Tag Archives: data

Drawing Back the Curtain

By Kevin White, CAPP, AICP

Information is power, as they say. This is certainly true in the world of parking and mobility, where a wealth of payment, curb use, traffic, travel pattern, citation, and a variety of other data is being collected and documented. Emerging platforms and technologies bring new technologies, and municipalities, universities, and other parking and mobility operations are working to ingest data from a variety of platforms and use it to make informed planning, policy, and operations decisions. But data-driven parking and mobility management is certainly not easy. Data streams are vast, and it can be difficult to identify and distinguish truly useful information. Operations need personnel experienced in organizing, summarizing, handling, and analyzing data. A plan has to be in place to ensure regular data collection, analysis, and evaluation–a clear pathway that identifies the types of decisions and outcomes that can be made based on key data performance indicators.

These topics and more are explored in “Drawing Back the Curtain,” in the April issue of Parking & Mobility. We will host a discussion-based Shoptalk on May 5 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern on this same topic.

The learning objectives of the Shoptalk are as follows:

  • Define and demystify data-driven management.
  • Learn how operations are leveraging and benefiting from data.
  • Understand key considerations of a data-driven approach.
  • Evaluate how your organization can benefit from data.
  • Focus on data that matters and that you can gain value from.

We hope you’ll attend and hear from the municipal and university panelists, and also contribute your ideas and questions. We look forward to seeing you there.

Kevin White, CAPP, AICP, is a parking and mobility consultant with Walker Consultants. He’ll host an IPMI Shoptalk on this topic May 5. Click here for details and to register.

What Is That New Normal?

New normal word with yellow arrow on roadBy Brett Wood, CAPP, PE

For the past 12 months, we have been pontificating about what the post-pandemic world might look like:

  • Would we all just work from home forever?
  • Would we have all of our goods delivered out of convenience?
  • Would the state of our downtowns and campuses forever be shifted?
  • Would people even commute and park anymore?

If you talked to some people this time one year ago (me included), you’d have thought the new environment would be a completely different world than the “before times,” while other people were convinced we would bounce back and go right back to where we were. And as with everything in life, the answer likely lies somewhere in the middle: A little bit of good from the before, a little bit of good from the quarantine days, and you find yourself in a post-pandemic world that begins to reshape life without radically transforming our industry’s landscape.

I’ve had the good fortune of doing some interesting work with several programs over the past few months, evaluating what change was beginning to look like–analyzing data and patterns about how people were commuting and parking and what those shifts taught us. As the country opened up further and further in the summer and fall of 2020, we began to see more people come back into the office or emerge for destination-based trips. And as we’ve entered into 2021, we can begin to start seeing some of the patterns that will shape our industry, including
hybrid work models (two to three days per week in the office) that create alternative commute patterns

Shifts in demand peaks, like higher demand levels in the evening for destination-based demands (restaurants and entertainment districts), are likely different in every community. As a parking program manager, it’s critical to begin looking deeper into your data now to understand how the new demand patterns will affect your programs, policies, and practices. Begin to review permit patron patterns: How often are they coming in and when are they coming in? Look at transient patterns: When do they occur and how does this compare to similar times in 2019? Looking at how those shifts are occurring can begin to help you shape what you offer your patrons and how you manage your system. And as the country returns to a more stable activity pattern, you will be prepared to define what the new normal is for your program to serve the community around you.

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

Business Intelligence Tools and Data-driven Decisions

Cover of Parking & Mobility magazine, March 2021“Data” is definitely one of the words of the year in parking and mobility. From curb management to contactless payments to right-sizing parking to nearly every step forward, we hear a lot about it all being fueled by data. And we all know the truth: It’s fairly easy to collect data. It’s much more difficult to know the best way to compile, analyze, and use it–much less choose which data points really matter–to make future-forward decisions.

Enter business intelligence tools. Business intelligence tools do some of the hard work for us, lowering the amount of data competency we need to make the most of all that information. They close the skill gap between what many of us understand about data and the systems that collect it, putting the power of data in more of our hands and making it much more useful.

Chris Lechner, CAPP, assistant director, data analytics and strategy, UCLA Commuter and Parking Services, breaks down business intelligence tools and how they work for parking and mobility operations in this month’s Parking & Mobility magazine, and he does it in plain English. Should your organization consider business intelligence tools? Find out here.

IPI Webinar: Data Analytics — Nov. 15, 2017

On-Demand Webinar: $35.00 for IPI Members, $85.00 for Non-Members

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The IPI Parking Research Committee approached this multi-faceted project to better define the scale of our industry. What started as a daunting task has turned into a robust and inclusive data mapping exercise that has included many of IPI’s member institutions and vendors, who have graciously provided information to map the size and scale of our industry. The results have been astounding, even with a small (but growing) sample size of respondents. This webinar will share those results, while taking attendees on an interactive exercise to map their parking data and compare results with the new industry benchmarks set by the IPI survey.

This archived webinar addresses the need for better data, industry efforts to benchmark and aggregate Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and the results to date of this critical effort. Attendees will participate in live text polling to see how they match up, and discuss various KPIs as we play with the data.


  • Review the various numbers put forth about the parking industry to date – and why we need better data.
  • Understand the various KPIs aggregated under the survey.
  • Take stock of your own organization in relation to the industry.


Brett Wood, P.E., CAPP, is a parking and transportation consultant with Kimley-Horn in Phoenix, Ariz. Throughout his career, Brett has worked on a variety of parking and transportation projects throughout the world that have afforded him a unique viewpoint of the role of parking in a successful and vibrant community. His unique passion for right-sized parking, transportation demand management, and innovative parking management solutions has helped communities find the right solution for parking.

Curb Appeal: Data to Understand and Manage These Valuable Assets

Tire turned into the curb - parking on a hillBy Meera Raja

The space between streets and sidewalks has become the hottest new real estate. The competition for curbside space is fierce; from delivery to drop-off and all the modes and activity in between, everyone wants a piece of the curb.

Traditional street parking and freight space are battling an influx of new mobility modes, resulting in curbside disruption. Now more than ever, cities need to responsively manage these spaces to balance the competing objectives of communities, business needs, and local transportation priorities. The right intervention can rationalize and optimize this valuable asset to prevent congestion and achieve equity and environmental goals, all with a potential for new revenue opportunities for cities.

Cities have multiple paths to manage curbs, but a key piece has continued to be missing from this discussion: understanding real-time demand at the curb.

Before building out proposed interventions, we need to understand activity at the curb: what specific curb space is currently designed to do and the actual demand for each space. Understanding this mismatch by modeling curbside activities can enable new tools for curb management; data and solutions on time- and location-specific demands will inform how to best allocate and monetize the space.

This exercise can also inform a dynamic management business model that accounts for proportional use and value. With a demand-driven model as a foundation, cities can actively test and implement tools that dynamically manage curb spaces, relieve curbside pressures, and create efficiencies for users. As activity and demand continue to shift due to either intentional interventions or mobility modes and trends that arise, refreshing data and models will be key to creating dynamic tools that allow for flexibility.

With this type of approach of first modeling activity and value and then piloting an intervention, cities can build robust data-driven plans to deploy flexible management, dynamic pricing, and forward-looking urban design solutions.​

Meera Raja is senior manager of solution design & program development at City Tech Collaborative. She will present on this topic during IPMI’s 2021 Mobility & Innovation Summit online, February 24-25–click here for details and to register.

Reading What Your Data Does–or Doesn’t–Tell You

ByA massed formation of British Lancaster bombers flying overhead at the start of a Thousand Bomber Raid. Matthew Hulme, CAPP, MPA

It is no secret that “data driven decision making” has become a buzzword (buzz-phrase?) in the parking industry. However, it is not a new concept. Good data provides the backdrop for strategic planning, driving new initiatives, and evaluating old ones. The key word here is “good,” as data is just meaningless numbers unless it is properly qualified and vetted.

As a military history buff, an example I love to use is aircraft bullet hole data from WWII. The military wanted to learn strategic areas to place armor on airplanes, as armoring an entire plane made it much too heavy. Data was compiled from planes that returned from engagements over Europe and the bullet holes were tabulated. The prevailing thought was to armor the areas that took the most damage, based on the data.

On first glance, this seems to be sound logic, particularly as the fuselage of the aircraft is where the data said took the most hits (and where the crew is located). However, it is important to remember that the data was only gathered on the planes that returned after engagements, not from the ones that were shot down. Because someone realized this, the section of the plane with the lowest amount of hits per square foot (the engines) was actually chosen as the location for additional armor. This proved to be the correct answer, and the armoring of engines continued into the Vietnam conflict.

I give this example to provoke thought about how you are interpreting and forming hypotheses about your own data. Sometimes the right answer does not lie in what you think the data says, but what may be missing from the data altogether.

Matthew Hulme, CAPP, MPA, is parking services supervisor with the City of Cincinnati.

Leveraging Analytics as Part of a Data-Driven Operation

By Kevin White, AICP

As businesses and cities reopen from various restrictions imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is uncertainty in how various sectors will fare and how customers and visitors will react. If your operation hasn’t already adopted a philosophy of data-driven management, the time is now to embrace analytics and key performance indicators as a core part of your operation.

A data-driven approach to parking and mobility management involves collecting, summarizing, and analyzing data on infrastructure and user behavior to guide and inform the management of parking and mobility systems and assets. The benefits of a data-driven approach are numerous:

  • Provides clear metrics (key performance indicators) that serve as markers for making modifications or implementing new policies or practices.
  • Aligns parking management with real-world conditions and user behavior, providing a more customized approach and a higher level of service.
  • Enables flexibility in parking management as conditions change and evolve over time.
    Improves operational transparency and support with the public as decisions are based on objectivity and a clear framework.

A variety of parking operations technology including mobile payment, modern meters, license plate-based enforcement, PARCS, cameras/sensors, and others can provide a variety of insights into on- and off-street parking behavior. Useful data includes parking occupancy, parking duration, meter and mobile payment transactions, citations, permits displayed, and others. Analyzing data across different locations, days, and times, and comparing separate datasets helps identify relationships and patterns. Also, the increasing importance of curb management has catalyzed the importance of inventorying the makeup of curb space and leveraging monitoring technology to understand how curb space is used for passenger and goods loading and unloading, beyond standard parking sessions.

Lest you become awash in a whole bunch of useless data, it’s worth carefully considering your operational capacity to collect, summarize, analyze, operationalize data. What types of data streams do you already collect, or what can you get easily? Do you have the internal capacity to integrate data collection and analytics into your operation?

Creating a data-driven framework plan for guiding your operation is the first step. This plan should articulate the what, when, who, where, why, and how of your operation’s use of data.

Kevin White, AICP, is a parking and mobility consultant with Walker Consultants.

U.K. Enacts Data Standards for Parking

The U.K. Department for Transport (DfT) has committed £1 million to research and put into place parking data standards created by the Alliance for Parking Data Standards (APDS) to help drivers find parking more easily. Officials said it was the first time the APDS standards would be put into place across a country.

The APDS was formed by IPMI, the British Parking Association, and the European Parking Association to develop, promote, manage, and maintain a uniform global standard that will allow organizations to share parking data across platforms worldwide. U.K. officials said their initiative will help develop apps that will allow drivers to more easily learn the availability, dimensions, and prices of available parking spaces.

The £1 million will be used in Cambridge, Essex, Manchester, and Oxfordshire to begin using the standards. Read the whole story here.


Use Your Data!

By Brett Wood, CAPP

I can recall a moment about 10 years ago when we were collecting and analyzing data from a major U.S. city to help validate and construct a new pricing and management scheme. I was reviewing the time sheet of one of my co-workers who was entering and analyzing the data and his cell notes for the day were just the word “DATA,” written over and over about 1,000 times. I could feel his mental breakdown through the computer screen.

Data has become a critical cog in our decision-making relative to our parking and mobility programs’ performance. We are supposed to use it to apply policies, communicate change, and define success. But we are often so overwhelmed by the mountain of data we generate that it becomes crippling to achieve these principles. When we lose control of the data we are supposed to be managing, we risk losing the intended direction of our programs.

One of the key focus areas for managing and maintaining data is defining process and practice for capturing and analyzing data. This is best completed with the assistance of technology, dashboards, and the application of key performance indicators and benchmarks to measure change. I’m excited to bring some insights and information about these areas to the upcoming IPMI Leadership Summit in Pittsburgh, Pa. Hoping you can join me and 99 of the industry’s best and brightest to learn more about this and a variety of great topics!

Brett Wood, CAPP, is a parking consultant with Kimley-Horn. He will speak on this topic at IPMI’s 2019 Leadership Summit, Oct. 3-4 in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Data-based Storytelling

Data-based storytellingBy L. Dennis Burns, CAPP

According to the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), shared micro-mobility devices like bikes and scooters provided more than 84 million trips across the U.S. in 2018. While these numbers are impressive and contribute to reductions in urban area congestion and greenhouse gas emissions, I have been worried that the e-scooter industry in particular may be facing an uncertain future as it struggles with escalating accident rates and negative headlines.

I recently read an article entitled: “Micro-Mobility Contest Wants to Spark Data-Based Storytelling.” In this article, e-scooter operator Spin is leading a project in partnership with data firms StreetLight Data and Populus to make troves of micro-mobility data available to nonprofits advocating for safer streets.

According to the article, “Advocates working for improved bike, pedestrian, or other micro-mobility projects in cities across the U.S. could soon have access to new datasets, as they make their case to officials. Spin, an operator of e-scooters, is leading a pilot known as the Mobility Data for Safer Streets (MDSS) which asks nonprofits and other micro-mobility advocacy groups to apply for one of up to five slots to participate in the program. The five winning organizations will have access to a year’s worth of mobility data collected by StreetLight Data and Populus, two leading data collection and analysis firms often used by cities, transportation agencies, and others looking to use traffic and other data to shape transportation policy.”

I am encouraged by this move to better use available data in advocacy for safer streets as cities and states work to shape the public policy to both regulate the devices and reshape the public streetscape to accommodate them. It will be interesting to see what comes from this initiative.

L. Dennis Burns, CAPP, is regional vice president, senior practice builder, with Kimley-Horn.