Tag Archives: the parking professional

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!


Parking Paradigm

A new structure connects people and parking in the heart of downtown Berkeley, Calif.19-04 Parking Paradigm article

By Cali Yang

The Center Street Parking Garage in Berkeley, Calif., serves visitors of the bus­tling downtown as well as the Berkeley arts and theater district. The 250,000 square-foot, eight-level garage sits on an existing site previously occupied by a four-story parking structure built in the late 1950s. Easily accessible by mass transit, bicyclists, pedestrians, and drivers, the new $40 million structure provides 720 spaces for cars and 350 spaces for bikes in eight levels. It was constructed for $40 million.

Design and Aesthetics

The garage features an art exhibit space, cafe, bike va­let, public restroom facilities, state-of-the-art security system, and a dynamic parking count system with red and green indicator lights that show available spaces. The public restrooms contain stainless-steel fixtures, tiled floors, and open entrances with graphic display. The garage also houses a bike-share network and in­cludes a BART bike station with a bicycle-equipment repair shop and 55 secured bicycle parking spaces.

Graphic color schemes throughout the facility provide easy visibility for wayfinding to and from the vertical circulation elements and orientation to either end of the building. Vivid red and green signage ele­ments signify the two entrances into the garage and help patrons navigate throughout the structure. Large arrows painted on the floor denote safe pathways for pedestrians. Differently colored wall graphics at every floor indicate the direction to the arts district and Center Street. A state-of-the-art navigation sys­tem helps patrons find available spaces more quickly.

Additional graphic elements, such as recycling sig­nage, oversized restroom signs, electric-vehicle (EV) charging, and tire inflation station spaces, provide easy identification.
The exterior facade consists of folded perforated metal panels, creating a wave-like form on both the Addison Street and Center Street facades. The metal panels are in more than 20 size variations, and each one is numbered and bolted into place in an accordi­on-like fashion. The elevation is capped by a contin­uous metal-panel-clad canopy that protects the stair and visually terminates the facade. A covered canti­levered walkway at the second level is clad in an ac­cent-colored perforated metal that articulates up the exterior on a dramatic twisting staircase. The stair­cases provide an open, safe, and secure way for visitors to access the downtown area. The exterior design is highlighted by accent lighting that is programmable and allows a dynamic variety of colors for visual effect at night. The chic exterior design is an eye-catching sculpture and enhances the vitality of Berkeley.


The City of Berkeley commissioned a compre­hensive multi-project street and open space improvement plan (SOSIP), which is intended to increase pedestrian activity throughout the downtown area. Reducing the number of street parking spaces widens sidewalk space and increases foot traffic. Due to seismic and func­tionality issues, the city decided to build a new replacement garage on the site of the existing 420-space structure, which was constructed in 1958 and closed in 2016. The new garage was created with the SOSIP in mind—bringing to­gether a community vision of an engaging and
vibrant downtown.

The new structure also features ground-level retail space, cafe with open sidewalk, and landscaped path­ways that offer seating areas for patrons. A free public bicycle valet is also available to visitors to the area, which encourages use of alternative transportation. Approximately 10 percent of Berkeley residents com­mute by bicycle, and creating a rider-friendly facility was extremely important to the city. The garage is con­veniently located within half a block of the Downtown Berkeley BART station, so it is easy to drop off a bike and hop on the BART train.

Berkeley Community College is located across the street from the garage and provides a convenient option for students to use the valet and 24-hour bi­cycle facility in the building. On the Center Street side, a coffee shop is located at the ground level with an extra-wide sidewalk for customers to gather and socialize. There is also a landscape parklet area with benches for patrons and pedestrians.

The garage features a flexible lane at each entrance to allow traffic to switch directions based on the time of day and traffic flow to avoid backups caused by events in the theater and arts district. The garage is designed in a double helix configuration to provide maximum park­ing capacity while maintaining a high level of service for roof-level patrons exiting the structure. The double helix ramp allows drivers to circulate two parking lev­els with each 360-degree trip, thus expediting exit and ostensibly converting this eight-level structure into two intertwined four-level structures. Cross-over ramps and extensive dynamic signage are incorporated to pro­vide flexible way finding options for users.

The garage is equipped with a state-of-the-art guid­ance system featuring red and green lights and camer­as monitoring traffic flow at the garage intersections. Wayfinding systems provide interior and exterior parking stall counts of available spaces by level and direction proximity indicators leading patrons toward the open spaces. Other special and unique amenities include a tire-inflation station for cars and bicycles, preferred parking for fuel-efficient vehicles, and a car-share program. Emergency phones are located throughout the building and connect directly to the police department.

Collaboration and Community
The new parking structure supports the economic, insti­tutional, and artistic vitality of Downtown Berkeley. It is centrally located in the heart of downtown with conve­nient access to Berkeley City College and the arts district with theater and music venues. Rates for the new garage are significantly lower than surrounding street parking, which encourages patrons to park in the structure and allows visitors to spend more time in the area.

Providing an increase of 63 percent in parking availability, the new garage has brought new vibrancy to the community and encourages visitors to park and walk to their destinations. The art gallery on the ground floor on the Addison Street frontage features rotating art displays, which are selected and approved by the Berkeley Civic Arts Commission.

International Parking Design worked closely with the city, community members, BART, regional bicycle coalition, and other project team members. Weekly coordination meetings were held during design and construction, when various issues were discussed and resolved. The structure was constructed by local area contractors, resulting in shorter commutes and re­duced environmental effects.


“The new Center Street Garage is an exciting addition to the Downtown Berkeley arts and mixed-use district. As our downtown develops, arts patrons and downtown visitors are welcoming this striking and convenient supply of parking.” —Denise Pinkston, vice chairperson, Zoning Adjustments Board, City of Berkeley.

“Unexpected in more ways than one, Berkeley’s Center Street Garage is the rare example of an unloved building type done in a way that’s a visual treat. If it nudges a few cities or public agencies to demand higher standards from the next round of parking structures, all the better.” John King, urban design critic, San Francisco Chronicle.

“The idea is to make downtown more pedestrian friendly.”
Farid Javandel, transportation manager, City of Berkeley

“We love that the new Center Street Garage has such a striking design! From commuters, merchants, and residents, we’ve been hearing that it is the best-looking building in downtown Berkeley. It’s bright and spacious, built with an open-air concept. The compliments just keep pouring in!”
Danette Perry, CAPP, parking services manager, City of Berkeley.

“The greenest parking garage in California. Downtown Berkeley is moving forward.” Jesse Arreguin, mayor, City of Berkeley.


The garage contains a multitude of sustainable features, including 500 solar panels on the roof, electric-vehicle charging stations, recycled materials, rainwater catchment, and stormwater treatment vege­tation. Rainwater flows through 8,000-gallon cisterns that irrigate landscaping and planters adjacent to the garage. Energy-efficient sensor-controlled lighting, recycling receptacles, water-conserving restroom fixtures, and paints with low volatile organic com­pounds are also incorporated. The garage elevators are equipped with LED lighting and door-drive motors that can enter standby mode when not in use. The garage is expected to receive Parksmart Gold certifi­cation. Natural ventilation, building systems commis­sioning, and an energy-efficient mechanical system with HVAC controls are other sustainable features incorporated throughout the garage. The roof struc­tural system can accommodate the addition of future solar panels over the entire rooftop level, and the con­duits are run to a microgrid distribution network at the ground level for electricity distribution to other essen­tial city facilities in the area.

Read the article here.

CALI YANG is marketing manager with International Parking Design, Inc. She can be reached at cyang@oc.ipd-global.com.


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


Lawrence Burns and the Future of Parking and Mobility

Talk about the future of mobility–specifically, shared, electric, autonomous vehicles–and it won’t be long before somebody brings Lawrence Burns into the conversation. That’s for good reason; before he wrote the bestseller “Autonomy: The Quest to Build the Driverless Car–and How it will Reshape Our World,” he was the expert Waymo (formerly Google’s self-driving car project) and General Motors turned to for guidance. He’s also, among other things, behind much of the AV infrastructure of Babcock Ranch, the world’s first community built for autonomous transportation, and he’s one of the world’s foremost experts on the future of transportation.

So what does Burns think that AV future looks like? He recently talked with The Parking Professional about it:

  • “If Google hadn’t stepped up and said they were going to go for it, I don’t think the auto industry would have done this on its own. They’re just not inclined to disrupt themselves to the extent of taking the driver out of the car.”
  • “What will convince you is when you get your first chance to take a ride in a truly autonomous car. You ride in those cars and you’re blown away by what they can do. Are there things they can’t do still? Yeah. But the things they can do are phenomenal.”
  • “What we see now is a once-in-a-century chance to design a transportation service that gets rid of all those negatives and at lower cost than owning and operating a car, and it’s much safer. People loved horses when Henry Ford came along, and people still love horses. No one is going to say you can’t drive your car.”
  • “The traditional model of parking having to be adjacent to the destination is going to be disrupted considerably.”
  • “Parking is a really important part of this future story. A really important part. People who have a stake in the industry need to anticipate what’s coming. I think there will be some big winners, but I think there will be some big losers too.”

Read the whole interview, including Burns’ thoughts on how cities and organizations should be setting themselves up for AVs, how parking professionals should be rethinking things, and exactly when he thinks everything will change, in the January issue of The Parking Professional.  And then get ready for more–Burns will join parking and mobility professionals from around the world in Anaheim, Calif., next June as the 2019 IPMI Conference & Expo keynote speaker. We can’t wait!

The Parking Professional: The Shuttle Predicament

When a university faced issues with its shuttle system, it turned to students and a mathematical theorem to find solutions that worked.

By George Richardson

ON A CRISP JANUARY MORNING, I was discussing with Roque Perez-Velez, management engineering coordinator at University of Florida (UF) Health, our shuttle predicament: How can we identify and correct the inefficiencies present in our current shuttle system?
UF Health Shands Hospital operates several shuttle routes to serve both patients and employees, offering a single transportation method between several surrounding health care facilities. One of the goals of the system is to have a wait time for any shuttle at any stop of 15 minutes or less. Unfortunately, these complimentary shuttles currently do not meet the target wait time of 15 minutes, leading to frustration for passengers trying to get to their various destinations around the medical campus.

We obviously want to provide the best possible experience to shuttle users. In our conversation, Pe­rez-Valez indicated that there are several methods available to allow us to identify and correct inefficien­cies in the system, by analyzing and changing route structures, stops, paths, and other qualities that are sources of ineffectiveness. Perez-Valez’s background in industrial enginnering, as well as his position as adjunct faculty in the industrial and systems engineer­ing (ISE) department of the University of Florida, has equipped him with the tools and techniques necessary to address this kind of problem.
Perez-Valez suggested an optimization methodolo­gy that aims to get shuttles to be within the 15-minute wait time goal by eliminating bottlenecks in the shuttle routes. These bottlenecks include, but are not limited to, minimizing left turns, avoiding high-traffic areas, and adjusting route stops based on use. These changes require little effort on the part of UF Health Shands administration but can pro­vide tremendous value to passen­gers. Because this is not a simple op­timization modeling methodology, Perez-Valez enlisted Michael Lucic to provide the research capabilities needed to solve this problem. Lucic is a graduating senior under the ISE program.

After careful consideration, Lucic suggested to Perez-Valez modeling the shuttle system with the trav­eling salesman problem (TSP), which determines the shortest path between all stops. The TSP asks, “Given a list of stops and the distances between each pair of stops, what is the shortest possible route that visits each stop and returns to the origin stop?” The TSP is a problem in combinatorial optimization, important in operations research. A sub-field of applied mathemat­ics, operations research is a discipline that deals with the application of advanced analytical methods to help make better decisions.

Under Perez-Valez’s mentoring and supervision, Lucic led a team of students in field observations, data collection, and testing to ensure that proposed route changes were feasible for shuttle drivers to implement.

UF Health Shands operates several complimentary shuttle routes to assist employees and patients in mov­ing around the various hospitals and parking areas in the main medical region at the southeastern section of the UF campus. The red, blue, and purple lines serve UF Health Shands employees while the pink, green, and yellow lines assist patients. In particular, the yellow line patient route serves patients with special requests for additional locations not normally serviced by the shuttle system.

After analyzing the quantitative and qualita­tive data, the team real­ized that there was a need to consider rerouting the pink, blue, and green lines to make significant improvements to the operation of those routes. The team used the TSP and the nearest neighbors heuristic to attempt a quantitative approach at improving the routes. Recall, the solution to TSP is the shortest Hamiltonian cycle or the fastest way to travel between all points in a network where we end up back where we started. On a TSP, the number of steps needed to solve the problem grows astronomically fast as complexity increases.
We needed to use a heuristic algorithm (which finds solutions to problems traditional methods can’t, but uses approximations and may not be 100 percent accurate) to efficiently solve this problem by approx­imating a close-to-optimal result. We optimized the routes by modeling each as a fully connected directed graph (or digraph), where the vertices represented the stops for the route, the directed edges represented the shortest route from one stop to another, and the edges are weighted based on the expected travel time driving between those two stops.

To find a feasible solution, we used the nearest neighbors heu­ristic, which works by selecting a node on the graph and select­ing the next node that directly connected to the previous node with the shortest connecting distance until all nodes have been selected. We used this spe­cific heuristic because the graph is fully connected—each vertex connects to all other vertices directly in both directions, and a fully connected graph has all other vertices as direct neighbors. Because we used a heuristic, optimality is not guaranteed, but the results are a good approximation.

Pink Line Recommendations

  • Perez-Valez observed the current state of the system and used the data to solve route optimization problem.
  • Estimate of updated route cycle time: 24 minutes/cycle
  • Average current route cycle time: 38 minutes/cycle
  • UF Health Shands Hospital operates several shuttle routes to serve both patients and employees, offering a single transportation method between several surrounding health care facilities.

After running these models for 10,000 replica­tions and analyzing the results, we concluded that the green and blue line routes needed no changes, as the best cycles outputted by the model all matched with the current green and blue line setups. In the pink line, there was one significant change—we found that having the shuttles travel from the house to either the veterans’ or cancer hospital is best ac­complished by driving a different route. With these changes, the team was able to accomplish its goal: 15 minutes or less wait times.
Did it work? It did! Using operation research tools, such as the TSP, can solve difficult problems such as our own shuttle predicament.

Read the article here.

Impressive project! To read the student team’s full conclusions and their final report, visit parking.org/resource-center and search for keywords “shuttle predicament.”

GEORGE RICHARDSON is manager, transportation, and parking, with the University of Florida Health Shands Hospital. He can be reached at richge@shands.ufl.edu.


A Smart Approach to Parking Technology Interfaces

By Steven Grant and Michele Krakowskitpp-2016-a-smart-approach-to-parking-technology-interfaces

The parking industry is at a strategic inflection point. We are in the midst of an avalanche of new players and cutting-edge solutions to enhance or replace traditional parking systems. Owners now realize two things: There is a vast number of parking technologies on the market today that can interact with their core parking revenue control systems, and extracted data from these parking technologies provide information about financial performance and customer behavior to dramatically enhance customer services and revenue.

Technology offerings now include mobile and online applications for alternative access and payment methods, discounts and promotions, loyalty programs, space locators, and pricing. Additionally, there are third-party sales channels and demand-based product applications. Lastly, parking access and revenue control systems (PARCS) technologies, such as license plate recognition and guidance systems are also leveraged to create new offerings that increase customer service, data, and security.

All too frequently, new technology is purchased for the wrong reasons—an executive sees a cool demonstration or wants to be the first to implement something perceived as cutting-edge. Without defined goals, the results are disappointing, with low adoption rates and unexpected operating efforts. Four primary goals for implementing new technology should be:

  • Improve the customer experience. Provide more choices, better information, quicker entry and exits, and more
    payment options with intuitive, easy usage.
  • Increase revenue. Provide more products, demand-based pricing, promotions and discounts within and outside of parking, and third-party sales channels for parking and other products and services.
  • Decrease costs. Reduce labor and maintenance and increase security.
  • Obtain data—data analytics, customer campaigns, product performance, competing market data, pre-registered parkers, license plate regions, and passenger counts.

A Roadmap
Every organization should keep a roadmap of the current and future technology it plans to implement. The timing of each rollout and customer campaigns is critical to prevent customer confusion. Think about how many payment options and related readers are now available. An entry station can easily have seven entry options, which is overload to a customer. Clean, smart
solutions pay off.

  • So what are the challenges posed to owners? They depend on several factors:
  • Maturity of the third-party technology.
  • Requirements for the application program interface (API) components that allow interaction with the core PARCS.
  • Total price of the application, required interfaces, transaction fees, other recurring costs, and operating efforts.
  • Stability of the platform.
  • Accuracy of the data being transmitted.
  • Flexibility of reporting.
  • Payment processing and payment card industry (PCI) compliance.
  • Release process and ability to influence future product features.
  • Support and response times during and after installation.
  • Hosting options (local, remote, cloud).
  • Network and communication options.

The market promotes modular, plug-and-play applications with installation timeframes in weeks instead of months. While today’s products bring much greater ease and speed of interfacing, the elements of implementing technology remain. And while swapping out one application for a similar one can be done more quickly now than ever before, it still requires a degree of planning and testing.

The parking industry is seeing increasing demand to interface with the myriad of software solutions now available. As parking customers demand more access to real-time parking data or software that allows them to make parking decisions quickly, owners are also looking to mine data across their parking operations to better understand that information, manipulate it for marketing and customer loyalty purposes, provide an improved parking experience, and increase revenue and margin. However, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to technology selection and implementation.

Steven Grant is owner of Aberdeen Management Group and a member of IPI’s Consultants Committee. He can be reached at steven@aberdeenmg.com.

Michele Krakowski, CPA, is principal of Lumin Advisors. She can be reached at mkrakowski@lumin.us.com.

TPP-2016-04-A Smart Approach to Parking Technology Interfaces