Tag Archives: magazine

COVID-19 and Our Industry

COVID_19 P&M Parking IndustryCampuses have emptied out. Hospitals are busier than ever. Municipalities are trying to help communities under shelter-in-place orders. And nobody knows when airports will get back to normal.

COVID-19 has affected parking and mobility in more ways than we can count, from revenue to payroll to services to security—and essential vs. non-essential has turned out to be incredibly complicated. In this month’s Parking & Mobility, we talk with professionals from all facets of the industry about how the virus has affected their operations and their people, how they’re all reacting, and how everyone’s looking ahead to the future in the middle of it all.

Read the whole story here. And then join the conversation during an upcoming online Shoptalk  or on Forum.

A Grateful Farewell and a New Hello

By Kim Fernandez

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are sure to miss the future.

– John F. Kennedy

IPMI embraced the future by adding “mobility” to its name last fall, shifting to where members’ jobs and focuses are going as the industry evolves. And we’re excited that another change is coming to further solidify our members’ importance in the future of the way we all get from place to place.

This month’s issue of The Parking Professional is the magazine’s last. It retires with quite an impressive history. Starting in June, a new magazine will hit your mailboxes and email inboxes—and it’s a very good thing!

Sunsetting TPP isn’t a decision we made lightly. Introducing a new publication is an opportunity to build on our foundation in parking (which remains a top priority) and further blend in the aspects of mobility our members are focusing on. You’ll find content about parking and transportation along with stories, research, and information about all the new trends and technologies coming to the industry as it grows. From TNCs to micro-mobility to all-encompassing transportation systems that blend existing modes with new ones to get people from door to door—and absolutely including parking—your new magazine from IPMI will cover it all, and do it in a gorgeous new design that’s easy to read and hard to put down.

Our big launch is scheduled for June 3 and we can’t wait to take the wrapping paper off and show you our new monthly magazine. It’s been an awesome ride so far and we’re looking forward to fantastic adventures ahead!

Kim Fernandez is IPMI’s director of publication and editor of … you’ll find out soon!



How Steel City morphed into an innovation powerhouse:  A follow-up on the Pittsburgh Parking Authority.

By Julianne Wilhelm

ONCE AN AMERICAN MANUFACTURING EPICENTER known for its smoke-billowed steel Parking Transofrmation article 19-02mills, the City of Pittsburgh, Pa., has become one of the top innovation cities in America, positioning itself as a city of tomorrow.

To date, the region’s per capita research and develop­ment (R&D) spending is nearly two and a half times the national average. After the turn of the millennium, Pitts­burgh began investing in all the typical ingredients of the modern American urban success story: a diverse and ed­ucated workforce, universities and research institutes, and restored neighborhoods. Leading in Pittsburgh’s innovative force was the Pittsburgh Parking Authority (PPA), a key player in the city’s striving economy.

Taking lead from David Onorato, CAPP, executive director of the Pittsburgh Parking Authority, the city was the first in the country to make the change to a pay-by-plate system in 2012. Within the next five years, the PPA would be named IPMI’s Parking Organization of the Year, becoming one of the first to be recognized as an Accredited Parking Orga­nization and listed among the top 10 inno­vative parking cities in the U.S.  The Authority’s influential shift caught the attention of top cities around the world, all vying to know the secret of their path to success.

A Bold Move Forward
Up until 2012, Steel City was just that, a metropolis vast with steel, coin-operated single-space meters. The slow-paced meters had been a part of the city’s landscape for nearly 75 years and were becoming difficult to support.  Onorato led the modernization for the authority with a vision to improve the parking experience for all Pittsburgh patrons—on-street and off-street in busy lots. The first objective was to extend the option of paying by debit or credit cards to those who were limited to the use of coins to pay for parking.
“With the support of my IT Department, the deci­sion was made that pay-by-plate was the way to go,” says Onorato. “We decided we were about to make a drastic change from the coin meters.” The authority made the bold move to transition the meters with a vision of increasing revenue, capitalizing on new tech­nologies, and improving efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency.

In 2012, Pittsburgh became the first U.S. city to implement an on-street pay-by-plate system on a large scale. The authority made the decision to manage its network of metered spaces with Flowbird’s Cale Web Terminal (CWT) multi-space kiosks.
The authority began installation of 500 pay-by-plate terminals, the largest CWT installation in the U.S. at the time. The terminals were all connected to a back-office system that monitored the status of the terminals and tracked revenue generated.

Leading the Transition
With the first large-scale implementation of its kind, the authority sought a seamless customer transition from single-space mechanical meters, as well as several pay-and-display meters, to a full-scale, pay-by-plate operation. Knowing many vehicle owners didn’t have their license plate number memorized, the authority worked with city businesses to distribute key fobs. Each fob had space for patrons to record their license plate information for reference during parking transactions.
Once the new system was installed, meter greet­ers—staff and local students who came out to educate patrons about the modernized process—began appear­ing around town.
“The customers needed to know the why,” says On­orato. “When you pay for a parking spot using pay-by-plate, you can park anywhere else within that area with the time you have left over. No new transactions.”
The new system also eliminated wasted parking space that had been unknowingly idle for years. The old parking spaces drawn out for pay-and-display were measured for car lengths that were outdated, fitting 15 cars to a block. With the newly implemented pay-by-plate zone system, patrons easily fit 18 cars to a block. This contributed to a major increase in revenue, allow­ing the authority to self-fund structural repairs.

Effects beyond the City
By 2014, the authority collected $47,000 a day from the pay-by-plate system, up from $22,000 from the old coin machines. The market’s response was favorable.
Other cities across the U.S. began to take notice. After the 2012 pay-by-plate transition, many requests for proposals (RFPs) for multi-space parking meters asked for pay-by-plate as at least as an option, if not the primary mode of operation.
Advancing toward Organization of the Year
In 2015, the Authority saw another opportunity to ex­pand its progress by adding a mobile payment applica­tion to the system. Users were quick to adapt to it.
Pittsburgh’s acceptance of the new payment fea­ture easily outpaced market response elsewhere. Just five months after its introduction, the city’s use of the app rose to fourth among all the app’s roster of met­ropolitan clients. By 2016, transactions reached the half-million mark to account for more than $1.2 million of meter-sourced revenue. Previous downtime of the old meters of 20 to 30 percent was reduced to less than 1 percent with the new meters and the introduction of the phone app.
Evidencing the success of its efforts, the authority was named the 2015 Parking Organization of the year by the International Parking and Mobility Institute (IPMI). It was recognized for not only their ability to be financially self-sufficient but for funding other city services and activities. Revenues from the new parking system continued to increase, and in that same year, the authority signed a co-op agreement with the city, giving them more than $28 million each year.

Innovation for the Long-Term
Perhaps the greatest factor of the Pittsburgh Parking Authority’s success is its ability to always be two steps ahead, innovating for the long-term. With the knowl­edge that approximately one-fifth of the city’s metered spaces were in off-street lots, the condition and ap­pearance of those locations were closely monitored, with any necessary repair or improvement funds set aside annually.
During a 14-month period starting mid-2015, the authority began the largest capital repair project in the organization’s 73-year history. Among those restored would be four neighborhood facilities, a project that would add a 25-year lifespan to each structure. Each pub­lic repair would be a major investment, but by the end of 2017, nearly $24 million—all internally funded—would be invested to enhance these valuable parking assets.
“One of the major factors in our ability to self-fund our capital repair and to enter into a co-op agreement with the city was the major overhaul to our meter oper­ation system,” says Onorato. “The drastic meter revenue increase can be directly related to the installation of [the] pay-by-plate system with pay-by-phone technology, along with the introduction of credit cards, three years of minor rate increases, elimination of marked spaces, and the ability to maintain the meters through data.”

The largest repair was done on the popular Third Ave­nue Garage, a facility going on six full decades of continu­ous operation. The project faced the obstacle of long-term heavy repair with the requirement that parking opera­tions be continued throughout construction. Through careful planning by the authority, the project adopted a white noise method of hydro-drilling that wouldn’t hin­der nearby businesses and schools—a sharp contrast to jackhammer drilling. Evidencing the effectiveness of the authority’s proactive approach to capital repair, the Third Avenue project received top honor in the Large Facility Renovation category by IPMI in May 2017.

Maintaining the Standard
By mid-2017, the Pittsburgh Parking Authority had come a long way from where it was five years before. A city that had spent 60+ years using the same main­stream process, had been converted by the authority’s bold moves forward. Steel City was now the City on the Move and became one of the first municipal providers to obtain IPMI recognition as an Accredited Parking Organization (APO), the certification that recognizes best practices in responsible parking management, innovation, customer service, safety, and security.
Onorato views the pursuit of accreditation as having been highly beneficial, both as a management resource and as an aid in sharpening employee awareness to con­tinuously improve all aspects of customer service.

Holding true to APO standards, the authority con­tinues to work with others to enhance economic and quality-of-life values. In the years since initial pay-by-plate installation, Onorato continues to upgrade the city’s mobility structure. Currently, the city has in­creased its multi-space kiosks to 1,040 units, respond­ing to the need for convenience in more locations.

“The purchase of advanced revenue control equip­ment and complementary software support improved operating performance across the board,” says Onorato, “The adoption of [the] pay-by -plate system enhanced virtually all aspects of that function, from customer convenience and revenue generation, to enforcement effectiveness and resolution of ticket violations.”

Today, the City of Pittsburgh is witnessing a de­crease in citations with an increase in revenue, reflect­ing that compliance with pay-by-plate is higher than ever. The authority is happy to report it has surpassed $20 million in revenue, compared to $7 million in 2012. Given the sequential investments in technology, the authority is now among the most technologically advanced operators in its field.

Read the article here.

JULIANNE WILHELM is Marketing manager with Flowbird. She can be reached at julianne.wilhelm@flowbird.group.

Case Study: But I fed the meter!

How one busy municipality solved the challenge of short-term downtown parking without alienating anyone, with great success.

PARKING AVAILABILITY in a vibrant downtown is something most people entirely misunderstand. The general feeling is that there is not enough parking when space is not available right in front of the destination, but the reality in most cases is that there is ample parking, although a person may have to walk a block or two. It is also interesting to note that folks will typically walk farther than this when parking to shop at an indoor shopping mall. It is all in perception.

I have been asked the following questions more than any others when it comes to parking in the central downtown:

  • But my meter has been fed all day—why did I get a ticket?
  • Why can’t my employees or I park in front of my business for the day?
  • Why can’t my tenants keep their vehicles parked in front of their apartments in the downtown?

I want to dive into these questions to clarify why it is important to have parking regulations when the desire is to have a thriving downtown business district. Finding a solution to parking problems is not always an easy task. The pro­cess can sometimes take months and, as you can see in the case of Morgantown, W.V., years of trial and error.

The Beginning

I want to start in November 1996 when I be­gan my career with the Morgantown Parking Authority. At that time parking on High Street, Morgantown’s main street for businesses, was regulated from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays; and Sundays were free. The problem business­es faced at that time was when their shops would open at 10 a.m., there were no parking spaces available on High Street for their cus­tomers—those prime spots were already taken by business owners, employees, and those liv­ing in the downtown.

With the City of Morgantown bordering the West Virginia University campus, we con­tinually face these unique parking challenges. Our journey began to try and find a solution to this problem. We started by meeting with the stakeholders in the downtown to receive input and ideas to try and find the right answers.

In August 1999, the Morgantown Parking Authority partnered with Main Street Morgan­town to hire John D. Edwards, a transportation consultant out of Atlanta, Ga., to begin a parking study in Morgantown. Within that study, it was noted that there were currently time limits in place for short-term as well as long-term parking, but there was no provision in place to enforce the time limits. The study went on to say that as long as an individual continued to feed the meter, the vehicle could essentially stay in the same spot all day.

Edwards’ recommendation was to enforce the posted time limits, but why? Why does it matter who parks where and for how long? Through this study, we, as well as city stake­holders, began to understand how vital short-term parking was to the downtown business district. The study showed how imperative it is to have vehicle turnover to promote successful downtown businesses. Nationwide, parking studies show that 90 percent of people shop­ping, eating, or visiting the downtown stay for less than two hours. If business owners, employees, or people living in the downtown business district leave their vehicles parked long-term in this district on a daily basis, where will potential customers park?

Beginning Enforcement

After multiple meetings and continued complaints of vehicles being parked in prime spaces all day and tak­ing up customer parking, the parking authority started monitoring the number of cars that were parking long-term in these areas. Throughout approximately two months, there were 17 vehicles noted using the short-term parking spaces for long-term parking on a daily basis. This information along with concerns from business owners was brought to the city council, and in November 2007, there was an ordinance amendment that would allow the parking time limits to be enforced. The information regarding the ordinance amendment was distributed through the local newspaper, radio, and television as well as written warnings being issued before this ordinance was enforced.
The penalties for parking long-term in a short-term space were a $5 ticket for being in a space longer than two hours even if the meter had not expired, then a $10 ticket if the vehicle remained in the space for an addi­tional hour, and finally a $25 ticket if the vehicle stayed four or more consecutive hours. Essentially, a vehicle could receive $40 in parking tickets per day even if there was money in the meter for parking long-term in a short-term space.

This process worked for a while but did not wholly deter those that were abusing the short-term spaces, and some drivers eventually figured out that if they moved forward one parking space before their two hours were up, the parking authority would have to re-chalk the tires and start over with the timed parking.

Alternative Ideas

So back to the drawing board to find an alternative solu­tion. With much discussion both internally and again with the downtown stakeholders affected by this issue, it was proposed to the city council to create a downtown parking zone with steeper fines to discourage the abuse:

  • First, the hourly parking rate would increase from 75 cents per hour to $1 per hour.
  • If a vehicle was parked in this zone more than two hours per day, a warning would be issued with in­formation instructing the driver that they could not park in this zone longer than two hours.
  • If the vehicle was seen again on a different day vio­lating this ordinance, a $20 ticket would be issued.
  • If this vehicle continued to park long-term, a $100 ticket would be issued each day for the remainder of the calendar year the vehicle continued to be parked in that zone.

The downtown parking zone was established by city council in July 2016 to reflect the changes. These changes have worked very well—customers can now find parking spaces in the downtown close to where they are shopping, doing business, eating, or visiting.
The one misconception about this ordinance is that if a customer comes to town to shop and later wants to come back for dinner, he or she will be cited for being in the parking zone for more than two hours per day. This is not true. First, a vehicle has to be seen parked for more than two hours in this zone on a regu­lar basis before any action is taken. Then a warning is written with an explanation highlighted in bright pink on the bottom of the warning to inform the person that they cannot be in the zone for more than two hours a day. If the warning is ignored, then we begin to enforce the ordinance. As a side note, although the downtown parking zone was designed to enforce short-term parking regulations, there is sufficient long-term park­ing for business owners, employees, and residents of this zone.


As I write this article, it has been two years since this ordinance has been in place, and out of the 80,000+ tickets that were written during this period, only 12 different vehicles have received the $100 ticket.

Why Does It Matter?

I want to return to the question I asked earlier: Why does it matter who parks where and for how long? Why can’t drivers continue to feed the meter all day? First, I want to state that from the parking authority’s per­spective, it does not matter who parks in these spaces because every quarter is the same as the next. But, from the view of businesses in the downtown, it does matter who parks in these spaces and how many times a day these spaces turn over.

Why do these particular spaces need to be available for customers and patrons of the downtown? A piece written to Uptown Lexington, N.C., businesses from Uptown Lexington, Inc. in December 1998 stated that a recent study had shown that if a customer came to town, stayed 30 minutes and spent $5, then left, and the stores were open 40 hours a week, each space would be worth $17,000 a year in commerce. Most parking studies show that the downtown parking space should turn over between five and 10 times per day to be most beneficial for the businesses.

The downtown parking zone was not put in place to discourage parking in the downtown, but to encourage people to visit the city by opening up the most conve­nient parking spaces closest to their destinations. We are all creatures of habit, and we will circle the block or parking lot more than once trying to find the closest spot possible.

I should also mention that three out of five Mor­gantown Parking Authority Board members own busi­nesses within the parking zone, and although there was some skepticism at the beginning of creating this zone, the owners, as well as their customers, agree that it is working. Those visiting the downtown can now find convenient parking spaces close to their destination.

In our efforts to open up spaces in the downtown parking zone, we also offer other options for those working or living in the downtown. There are dis­counted monthly parking permits for the gated parking garages that are one block from downtown, there are long-term parking lots, and we added a parking app in February 2018 to help make parking more conve­nient. There have been more than 60,000 transac­tions through the app since February. One of the best features of the app is that drivers get a text message 15 minutes before their meter time expires. They can choose to go back to their cars or add time on the app.

In my 20+ years with the Morgantown Parking Au­thority, we have made a point of regularly educating the public as to why we have the regulations that we have in place as well as doing regular reviews to see what is and what is not working. The goal of any successful public parking program should always be focused on the needs of all those involved. I know that it is im­possible to make everyone happy, but at least they will always have a place to park!

Read the article here.

DANA MCKENZIE, CAPP, is executive director of the Morgantown, W.V., Parking Authority. He can be reached at dmckenzie@morgantownwv.gov.


By Dana McKenzie, CAPP


The Parking Professional: MOBILITY & TECH

Using Digital Signage to Optimize Occupancy and Communicate Rates

By Meghan O’Brien

REGARDLESS OF THE TYPE OF FACILITY YOU OWN OR OPERATE, parking rates are deter­mined and approved through private and local regulations. Although it seems like this might inhibit you from capitalizing on varying occupancy volumes at your garage, the opposite is true. By analyz­ing historical data for a parking facility and adopting a yield management approach, you are able to optimize its use and revenue.

Dynamic pricing has experienced growing global popularity in the parking world. One company found success implementing this methodology at a venue in Boston, where parking needs vary drastically de­pending on the type of parker and time of day.
LAZ Parking is one of the largest parking com­panies in the U.S., growing loyalty through a com­mitment to both its clients and employees. But with several options for parking near TD Garden, a multi-purpose arena in Boston, Mass., LAZ looked for a way to stand out among its competitors and attract additional customers, particularly during off-peak hours. While the parking venue did not struggle to at­tract parkers during games or concerts, the company decided on a strategy to conveniently and quickly change rates to increase the parking potential during less popular times without constantly reprinting windmasters and other static signage.

Automation in Play

In the hopes of improving communication with cus­tomers at this particular facility, LAZ was willing to test the benefits of a new technology. It partnered with Infotraffic to provide a solution that allowed changing rates to be programmed and displayed, putting dynamic pricing to work in a way that would be clear to customers.

LAZ programmed various parking rates using the system’s online rate calendar and management platform, which were then displayed at the entrance of the lot on a digital sign. Instead of reprinting and switching out a limited number of windmasters to display rates, the system lets managers automate, program, and display rates in real time, flexing with the market, local events, demand, and other factors. The new system was connected with the existing PARCS for a streamlined experience and also pro­vides a library of customizable digital content for an enhanced customer experience, including advertis­ing, holiday messaging, directional information for drivers, and event announcements.

“I’m very proud of this lot, and we’ve done a lot of improvements to it,” says Todd Gilbert, LAZ Parking manager. “The system is a great tool, and the sign certainly heightens the awareness and gives it some brightness. The team has been great about building rate grids for the sign, and we’ve seen a 4 percent increase in revenue since last year.”
There are great reasons dynamic pricing has tak­en off, particularly in cities and urban environments with varying parking needs depending on time of day, day of week, and what’s going on nearby. This case study illustrates the importance of both considering dynamic pricing and ensuring an effective, well-thought-out system is in place ahead of time to make it work.

Read the article here.

MEGHAN O’BRIEN is business development manager with Infotraffic and a member of IPMI’s Parking Research Committee. She can be reached at mobrien@infotraffic.com
800.241.8662 | info@southlandprinting.com Every Ticket Imaginable