loving plants that can tolerate being under water for short periods of time, but they can also simply be filled with rock.

In flatter areas, permeable surfaces, such as areas covered with pavers or permeable concrete, can be a good solution for stormwater. They allow water to penetrate below the surface and percolate through the soil below to recharge natural aquifers. However, permeable surfaces are susceptible to erosion as the speed of the water flow still plays a big role in runoff. Depending upon your water flow needs or landscaping plan design, you can slow down water and erosion damage by having it crash into larger rocks that are in the drainage channel where the water flows. The water expends some of its energy on the rocks instead of the surface treatment in the channel. If you slow down the water, it has less force, and with less force, there is less erosion and sediment.

While organizations can invest in alternative transportation programs and advances in technology that reduce parking demand, asphalt facilities to accommodate vehicle parking and travel will always exist. However, the need to address the political, environmental, and economic conditions created by stormwater will also continue to exist as the natural progression of the planet’s weather patterns continue. As parking operators, land developers, and planners, it is our obligation to ensure that we are aware of all of the options that exist to be able to understand what is at stake and appropriately allocate our limited resources and make the hard decisions for the future.

Irma Henderson, CAPP, is director of transportation services at the University of California Riverside. She can be reached at irma.henderson@ucr.edu.

Jennifer Tougas, CAPP, PhD, is director of parking and transportation services at Western Kentucky University. She can be reached at jennifer.tougas@wku.edu.