Tag Archives: data

Protecting Parking Patrons’ Personally Identifiable Information

data protection and internet security concept, woman user typing password on computer for secured accessParking payment technology has advanced from the spare change in your wallet to an app on your phone hosted in the cloud. Digital parking apps and services provide ease and convenience to both parties to a digital parking transaction. However, while feeding quarters in a parking meter is a rather anonymous transaction, the use of a digital platform for a parking transaction requires a user to provide, and a company to store, personal and financial information of its users. This creates a duty for parking technology providers to properly secure and safeguard highly-valuable, protected personally identifiable information.

In the digital realm, protected personally identifiable information (PII) includes names, license plate numbers, email addresses, phone numbers, vehicle nicknames, passwords, and home addresses. Hackers and digital scammers spend a lot of time and effort attempting to infiltrate digital platforms to steal PII for criminal enterprise, resulting in billions of dollars of losses due to identity theft and fraud. The failure to properly secure customer PII can create liability to a digital service provider for reckless or negligent disclosure.

Michael J. Ash, Esq., CRE, partner with Carlin & Ward, shares the potential pitfalls and liabilities of personally identifiable data and some great tips for avoiding them, in this month’s Parking & Mobility magazine. Click here to read the whole article.

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.

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.

I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me

A shield protects buildings from data theft.By Melonie Curry, MBA

I recently saw a news alert that Google purchased Fitbit. I already felt like they are tracking my every move and conversation (and they are), and I refused to provide them any additional data. So I turned off my Fitbit. Victory! I took control of my privacy. I gave up my Fitbit but what about my smartphone, connected car, and smart TV?

Certain technologies have become a daily necessity. Therefore, we ignore or can bear the loss of privacy. When introducing new technology, it’s vital to know how it meets a vital need. Identify your target segment, understand how the technology fulfills their need, and then you can tailor your messaging to establish trust. Trust will lead to adoption.

Who needs this technology? What are the common characteristics of our target customer? What will motivate them to adopt this technology? What data do you have that will help answer these questions? We must be very careful when using data to target current customers. They should not feel like Big Brother is watching their every move. Our communications should remain general. More personal marketing communications should require the user to opt-in and their use be limited.

Credit card numbers, phone numbers, license plate numbers, vehicle registration addresses and daily routines–parking providers have access to tons of private information. Its our charge to respect our customer’s privacy, handle the data securely, and use the data to improve their experience and while respecting their privacy.

Melonie Curry, MBA, is a staff analyst with ParkHouston, City of Houston. She will be presenting on this topic at the 2020 IPMI Conference & Expo, May 31 – June 3, in San Antonio, Texas. For information and to register, click here.

Micro-mobility, Parking, Data, and Your Operation: Looking Ahead

A scooter parked on a sidewalk in a cityBy Nathan Donnell, CAPP

The micro-mobility movement has exploded around the globe in the last three to five years. Government agencies woke up to find e-scooters and bikes dropped onto sidewalks for the general public to use. For the most part, the public has embraced this new form of transportation. However, agencies have been challenged to find the balance between safety, sustainability, street clutter, and revenue generation.

If your agency is weighing different micro-mobility options, which one or ones do you choose? Have you figured out how many units to allow per vendor? Who’s responsible when the units are left in prohibited areas? How do you access the data from each vendor? Is the data valuable for your operations? What do you do with the data when you get your hands on it?

Various studies claim more than 60 percent of 0- to 5-mile trips are taken via micro-mobility options. This mode of transportation adds to the options from which the public can choose. It can even bridge gaps in areas where traditional transport modes may be lacking, such as government-run bus routes.

IPMI’s Technology Committee has scheduled a webinar that will discuss benefits, challenges, and questions to ask when agencies are approached by vendors. Mark March 18 on your calendar and click here to register.

Nathan Donnell, CAPP, is director, western U.S. and Canada sales, curbside management solutions, with Conduent, and a member of IPMI’s Technology Commmittee.

The Double Parking Conundrum

Parking & Mobility February 2020 coverWe see on-street parking competition from transit, bicycles, online shopping delivery trucks, shared mobility service companies, and a variety of other usages. People love convenience, but the rigid, daily demand for on-street parking has consequences, including double parking.

Anyone who has driven in a city knows the frustration of encountering a street blocked by double-parked vehicles. Improving enforcement might be one of the solutions to discourage the practice, but knowing where to target is crucial. Researchers at New York University’s C2SMART Center have built a novel data-driven integrated machine learning model for estimating the actual frequency of double parking based on extensive data available in New York City; this random, forest-based, data-driven approach offers an alternative method to estimate street-level double parking activity and identify hotspots.

C2Smart’s researchers break down their research, the resulting data, and what it all means for parking and mobility (including operations that hope to reproduce it all in their areas) in the February issue of Parking & Mobility magazine–and it’s fascinating. Don’t miss it–read the whole story here.