Tag Archives: college

Embracing “E” Words for Campus Mobility

College student wearing a mask and biking on campus.By Sarah Blouch, Carl DePinto, Zachary Pearce, and Keith Palma

Initiating changes to parking and mobility systems on college campuses can be difficult and frustrating for campus parking professionals. New solutions to old problems abound as technology and innovation flourish in the industry. But the fear of the unknown, competing needs for a scarce resource that require established priorities, and the inability to gain consensus (much less a direction) on those critical priorities are all frequent reasons why university leaders tend to resist making changes. They have enough challenges to deal with at any given time, so why create more?

Well, it turns out there is nothing like a good crisis to help the evolution of change move forward! While the pandemic forced everyone into crises management mode for the past 15 months, we have now shifted into planning for a “new normal” and at the same time, seizing opportunities to implement long-desired changes to make our systems more effective for the customer and efficient for operations. Flexible and scalable parking options to address hybrid work schedules, protocols around cleanliness and social distancing, and event parking changes to better manage traffic and enhance safety for the sellers are all now possible (and in many cases required) to manage the long-term aftereffects of COVID-19.

It is time to embrace the ”E” words: Evolutions in operations to Enhance Efficiency and Effectiveness.

Carl DePinto and Zach Pearce are with Duke University and Duke Health; and Sarah Blouch and Keith Palma are with CampusParc. They will present on this topic at the 2021 IPMI Parking & Mobility Conference & Expo, Nov. 29 – Dec. 2, in Tampa, Fla.

Academic Parking & Mobility’s Response to COVID-19

By Brett Wood, CAPP, PE

The fall 2020 semester for higher education campuses has been a mixture of trial and error, adaptation, and survival. With the effects of the global pandemic continuing to evolve, ensuring some level of education and campus experience has been a rapidly moving target.

Within the parking and mobility realm, this challenge has been no different. For programs that manage on-campus transportation activities, defining how to operate shuttles, manage parking, assist with mobility options, and keep patrons and staff safe has constantly evolved with the ebbs and flows of this unique campus life experience.

IPMI’s Research & Innovation Task Force has been working throughout the year on the ongoing Roadmap to Recovery project, helping document the steps our industry is taking to support our campuses and communities. The latest installment–Academic Parking & Mobility Response to COVID-19–documents the findings from an industry survey that sought to understand strategies, policies, and practices implemented in the academic realm to provide safe, flexible, and adaptive parking and mobility options. The results, available soon, highlight strategies that have worked, lessons learned, and overall impacts to program performance.

If you’d like to continue the conversation, join IPMI tomorrow, December 16, for the next free online Shoptalk: Looking Back, Planning Ahead: Leaving 2020 in the Dust and Building a Better 2021, moderated by Casey Jones, CAPP. You can register here.

Brett Wood, CAPP, PE, is president of Wood Solutions Group and co-chair of IPMI’s Research & Innovation Task Force.

Back to School

By Brett Wood CAPP, PE

The weather outside is starting to change, ushering in cooler and more palatable temperatures. That’s usually a sign that students are heading back to college and my favorite sport (college football) is about to kick off. While these things are happening, it’s obviously a slightly different take in 2020. Some students are finding their way back to campus, with either in-person, online, or hybrid classes awaiting them. But for those campuses that are occupied, one other thing comes along with the student—their car.

One of the most common stakeholder complaints I hear around academic campuses is spillover student parking in adjacent residential neighborhoods. For the past two years, I’ve been living within two blocks of an academic campus. I can now confirm firsthand what all of those stakeholders have mentioned. The students and their cars invade and stay for days, weeks, and sometimes months on end. A lot of my neighbors are aggrieved by it, going as far to post notes and messages on the cars. It’s all a fascinating observational experiment that directly ties back to the work we do!

There are several considerations in this type of situation:

  1. Do nothing and hope that the demand for parking finds balance or equilibrium.
  2. Implement a neighborhood parking permit program that restricts parking to only registered vehicles. This requires residents to register all vehicles that will park on street and likely pay an annual permit fee. And it introduces parking enforcement in an area that isn’t used to it.
  3. Implement time limits for parking for non-registered vehicles to dis-incentivize long stays (based in hours or days). This allows parking but prohibits vehicle storage.
  4. Implement paid parking with the permit program to allow for unregistered vehicles to pay for their time. A great example of this is occurring in Columbus, Ohio, near the Ohio State University campus. Revenues collected from non-registered vehicles is also reinvested into the area to help improve congestion and mobility.

There’s no easy solution to the problem. The one surefire way to find equitable solutions is collaboration where the community and campus leadership work together to define the problem and develop a response. By working together, the outcomes tend to focus on efficient use of space and minimization of conflicts, rather than choosing one side over the other.

Brett Wood, CAPP, PE, is president of Wood Solutions Group, LLC.

Returning to Work in the New Normal

Paul B. Johnson Commons at Ole Miss
Paul B. Johnson Commons at Ole Miss.

By Richard L. Bradley, CAPP

The University of Mississippi has started inviting faculty and staff back to campus for work. We were well taken care of during our campus shutdown, which stretched from mid-March until July 1, and paid administrative leave was allowed for those with positions not conducive to a remote working environment. As we all found out, service industries find it nearly impossible to function during pandemics.

Now we have been challenged with bringing staff back in a safe environment. Is that even possible for higher education campuses? College campuses share the same risk level during a virus breakout as cruise ships. Would you want to go on a cruise right now? Would you want to be staffed on one of those ships? Would you send your child on a cruise? These are the questions our staff members are wrestling with right now.

I work for a great university that ranks high on the Modern Think list of Great Colleges to Work For every year. We currently offer two programs to assist our staff during these times: Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family Medical Leave. These offer relief to staff members who are sick or have a close family member who is sick with COVID-19, anyone that is quarantined by local policy, those considered high risk due to an underlying condition, or those with child care needs due to care provider and school closures.

I consider us lucky to have these programs provided by our state. These programs provide equity and support for our staff. This will provide a sense of safety to our staff they often do not feel in other jobs. Providing information to employees is crucial. Without the information, opportunities might be missed and costly staff turnover could ensue.

Richard L Bradley, CAPP, is manager of administrative affairs, department of parking & transportation, at The University of Mississippi.

University Plans for Fall

Colleges and universities are facing unprecedented challenges this fall: To return to campus, to stay all-remote, to launch a hybrid model, and everything all of those decisions entail. Health and safety have never played as big a role in a fall as they do this year, and that means parking and mobility departments are having to rethink almost everything–including what decreased revenue means.

In this month’s Parking & Mobility magazine, a panel of experts from universities around the country share the decisions they’re making and where they hope to go from here, including pivoting very quickly as things change. Their concerns are university specific but the challenges and lessons translate to nearly every other sector of the industry. Find out more in this month’s magazine.

Return to Normalcy?

normalcy blogBy Josh Cantor, CAPP

During many large-scale events and emergencies, such as severe weather, I am used to being an integral part of planning and response as I represent parking and transportation. It sometimes takes me being pushy, but I always want to make sure access concerns are addressed, as we are often the only ones who know everything happening across campus because of our daily responsibilities.

However, when the COVID pandemic begin, my staff and I had some major decisions to make regarding shuttle operations. We then had to respond to pressure to provide parking refunds when classes went online for the remainder of the spring and summer semesters and very few would be driving to campus anymore. As people were adjusting to the online classes and telework and among the public health concerns, I was not surprised that parking issues jumped into the discussion—while people don’t like paying for parking when they do park, they certainly don’t like paying when they can’t park anymore!

Once the refunds were done, operations become relatively quiet and my role stepped back. As we prepare to re-open in fall and several different scenarios are considered by the university’s administration, our role has returned to high visibility. How are we going to deal with drastic reductions in shuttle seating capacity, how are we going to sell permits and provide more daily options, how are we going to clean pay stations and push more mobile payment use, etc.?

While I think there are more complex decisions to make as we re-open—likely with limited in-person classes—perhaps it’s a good sign of normalcy when everyone has time to give me their opinion of how we should operate parking and transportation!

Josh Cantor, CAPP, is director of parking and transportation at George Mason University.



Voting Law’s Parking Requirements Create Controversy

A new Florida law that requires “sufficient nonpermitted parking” at early-voting sites has raised the ire of many who feel it excludes college-age voters from participating in elections by prohibiting on-campus voting. It’s become part of a lawsuit filed by the League of Women Voters of Florida, a group of students, and a nonprofit organization.

The law in question went into effect July 1 and requires enough nonpermitted parking for all anticipated voters at a voting site. Critics say it was a last-minute amendment ta larger election-law package and was designed to keep younger voters out of the polls; the requirement is nearly impossible to meet on a college campus. The lawsuit also notes it would be difficult to comply with in dense urban neighborhoods as well, and that parking shouldn’t play a role in election law.

Read the whole story here. 

Wanted: Students with Innovative Solutions to Parking and Transportation Challenges to Enter International Competition

Wanted: Students with Innovative Solutions to Parking and Transportation Challenges to Enter International Competition

New, international competition strives to discover and showcase the Next Big Idea

Parking Solutions Student Competition Details Click Here
Parking Solutions Student Competition Registration

(ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Dec. 21, 2017) Are you a student with innovative ideas that might solve parking and transportation challenges? Here’s your chance to showcase your talent in a student competition sponsored by the International Parking Institute, the world’s largest association of parking professionals.

IPI invites college students, working either independently or in multi-disciplinary teams, to enter its inaugural Parking Solutions Competition, a design and development challenge based on real-world scenarios. The world’s largest parking organization seeks to tap bright, young minds in hopes of discovering the Next Big Idea in parking.

“Technology, a focus on sustainability, and a driver-friendly approach to parking has revolutionized the parking industry in the past decade,” explains IPI CEO Shawn Conrad, CAE. “We know that college students are an untapped resource of new ideas, just waiting to be applied, and are very excited to see the results of this competition.”

Up to four finalists will be selected, based on creativity, innovation, realism, applicability, scalability, overall presentation, and ability to benchmark success and demonstrate return on investment.

One member of each finalist team will be sent to the IPI Conference & Expo in New Orleans, La., May 21-24, 2017, to meet international experts and present their innovative idea at the Parking Solutions Competition ceremony. Each will receive roundtrip airfare and a two-night hotel stay, conference registration (valued at $1,299), and a one-year IPI student membership.*

IPI’s Parking Solutions Competition is open to any student actively enrolled in an undergraduate institution or pursuing a graduate degree, competitors must be 18 years of age or older as of May 18, 2017. Entrants must first register and provide a 1,000-1,500-word narrative on their concept, which may feature a mobile application; website or online service; plans, drawings, and/or graphics; and/or 3/D models, animation, or video. (To discuss additional formats, contact Stephanie Santoro at santoro@parking.org.)

The deadline for submissions is February 15, 2017. More information about registering can be found at www.parking.org/parkingsolutions.

The Grand Prize winner will receive $500 and be featured in IPI’s award-winning magazine, The Parking Professional, as well as traditional and social media.

Could entering this competition be your ticket to success? CEO Wen Sang, attributes the success of his company SMARKING to winning a similar IPI competition in 2015 while working on his PH.D.


*International travel not included.