Tag Archives: survey

Defining Our Industry’s Future

By Brett Wood, CAPP, PE

“Research: the distance between an idea and its realization.” -David Sarnoff, founder, Radio Corporation of America (RCA)

I’ve had the good fortune to be involved with IPMI’s Research & Innovation Task Force (formerly the Research Committee) for quite some time now. As a co-chair of that group, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the brightest minds in our industry and help progress some interesting initiatives that attempted to quantify the size of our industry and position our members with critical information around prevailing topics driving the transportation world. These topics have covered everything from sustainability, efficiency, electrification, mobility, and the ever-evolving curb management realm. All of these topics began as questions or ideas that were no more than a seed to cultivate.

More than a decade ago, the industry defined curb management as one of the primary topics we needed to explore further. During that time, we’ve gone from focusing on the parked car to defining how space at the curb needs to intersect with community needs and support more than storing vehicles. And this is apparent as cities have adapted practices to include active space, business supportive measures, and community-centric practices to enrich the lives of everyone who interacts in that realm.

The seed for that research was defined in an IPMI trends survey by our members and has been cultivated by not only the research arm of our industry, but also several other committees whose members aim to help define new information for our members. That’s why we need your help now as IPMI embarks on another trends survey. We are at an interesting crossroads that will be shaped by how resilient and responsive we are the next few years. And defining what we as an industry find valuable for further investigation starts with your input now. We can’t truly recognize our potential unless we plant the seeds now.

Take IPMI’s 2021 Market Trends & Recovery Survey here.

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

IPMI News: Take the 2021 IPMI Market Trends & Recovery Survey

IPMI has released our new 2021 Market Trends & Recovery Survey, and we need your insight!

Members and industry colleagues are invited to submit. Contact information is never required, but if you would like to be entered in our raffles, please be sure to fill this out in full.  All participants who share their contact information will be entered in a raffle for two prizes: an Apple Watch and a Nintendo Switch.

Complete the survey before March 1, 2021! 

IPMI’s Roadmap to Recovery Needs Your Help

By Brett Wood, CAPP, PE

During the last few months, several of IPMI’s volunteer committee members have been working to assemble information about the industry’s response to COVID-19 and the overall path for recovery for parking and mobility organizations. Several pieces of information have been shared and can be found in IPMI’s Roadmap to Recovery publication. There is still much work left to accomplish and we need your help!

If you are in municipal, academic, airport, campus, or private parking operations, we would love to hear from you about the types of challenges you are facing, the impacts to your organization, and any unique opportunities you are leveraging to help serve the community around you. You can help in either (or both) of two ways:

  1. IPMI currently has a survey open that is collecting information to benchmark and share information about the industry’s response to COVID-19. The survey will be open through July 29 and should take less than 10 minutes to complete. You can find the survey here.
  2. In the next few weeks, IPMI and the volunteer committee members will begin to request information about specific case studies related to industry responses through the IPMI Forum. For example, if you’ve implemented curbside access changes to support businesses, we want to hear how, why, and the outcomes.

This information will be used to help our members better understand the opportunities and challenges they could face as we continue the path to recovery. Please feel free to reach out to me at brett@woodsolutionsgroup.com or Rachel Yoka at yoka@parking-mobility.org if you would like to share any additional information to help this critical project.

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

Midwestern Values in Transportation

By Shawn Conrad, CAE

At a recent IPMI-hosted event focused on parking and mobility professionals in the Midwestern region of the U.S., we heard from many business and transportation thought-leaders–experts who know parking management techniques and technologies and current trends.

A presentation from the Verdis Group highlighted consumer research from Omaha, Neb. Many of the questions focused on identifying additional ways to enhance Omaha’s transportation environment while stimulating economic development. Omaha commuters shared their perspectives about how they get to and from work and their preferences regarding several mobility and transportation issues. Omaha’s commuters are interested in active commuting options (walking, bicycling, riding the bus, or carpooling). Many of the survey respondents are seeking alternative transportation opportunities, and transportation leaders say this will continue to increase in the next decade as new forms of mobility come on the market.

The survey concluded with the following key findings for business leaders, politicians, and transportation officials to consider when seeking to revitalize Midwestern urban areas and entice people (millennials) to live and work downtown. The six recommendations are:

  • Employers should create active commuting programs for employees.
  • Increase investment in active transportation infrastructure of all types.
  • Address the parking perception issue, organize the parking system more efficiently, and eliminate parking minimums.
  • Pursue and support transit-oriented development.
  • Improve walkability.
  • Convert one-way streets to two-way streets.

To read more about the survey, go to verdisgroup.com.

Shawn Conrad, CAE, is IPMI’s CEO.

Survey: Love of Cars Possible Roadblock to Mobility-as-a-Service Growth

Hopes for widespread adoption of mobility-as-a-service have grown as car ownership numbers among young adults have dropped. But a new survey says the picture may not be as rosy as once thought. Simply put, many older drivers have no interest in giving up their cars.

Ito World, a British company focusing on transportation data, surveyed nearly 2,000 commuters, asking what would get them out of their cars and into mass transportation or alternate transportation. The most popular answer at 44 percent was, “Nothing.”

Improving public transportation was the answer given by 18 percent of respondents, while better cycling routes, improved shared-mobility options, and environmental concerns each only got 5 percent to say yes.

Read the whole story here.


The Parking Professional: Inside the Minds of Parkers

Research says there’s plenty of parking but drivers disagree. Here’s what a new survey says about that dichotomy.

By Devorah Werner

It’s a balmy Saturday afternoon at the University of Tennessee and the college football 18-09 Inside the mind of Parkersteam is gearing up to play. You can feel the ener­gy in downtown Knoxville as the streets fill up, typically with more than 100,000 visitors eager to watch the game at the stadium or at local bars. A few of the downtown garages fill up quickly, almost within mo­ments. And then, nothing. Several other garages downtown, well situated and with myriad spots available remain virtually empty. And drivers circle and circle, frustrated at not being able to find a spot where they’d like one.

Why do some lots fill up quickly while others remain unnoticed? How much time are people wasting looking for parking? Do people avoid certain areas because they don’t think they’ll find parking? How does that affect local businesses and events? Would better access to parking availability data make a difference in people’s mindsets?
We set out to discover what goes on in the mind of parkers with an omnibus survey of 1,000 randomly selected drivers from across the country.
Here’s what we discovered:

There’s Nothing out There
There seems to be widespread feeling, despite many studies to the contrary, that there simply isn’t any­where to park. More than three quarters (76 percent) of respondents to the survey said they avoid traveling to certain areas because of a perceived lack of parking.
But apparently spots do exist. Studies of the pleth­ora of available parking across the U.S. often lament a world of excess. One study estimated as many as eight parking spots for every car in the U.S., and some cities such as Houston, Texas, are said to have 30 per resident.

Yet people think there isn’t anywhere to park.
Wade Roberts, manager of parking services for the city of Knoxville, provides firsthand evidence of this dichotomy. He manages eight parking garages in down­town Knoxville and says, “People visit downtown and pack into two of our garages. Everyone then becomes frustrated with the perceived lack of available park­ing.” And that’s with six lots sitting empty.

But his anecdotal evidence is even more telling. Roberts lives in the suburbs of Knoxville and says almost everyone he meets tells him they “avoid down­town because they don’t want to deal with parking.”

Knoxville seized the problem by the horns and in­stalled a parking counting system at one of the city’s garages to test what would happen if drivers could see parking availability data clearly displayed. A sign at the entrance of the garage lets drivers know how many spots are available, which is particularly helpful at un­derutilized garages.

The pilot project was deemed a success as drivers learned when it was worth entering the garage and when to search elsewhere. The city is now installing the same system in three more downtown lots, with the goal of countering the fear of downtown parking.
This phobia of downtown parking does more than just frustrate suburbanites. It negatively affects local businesses, city revenues, and growth potential.

Increasing parking availability data has the power to reverse that by bringing people back to downtown areas as they become aware that spots do exist and can be surprisingly easy to find.

The outcome of better parking guidance in down­town areas can be exponential for cities as profits increase for shops and restaurants, more businesses become interested in investing in downtown lo­cations, and increased job availability helps grow local economies.

Wasted Time
Of the 1,000 drivers surveyed, 15 percent attest to spending more than 30 minutes each week looking for parking. That’s a minimum of 26 hours a week of wast­ed productivity per person or an aggregate sum of more than 3,900 wasted hours every single week.
Those hours spent in search of a spot also trans­late into increased emissions and congestion on local roads—a blight on the environment and traffic pat­terns. The experience of wasting time searching for spots also leads to the added cost of the frustration drivers experience and the effect it has on the rest of their day, including their work productivity and inter­personal relationships.

If spots were indeed unavailable, these wasted hours would be a necessary evil. But what about when they are?

While this is likely the case in cities, universities, and shopping centers across the U.S., Baylor University in Waco, Texas, provided some firsthand evidence of how wasted that time really is. The university boasts 11,000 parking spaces across five student garages but was con­stantly fielding complaints of insufficient parking.

How hard can it be to find a spot in a college with 11,000 of them?
Apparently harder than you might think.
For students struggling to get to class on time, driv­ing into a garage, circling each area, and then having to leave the lot without finding a spot is indeed a waste of valuable time. While the administration could clearly document sufficient parking, student experience clear­ly evidenced insufficient parking.

In truth, both experiences were valid. Without parking guidance directing students to where spots were available, the plethora of parking was nearly use­less and, at best, inefficient.

For Baylor, simply installing a parking guidance system helped eliminate a lot of that wasted time. When a lot is full or almost at capacity, students can see that information displayed. The data allows them to make the choice to bypass one lot and move on to another with more available parking.

Matt Penney, director of parking and transportation at Baylor, found that the stress and frustration stem­ming from wasted time was virtually eliminated once the university turned to parking guidance. Not only did complaints stop but, he says, “I started getting texts from students [about the variable message signs dis­playing spot availability] saying things like ‘that sign is awesome’ and ‘that sign is a winner.’”

Baylor students also put their money where their mouths are—while the school initially funded a park­ing counting system at one of the campus garages as a pilot program, the student government used $20,000 in discretionary funds to help fund systems at three more of the university’s garages.

Public Transportation
When thinking about parking, local road congestion and time wasted searching for spots are what usually come to mind. But highway congestion and the colossal waste of time it creates are almost a thing of legend in some areas of the U.S.

The Washington, D.C., region is notorious for its endless commuting time. It consistently ranked as having some of the highest levels of congestion in the country. D.C. drivers spent an average of 63 hours stuck in traffic last year. That’s two and a half days just sitting behind the wheel, waiting to get to work or back home. The obvious solution is increas­ing the use of public transportation.

The Virginia Railway Express (VRE) is a joint project of the D.C. region and the Commonwealth of Virginia, aimed at reducing peak period congestion with commuter trains. When the VRE was first introduced in 1992, it averaged around 3,000 users a day. Two summers ago, the average ridership was more than 20,000 and growing.
That can be interpreted as 20,000 fewer cars on the highways commuting to and from D.C. But where did those 20,000 cars go?

Commuters may celebrate the option to avoid the daily angst of using local highways, but they certainly didn’t want to replace it with the aggravation of trying to find parking to get on the train on time.

In Boston, Mass., for example, weekday mornings see long lines of cars waiting to enter commuter lots. Some wait as long as 20 minutes for a spot. It’s not quite as long as commut­ing would be, but it’s enough to dissuade some drivers.

At the VRE, there was an acknowledgement that they couldn’t increase rail use without considering parking for commuters. Earlier this year, the VRE installed automated parking counting systems that provide real-time data to com­muters to help them assess parking availability. A mobile app provides the same live data so that drivers can check parking lot status before they even leave home. This allows them to better plan their time and avoid the frustration and wasted time of circling for a spot when there aren’t any.

Planning Ahead
People may be apt to complain about lack of parking, about wasting time, about the frustrations of looking for parking. But how likely are they to care enough to do something about it?

Pretty likely, actually.
The survey found that nearly 70 percent of respondents reported they would use an app to find parking information at their destination. People are willing and interested in doing what they can to avoid parking angst as long as cities and parking lot vendors are willing to invest in gathering and displaying that data.

Tracking and displaying real-time parking data does more than just bring passing parkers in. Having that infor­mation available lets parking lots, cities, and universities display parking data on their websites or via apps so that drivers can make better informed decisions about where to look for parking.

At the University of California, Riverside, parking data for each of five lots is displayed on the college’s website. Each lot displays the number of available spots and what the occupancy levels are. For students heading out to class, that data can make the difference between being calm and on time or being harried, stressed, and late.
For the Virginia Railway Express, parking data dis­played on the VRE mobile app and at VRE.org gives pas­sengers a head start on their commutes. With two rail sta­tions commuters can choose from, parking availability data can make a crucial difference in getting to work on time.

In Knoxville, for football fans at the University of Ten­nessee, parking data available via app means they can make more intelligent decisions about where to look for parking instead of all congregating to the same lots.

In a world where 76 percent of people avoid downtown because they think there’s nowhere to park, and people waste countless hours every year in search of parking, pro­viding real-time parking data is of inestimable value. It can improve profitability in downtown areas, help universities and public transportation run more smoothly, and improve a city’s bottom line.

Perhaps most importantly though, access to data on parking availability can make a difference in people’s mindsets about parking and help reduce everyday stress and frustration.

Read the article here.

DEVORAH WERNER is content strategist with Logixits. She can be reached at dwerner@logixits.com.