A phrase often heard from a financial advisor is resonating with municipal parking operators throughout the nation as we feel the effects of COVID-19 on our budgets.
COVID-19 has affected so many things in our world, not the least of which has been parking and transportation demand habits. Nearly immediately, cities saw their meter revenue either disappear completely or drop anywhere from 80 to 90 percent. In Columbus, we saw our meter revenue plummet 85 percent—a revenue stream that accounts for over 90 percent of our non-citation revenue.
Municipal parking practitioners have been talking about curb lane management and smart loading zones as a way to manage our asset to the highest and best use. While it remains true that loading and unloading activities continue to increase, especially in the time of COVID-19, it has become very clear that cities need to take the next step to not only allocate space at the curb for pick-up and drop-off but also monetize and capture revenue from these activities. The challenge is that these activities take place in minutes and not hours like a traditional parking session. Finding the right technology, leveraging our great vendor community, and solving for enforcement and maintaining compliance in these zones won’t be easy but are all necessary.
Our revenue streams must diversify so we can weather this storm and future storms on the horizon. I’m excited to see what innovations are born out of this crisis and how we as parking practitioners continue to serve our communities.
Robert Ferrin is assistant director for parking services with the City of Columbus, Ohio.
I have the distinct honor of being a trainer for IPMI. I have been training for the past 23 years and one of the major highlights has always been the face-to-face interactions with trainees. During COVID-19, I decided to participate in Frontline Training Live Class Series in addition to teaching a session during the IPMI Virtual Parking & Mobility Conference & Expo. What an incredible experience! I was challenged in ways I did not think possible and realize this experience will make me a better manager.
In the world of Zoom and virtual meeting space, the interactive feedback I was used to during in-person trainings was often a black square, sometimes an initial and last name, making it impossible to see trainees’ reactions to the information I was sharing. Now there were those brave souls who turned their cameras on; they have no idea how helpful that was to this trainer.
Then there are the chat functions—a great feature when you have a co-facilitator, but very nerve wracking when training or teaching solo. It is nearly impossible to keep up with the flood of messages being shared to your questions or comments from others in attendance.
So you may be asking: How can this help me become a better manager? I have learned to be patient with the silence. I have learned eye contact, something I highly value, is not always necessary for comprehension or understanding. It is OK to take a risk and trust your own skills and abilities to communicate in any situation!
Kim E. Jackson, CAPP, is director of parking and transportation at Princeton University and an IPMI trainer.
I recently went out to dinner post-COVID. I have to admit, it was a bit scary. Despite what is going on in our world at the moment, I am grateful to say that this is the first time I have felt fear from going to dinner with friends.
The area we ate was busy and outdoors. When we arrived, we were unable to find a parking space. Different day, same problems. Parking was free in this area. As we circled looking for a parking space, I felt like a fish looking at the world from a bowl.
I took mental notes of each step I made. Door handles. Elevator buttons. People. Yes, we had to take an elevator to get to the restaurant. Four months ago I wouldn’t have thought twice about this and would have probably only observed if the elevator was clean, air conditioned, etc.
While my evening was wonderful, it brought to light so many things that never really mattered before. My mind immediately started listing solutions that we now will use in parking and could have made my experience different: A lot attendant to point out the shortest and safest route to the restaurant. Signage to encourage visitors to use the stairs versus the elevator. Hand sanitizer in the elevator lobby.
Parking professionals are great at sharing solutions and ideas among our network. However, our knowledge can be helpful if extended further given our new normal.
Nicole Chinea, CAPP, is senior project manager with WGI.
What a long, strange year it’s been so far, but things are starting to look up. And we at IPMI are excited to see our parking and mobility industry friends online Monday for the 2020 IPMI Parking & Mobility Virtual Conference & Expo—#IPMI2020. It’s not the same as in person and we wish we were all shaking hands and hugging for real, but the virtual conference platform is fantastic, with lots of opportunity for human connections (along with all the great sessions, keynotes, GameChangers, and the Expo—wait until you see the Expo!).
If you haven’t signed up, visit ipmi.parking-mobility.org to browse the schedule, explore the list of exhibitors, and register. When the live event is over, you’ll still have access to all of it for a full year, and we think that’s a pretty cool perk.
The blog will return after the event next week. In the meantime, we’ll see you online Monday morning!
Ever wonder why it is raining inside your parking structure? Well, it is a sign that your parking structure needs attention. Water is the No. 1 cause of parking structure deterioration. Water-saturated concrete can freeze, expand, and spall. Combined with oxygen, water can also cause corrosion of the concrete reinforcing, accelerated by exposure to deicing salts. As reinforcing steel expands as it rusts, this process also leads to concrete spalling. Spalled concrete provides less cover or protection of the structure which leads to further (and accelerated) deterioration if not repaired in a timely manner.
The top level of your parking structure not only provides possibly the least desirable parking spaces, it also serves as the roof of the facility. Controlling water in the form of rain or melting snow at this level is the least expensive way to extend the life of your parking structure and minimize maintenance costs. Controlling the water runoff involves shedding water to drains as quickly as possible.
Ponding water is unacceptable as it saturates the concrete and leaks to lower levels. The installation of supplemental drains can easily and permanently address ponding. Urethane joint sealant at the top level is exposed to UV sunlight and tends to break down within a few years. The breakdown of this product leads to cracks in the sealant allowing leaks to the levels below. This leads to degradation at lower levels like that described above at the top level.
Therefore, it is important to visually inspect joint sealants annually and budget a portion of joint sealant replacement approximately every three years at the top level. Urethane joint sealant replacement will cost approximately $4.50 per linear foot but provides one of the best returns on investment when it comes to parking structure maintenance.
Given the accelerated rate of parking structure deterioration, this is cheap insurance against having to perform more expensive repairs in the future.
Scott Weiland, PE, is founder of Innovative Engineering, Inc. He will present on this topic during the 2020 IPMI Virtual Parking & Mobility Conference & Expo, June 1-2, wherever you are. Click here for details and to register.
This blog is part of a special series on curb management and COVID-19. A joint effort of the International Parking and Mobility Institute, Transportation for America, and Institute of Transportation Engineer’s Complete Streets Council, this series strives to document the immediate curbside-related actions and responses to COVID-19, as well as create a knowledge base of strategies that communities can use to manage the curbside during future emergencies.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, jurisdictions around the world are preparing to shift from emergency response to recovery with forward-thinking sustainability in mind. The status quo is untenable, meaning innovation will be essential to restoring our way of life.
Enter the triple helix model of innovation which describes the relationship between academia, industry, and government as it pertains to social and economic development. At the model’s core, academia supplies education and research, governments fund or influence educational priorities and regulate industries, while industry provides jobs, infrastructure, and taxes, though these are not rigidly set roles.
Where the triple helix may be most evident is how federal and state COVID-19 response guidelines affected government operations, educational institutions, and businesses. The trickle-down effect has led to ever-evolving resource collaborations and emergency changes to curbside operations and mobility management.
NYU’s C2SMART produced an invaluable tool for municipal responders: an interactive dashboard and white paper on the impact of COVID-19 on transportation in the New York metropolitan area. NYU students also learned how to use modeling techniques to predict the effects of pandemics on transportation systems. Their findings give key insight into mode shifts likely to shape future policy.
Retailers will have a key role in innovation as they adapt to consumer trends. Adobe Analytics data showed a 208 percent increase in curbside pickup during the first three weeks of April. Many jurisdictions face questions about the necessity and sustainability of curbside management strategies to facilitate on-demand delivery services like Uber Eats, GrubHub, Postmates, and DoorDash, which generate about $82 billion and are projected to more than double by 2025. These trends have started to influence government policy and operations with Seattle announcing in May the rollout of curbside pick-up zones for retailers. Future considerations of infrastructure or operations that limit personal contact or facilitate quick curbside access will depend on clear communication of needs.
In the technology world, Apple and Google are working on contact tracing technology that would integrate with government health agency apps. The apps would alert users when they come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, though challenges around privacy, data integrity, and participation remain. Still, successful implementation of this technology could empower users or transportation systems managers to make better real-time transportation decisions based on risk.
The Triple Helix Association is calling for papers on innovation in pandemic and societal crisis response; transportation will be an integral part.
What innovation looks like going forward remains to be seen, but opportunity abounds. For example, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) hosts an internship program in conjunction with the Howard University Transportation Research Center. These students play a critical role in expanding the DDOT’s work capacity (including now as we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic). In turn they gain real-world experience to boost their careers in the public, private, or academic sectors.
These are a few examples of how governments, academia, and private industry are jointly responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re aware of other examples, please share it with firstname.lastname@example.org.
David C. Lipscomb is curbside management planner for the District Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C.
As the U.S. begins to open up in ways large and small, the mobility industry is preparing for a broad range of outcomes. There are two fundamental questions facing all of us:
How many people are coming back to our venues?
How are they going to get there?
The answers will determine our ability to accommodate mobility demand and allow us to begin to explore policy responses to the new (ab)normal.
We know that many businesses are increasing telecommuting and educational institutions are preparing to extend remote instruction. Many businesses have had to reduce their workforces, and local and state regulations have barred whole categories of activities. Even before formal lockdowns were implemented, many services were already experiencing cancellations of reservations and declining business. All of these factors would indicate that for the vast majority of use cases, total demand for mobility will be down.
Mobility professionals are well aware that most of the approaches to reducing traffic and parking congestion–buses, carpools, vanpools, and rail–require density and close physical contact. If people are unwilling to get onto densely packed modes of transportation or if those transit systems reduce their capacity to provide for physical distancing, people will be forced back into their cars or choose not to make those trips.
The balance between less demand for mobility in total and less demand for shared mobility as a percentage of the whole will dictate what our streets, structures, and curbs look like for the foreseeable future.
Chris Lechner, CAPP, is manager, data analytics and strategic projects, with UCLA Events and Transportation.
Raise your hand if big-event networking can be a little overwhelming.
Now raise it if the thought of that same networking during a virtual event makes your head hurt a little bit.
I thought so.
As it turns out—and this was news to me—virtual networking is a very big thing. You can absolutely attend an online event and come away with the same valuable contacts you’d make face to face (slightly awkward small talk optional).
ByStephanie Dock, AICP, and Katherine Kortum, PhD, PE
This blog post is part of a special series on curb management and COVID-19. A joint effort of the International Parking & Mobility Institute, Transportation for America, and Institute of Transportation Engineer’s Complete Streets Council, this series strives to document the immediate curbside-related actions and responses to COVID-19, as well as create a knowledge base of strategies that communities can use to manage the curbside during future emergencies.
The research community is quickly engaging to help understand and evaluate responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Practitioner and researcher collaboration will improve our understanding of what has worked and what has not, and how we might change our curbside in the longer term–whether for pandemic responses or for everyday operations in the coming “new normal.”
The Transportation Research Board (TRB) has coordinated and undertaken research for decades. While TRB’s completed research efforts are not specific to COVID-19, prior research is valuable for planning and responding now. Transportation in the Face of Communicable Disease details research on response strategies, transporting essential personnel, communicating clearly during a public health crisis, and more.
TRB launched its “Research Needs Statement Express” to rapidly capture the questions and research ideas generated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This call for submissions recognizes the need to engender collaboration faster than the typical formal process for developing research ideas. TRB is also partnering with the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHTO), American Public Transportation Association (APTA), and others to develop and soon publish pandemic-related research needs for all transportation modes.
Finally, TRB is developing workshops to help determine questions (and some answers!) in specific areas. Summer 2020 will likely include a summit on scenario planning for transit and shared mobility during the COVID-19 recovery and in 2021, TRB and the European Commission will jointly hold a research summit on COVID-19 effects on transportation.
Academic researchers bring analytical approaches and resources municipal and private sector partners can look to complement their efforts, including:
Peer review network to collaborate and objectively vet research.
Student researchers (the next generation of transportation professionals), who bring energy and ideas.
Capacity to conduct objective, mutli-disciplinary research and analysis through course projects or faculty research.
Examples of academic research underway or projects supporting evaluation of mobility networks during this pandemic include:
During the last 30 years, I have seen much written and taught on leadership. I attended leadership courses and read many books that provided step-by-step instruction. I became overwhelmed with all the “right” ways to become a leader. I did realize that leadership is a skill and while many natural leaders can come to mind, the rest of us must learn on our own.
So, where do you start? Every organization is interested in leadership and would like its employees to exhibit those skills. However, we all know there are varying levels of investment by those same organizations. In my first career, as a law-enforcement officer in California, the state organization for peace officer standards and training provided several classes, including an intense nine-month leadership course for sergeants. This was my first formal course on leadership and the course reviewed many different types of books and films on the subject.
Dictionary.com defines leadership as “The action of leading a specific group or organization.” What is the action of leading? Each piece of literature or film contained their version(s) of the action of leadership. Finding a starting point is difficult using any of these recommended actions. However, I discovered a more natural way.
As I studied leadership theories and styles, I saw two common themes: the first in the goal of leadership—the creation of active organizations utilizing teams. The second is caring for the people in these teams. Include these themes and you will be well on your way to becoming an effective leader.
Perry Eggleston, CAPP, DPA, is executive director for transportation at University of California Davis. He will present on this topic during the 2020 IPMI Virtual Parking & Mobility Conference & Expo, June 1-2, wherever you are. Click here for details and to register.