Tag Archives: TPP-2012-01

Then and Now

TPP-2012-01-Then and Now

By 1962, downtown merchants and officials had reached their limits when it came to parking—or the lack thereof. People couldn’t find places to park their cars in cities and began flocking to the suburbs to do their shopping and business, leaving downtown areas hurting and merchants failing, all because of parking.

That year, a group of professionals adopted a constitution and launched the Institutional and Municipal Parking Congress (IMPC) to try and figure out solutions. Fifty years later, that group has evolved into the International Parking Institute (IPI), which is the largest organization of parking professionals in the world and a key player in transportation. The Parking Professional recently sat down with IMPC founders James Hunnicutt, CAPP, and Robert Bundy, CAPP, to talk about the group’s history, the state of the industry, and where IPI might be 50 years from now.

The Parking Professional: Tell us about your career up to the point that IMPC/IPI was founded.
JIM HUNNICUTT, CAPP: I had a degree in civil engineering and municipal engineering from Auburn University, which used to have a four-year course in those things. I went to work as a traffic engineer for the state of Georgia in Atlanta, and then went off to World War II. After that, I decided to go back to graduate school where I graduated with a master’s degree in traffic and parking from Yale. I’m still one of the few people who has a master’s degree in traffic and parking. I went to Chicago, which had just started a parking department to build 50 lots and garages in the city—the parking problem was really bad there. I started designing parking garages, and then went to the City of Nashville to be its parking department executive director. Six or seven years later, the mayor of Nashville and the president of the National League of Cities (NLC) took me to a meeting to see what it was doing about parking, and I got to know John McGillis, who was the director of parking in Detroit. He and I started trying to put together a parking committee at the NLC. We had meetings where people were standing five and six deep against the walls wanting to learn about what to do about parking—this was 1950 and everything was downtown, and there were no parking spaces. So we got the NLC to develop a policy that said the responsibility of parking fell on the municipalities, but that took some doing because the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and engineering groups were against us. After that, we thought we’d get together and start an association, and a group of us got together and wrote a constitution and bylaws. I presented those at an NLC committee meeting in Norfolk in 1960 and they turned us down. So I re-wrote it and presented it in Nashville in 1962, and they voted to go with it.
ROBERT BUNDY, CAPP: I was fairly young. I spent four years in the Navy during World War II—I was in the Canadian Navy on loan to the British Royal Navy with an aircraft carrier, taking the convoys into northern Russia to supply the Russian Army. Then I was in combined operations in Southeast Asia with the Indian Army, working in Burma and Malaysia. and other similar places. I returned to Toronto at the end of my four years and got a degree in commerce and finance from the University of Toronto, where I’d been at the beginning of the war. I went into real estate after graduation and was a real estate consultant to the City of Toronto. The city decided to create a parking authority, and I took over as the general manager.

TPP: Why was there a need for a group such as IPI?
JH: Colleges and universities didn’t used to have parking problems. Hospitals didn’t have parking problems. But they started to. Everything moved out of the downtowns and into shopping centers. The downtown buildings were old and everybody wanted new and modern stores with good merchandise. Rather than go downtown and fight with parking, they started going to the suburbs, and the downtowns slowly closed. Montgomery County, Md., established the first parking authority in 1947—that’s the first one I’ve been able to find—and other cities started establishing parking authorities to deal with their parking problems.
RB: The downtowns in North American cities had been decimated by the automobile, and it was here to stay. Real estate developers were taking advantage of that by creating shopping malls in suburban areas, and consequently the downtown of just about every municipality in North America was failing. Everybody was hurting. So the NLC parking committee was a stepchild of the organization. Everybody had their own ideas, and we thought it would be a good idea if we all got together specifically for parking instead of all kinds of other rush hour issues. We were concerned with the economic reality of life, and that was the fact that people were using their cars not only to go to work but to shop. We needed an organization to deal with parking and only parking.

TPP: How did people react when they heard about it? Did you face any challenges getting the group up and running?
JH: We got in touch with the parking authorities that were starting to be formed and asked them if they wanted to be involved. Most said yes. If they didn’t have parking authorities they had traffic engineers, and they were probably interested as well so we got in touch with them too. People didn’t know about parking, and in cities they’d get some politician to be parking director, or they’d appoint some college student to the job. They didn’t know diddly about parking and they wanted to join the association so they could learn something. We reached out to the people who had parking issues—racetracks, universities—and we told them we’d try and help them out.
RB: It just seemed like it was the right thing at the right time. People around us almost lined up after awhile to join. What really overwhelmed me was the interest shown by hospitals and universities. I have to admit, that took me by surprise. I didn’t realize they had the parking problems they did. In the post-war period, students at universities had automobiles—from my generation, that was unheard of! We did have challenges., There was a very well-organized effort by private parking interests that were opposed to us. Every time we did something, they were taking us to court. I appeared in court a number of times to justify us. We were encouraging keeping parking prices down to get people to park in the center of the city instead of going out to the malls, and those interests wanted to keep prices as high as they could get them.

TPP: If you had to list IPI’s biggest accomplishments through the years, what would you choose?
JH: We put together an industry. When we had our first conference, we had four exhibitors! Duncan Parking was one, Federal APD was one, and there was a consultant out of Cleveland and someone else. I’ve been to Japan and the Netherlands and Switzerland and all kinds of places where they’ve designed these huge garages. We showed people how to do that and how to adjudicate parking tickets. Parking has grown from nothing to a major industry.
RB: I think it’s the rejuvenation of downtowns, from small towns to huge cities. They all seem to be doing extremely well and I think that’s because the provisions of downtown parking allowed those city centers to reinvent themselves. Any municipality, whether it’s a village, a town, or a city depends on its central core for its economic and cultural viability. We helped achieve that. It didn’t happen overnight, but it happened.

TPP: Did you envision that IPI would grow as it has over 50 years? Did you envision such growth for the parking industry?
JH: Heavens, no. And the automobile as we know it will be around for the foreseeable future. I don’t know of a crazy helicopter that’s going to take the place of the car. It’s going to get bigger and more sophisticated.
RB: It never entered my mind. I thought the industry would grow simply because the automobile industry was growing so much. We went from residential streets where there was maybe one car for every two or three houses, to having two or three cars for every house. It didn’t enter my mind that the organization that is IPI would be so valuable and so active and so vibrant.

TPP: What advice would you give to parking professionals today to ensure their success?
JH: Go to school and get an education. There are plenty of courses you can take to study traffic and parking. Parking is nothing but traffic standing still. Learn to be somewhat successful—learn how things work and get the best education you can. You know, when we started thinking about the Certified Administrator of Public Parking (CAPP) program, we didn’t think it was a good idea. And the more we worked on it, the better the idea became. It’s a great education.
RB: Honesty is the best thing you can have. Don’t try to fool the public. You can only fool them for a short time. Be honest.

TPP: If you could go back and found IPI again, would you do anything differently?
JH: I don’t know what we’d do differently. We were very fortunate when we were getting started to have some of the top people anywhere helping us. Parking was a major problem at the time.
RB: No. I think IPI is a resounding success. I don’t think there’s anything different we could have done to make it better. It’s a successful organization—how could one fault it?

TPP: What do you think IPI will be like by the time it turns 100 years old?
JH: If there’s a need for something, somebody is going to come up with it. One of the big needs we always have in life is to do a better job. We have bad garages and there have been bad decisions made along the way. But we have a desire to do a better job and go out and do this well.
RB: I don’t know—I won’t be here! I wouldn’t have known what it would be like today 50 years ago. We’ve seen the mechanization of parking and taking advantage of the microchip to keep control of spaces and issue tickets. That’s the most important thing that’s happened in parking, I think. And IPI has always had very capable people running it. No organization is worth its salt unless it has good people. IPI has been very fortunate to have good staff people from top to bottom. I can’t take claim for that, but it speaks well for the organization.

The Parking Professional thanks Jim and Robert for participating in this article. If you see them at the 2012 IPI Conference & Expo in Phoenix, Ariz., please take a minute to say thanks for founding and leading IPI!

TPP-2012-01-Then and Now

Recognizing Advances

TPP-2012-01-Recognizing AdvancesBy Joseph Wenzi

At one time or another, we have all used the toll road system. If you live on the east coast, traveling on a toll road may be a daily experience. Residents of the south know that Florida’s toll roads can present a welcome relief from the congestion frequently encountered on the public expressway between the northern reaches of the Palm Beaches down through Miami.

The original tolling system—still in use at many locations today—requires the driver to take a ticket that denotes the location of his initial entry into the tolling system. Those tickets are either handed out by attendants or distributed by devices between toll lanes. Payment is made upon exit, where the amount due is calculated by the total distance travelled.

The tolling industry eventually realized that to increase the potentially enormous throughput and revenue generated by daily drivers, better methods and systems were needed to identify vehicles, enforce toll road use, and manage the money. Solutions to fit these needs evolved into the prevalent technology used today: Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), Automatic Vehicle Identification (AVI), and License Plate Recognition. LPR, RFID, AVI, LPR: all these acronyms sound very familiar, right? Well, they should, because they are the very same technologies used in the parking industry today. It’s common knowledge that parking revenues account for the vast majority of top-line income in many markets, especially airports. Some airports collect more in parking revenue on the land side than all airside airline gate fees combined. AVI and LPR are more prevalent at many airports because of their ability to secure accurate and traceable data, adding a high level of credibility to a vendor’s revenue control solution.

AVI is used to identify a valid vehicle—one that has registered to use the service—and LPR is used to capture a visual authentication of that vehicle. Comparing how parking and toll roads use the same technology will help us understand its underlying value, and may help us solve the age old question debated among scholars and laypersons alike: “Is parking just a slow toll road, or is a toll road just a fast parking lane?”

How it Works
A toll road transaction using AVI and LPR goes something like this: as a vehicle approaches the toll plaza, it passes through a lane equipped with an AVI antenna and LPR camera. The vehicle passes through the toll lane at about 35 miles per hour; it doesn’t stop and the driver does not collect a ticket. Two events occur with the process: the AVI tag of the registered vehicle is read and authenticated by the back office system, and the LPR captures both the license plate number and an image of the rear of the vehicle. If the AVI tag is valid, all is well and the business rules are applied to track the appropriate charges for that patron. If the AVI tag is invalid or the system didn’t detect one, the data is retained with a notation that an invalid event occurred. The way these exceptions are managed varies with each system, but at the end of the day, the expectation is that a toll will be charged to the owner of the vehicle based on the license plate number and registration.

This process is used in both controlled lanes at toll plazas (typically with red and green lights and/or audible feedback from the AVI transponder) and in open-road tolling, where AVI antennas and LPR cameras are mounted on gantries above the lane; this includes areas where High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes are enforced side-by-side with the normal toll lanes. In these situations, the vehicle continues at full toll road speeds, creating the least amount of interruption to the travel experience.

The capability to enforce virtually every vehicle’s usage of the toll road, detect exceptions, create and collect citation payments, and reconcile hundreds of thousands of credit card transactions every month has greatly enhanced the revenue-producing capability of the toll system, not only domestically but on a global basis.

So how does toll road technology link to parking? Excellent question!

Tolls and Parking
Both the tolling and parking industries share common wants and needs:
Ensure correct fee calculation.
Ensure full revenue reconciliation.
Maximize vehicle throughput.
Optimize the patron experience.
Centralize reporting, command, and control.

Large, high volume parking systems such as those at airports may be easiest to compare and contrast with toll roads. While the typical toll fee may be $0.75 to $2.00 per payment event for tens of thousands of payments every day, a parking fee may be $80, $100, $150 or more, and number in the hundreds to thousands per day, which means a lot will likely see a full magnitude less than a toll road’s volume. This transactional imbalance is what allows a toll operator to permit a continuous vehicular flow while absorbing the risk that a few vehicles may not be fully accounted for, while a parking operator is forced to politely detain the patron until their fee has been settled.

That’s the contrast; let’s look at the similarities. At the airport parking facility entrance, the patron’s vehicle is associated with some type of primary ID. This is typically through a ticket dispenser and is not unlike the ticket a toll patron would be required to take should they not have a registered AVI tag. LPR technology adds another ID to the patron’s vehicle by associating the license plate number and vehicle image with the ticket number taken by the patron. This two-step approach creates an entry record that is stored in the back office and compared to the ticket number, license plate number, and vehicle image at exit. All criteria must match or an exception is created.

How can we apply some of the efficiencies gained by the toll road system to the parking industry? How can we keep traffic flowing and patrons happily on their way? One solution that has been applied at several airport parking facilities in close proximity to toll roads has been to integrate the recognition and acceptance of the toll tag into the parking system. With this integrated solution, the patron experience in both areas becomes almost identical. As the vehicle approaches the entry lane, the AVI antenna recognizes the vehicle’s toll tag, reads the tag, and passes the tag data to the parking system’s back office. This data is then passed to the toll road system’s valid tag list, which is typically resident in an LDAP server within the airport or directly within the parking back office system. An approval response is sent back to the lane and if valid, the gate is raised.

While the vehicle cannot maintain toll road speeds through the lane, with properly placed AVI antennas it can maintain a steady speed there. The same holds true at the exit. As the patron traverses the lane, the tag is accepted and the fee is computed and charged against the appropriate toll tag account. Should an exception occur, the barrier gate remains lowered and local business rules are applied to complete the transaction.

What about the patron with no access to a toll road? While a free-flow traffic experience is usually enough to entice a toll road patron to register his vehicle and use an AVI toll tag, one who uses the airport parking facility once or twice a month may be more reluctant to do so. In addition, the patron who has a toll tag may be hesitant to store what might be considered excessive amounts of value on its account to cover parking fees, which are more expensive than most toll road charges. The value proposition needs to be enhanced.

The way some operations are doing this is through a frequent parker or VIP program. These initiatives help draw and retain regular airport parking patrons by providing them with AVI tags that optimize their stay in the parking facility with several value added features, including:
Pre-pay or space reservation.
More favorable parking areas.
Easy free-flow entry and exit.
Points and rewards.
Additional services (car wash, detailing, fuel fill-up, etc.).

Other technologies are quickly being embraced and leading-edge payment methods are already surfacing at major trade shows. While the parking lane and open road tolling will always have their differences due to the sheer practicality of how they are used, evolving technologies will continue to be applied to both industries on a continuous basis. Someday in the future, there no longer will be toll road patrons and parking patrons, but just customers who use the services of both industries transparently and efficiently.

Joseph Wenzi is director of engineering with Federal APD. He can be reached at jwenzi@federalapd.com or 248.374.9600.

TPP-2012-01-Recognizing Advances

Parking Professionals Predict the Future in 50 Years

TPP-2012-01-Parking Professionals Predict the Future in 50 Years

If you were cool 50 years ago, you likely pined after Motor Trend magazine’s car of the year—a shiny Buick Special with a newfangled V6 engine they declared almost indistinguishable from everybody else’s V8. Your jaw hit the floor when grainy video of Marilyn Monroe crooning “Happy Birthday” to President John Kennedy hit the airwaves (and again when she died of a drug overdose later that year), and you mourned the loss of Cuban cigars when trade between that country and the U.S. was banned. Arkansas residents shopped in the first Wal-Mart store, John Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize for literature, and Pope John XXIII was Time magazine’s Man of the Year (which was still officially called “man” of the year).

1962 was the year John Glenn orbited earth a stunning three times, only to be bested by a U.S.S.R. crew several months later. The Vietnam conflict was starting to rumble through Asia, and the U.K.’s Sunday Times became the world’s first newspaper to print a color supplement. Twelve East Germans escaped their country by tunneling under the Berlin Wall, a new band called the Rolling Stones debuted at London’s Marquee Club, and another upstart group released their first single under the moniker of The Beatles. Finally, it was the year that a group of parking professionals officially established themselves as the Institutional and Municipal Parking Congress.

How times change.
Wondering what the future will be like is something people have done forever, and IPI members are no different. As IPI celebrates its 50th anniversary, we asked a few what they thought the parking profession might be like in another five decades, and we heard an earful! Their answers—some serious and some not so much—are presented here.

TPP-2012-01-Parking Professionals Predict the Future in 50 Years


TPP-2012-01-MythbustersBy Kim Fernandez

What do you do if you’re in an historic district that’s popular for its shopping, dining, offices, and waterfront scenery, but people say has a lack of parking? If you’re Alexandria, Va., you get to work differentiating perception from reality and finding solutions.
“The city has, for a long time, had a lot of questions and concerns about how to best utilize the parking we have, which we see as an asset,” says Richard Baier, director of Transportation and Environmental Services (T&ES), City of Alexandria. One of those was how to dispel a feeling among visitors that Old Town in particular—an historic village of cobblestone streets, old homes, and renowned shopping and dining along the city’s waterfront—didn’t have enough parking to support both residents and tourists. People complained they couldn’t park near their destinations, which wasn’t doing local businesses any favors. Rather than quickly deciding to adjust parking numbers, however, the city commissioned a parking study to find out what was really going on.
“We needed to examine, based on input from our businesses within the Chamber of Commerce, staff, and residents, the best way to manage this parking,” says Baier. And so a study was launched to find out where parking was, why there was a perceived lack of it, and what could be done about it.
The Study
The City of Alexandria commissioned consultants Kimley-Horn to study parking in Old Town, Alexandria over the winter of 2009/2010. The firm studied about 85 blocks in the area, finding more than 8,000 public parking spaces; 53 percent of those were on-street, garages accounted for 42 percent, and surface lots held the last five percent. Private spaces were not included, but the city’s data indicates there were an additional 1,700 of those spots in the area.
After counting the total number of spaces available in the area, the consultants conducted accumulation counts over six distinct time periods to determine when spaces were being used where; these ranged from workday hours to both daytime and nighttime weekend periods, to track what happened when office workers went home and social visitors took their places.
After that, calculations were performed to determine how many spaces were available during specific times.
The conclusion? The report said, “The evaluation of parking data revealed that the Old Town area does not have an overall supply problem; it has proximity, rate, and facility availability problems.” The report broke those challenges down by time of day and block-wide areas that saw the most demand.
“During peak periods, on-street parking and some publicly accessible off-street facilities were effectively full,” said the report, going on to point out that there was parking available outside of the immediate tourist area during all of those times.
“For us, the way they broke it down was very helpful in following through on general recommendations,” says Baier. “What they said was that we have to prioritize, in this economic time, where we’re going to put our resources. The data led us to understand that it’s not a question of having enough spaces, but that maybe there aren’t enough on certain blocks. We need to better manage those spaces on the street and better direct people to garages and work with our private garages to encourage them to stay open later.
Following Up
Once the study was done, city staff worked with members of the city’s parking task force, which included business owners, local officials, and transportation officials, to see how they could best follow its recommendations, which included, among other things, installing multi-space meters with several payment options in high demand blocks; reviewing and adjusting parking rates to increase turnover and discourage long-term parking in prime spots by area workers; decreasing parking times in areas needing more space turnover; decreasing the parking duration time allowed in residential areas to encourage alternate transportation use or use of other garages; and extending on-street meter hours into the evenings.
“We set up a parking workgroup that included the businesses, retail, office users, hotel representatives, the chamber, and resident groups,” says Baier. “And then, we went through and prioritized the issues in the parking report.”
Among those priorities was implementing the recommendations for multi-space meters that accepted coins, bills, and credit cards. Then, they started considering on-street parking rates.
“On-street spaces were much cheaper than off-street garage parking,” says Baier. “We wanted on-street spaces to be premium, and they had to be at or above the rates for off-street garage space.”
That led to some potentially sticky conversations, he says. “This study gave us the ability to, in a collegial way, talk about raising rates. People want to know why you raise rates when you do that. We worked with the community to accomplish that goal.” That included holding off on changing rates on the first day that was chosen, to install new equipment and ensure that customers had the option to pay with credit cards. They also wanted to be sure business owners understood why rates would change, so they could get behind the move.
“We wanted them to see that we’d capture that one hour stay on King Street [the main retail/dining strip through town],” he says. “We wanted those spaces to turn over. We didn’t want people parking there for three or four hours, and with that, the likelihood that there would be a space available on every block would rise.”
Another big change was adding signage directing people from the area’s main traffic arteries to public garages, which hadn’t always been well-marked. This posed its own challenges, as no one wanted signage to mar the area’s quaint, historic look and feel.
“We took this to the board of architectural review even though they don’t have jurisdiction on these signs,” says Baier. “We wanted to get their input on how those signs would look.” Everyone agreed that lighted signs were needed, and they were installed throughout town with architectural detail around them.
“They’re a matte finish instead of glossy,” he explains. “They have a dark finish instead of a brightly colored frame. The supports themselves are mast arms that resemble those of our street signs and gas lamp posts. All of those features also have a dark, matte finish.”
While no post-study has been done to date, Baier says he’s hopeful that the changes will make a big difference in the area.
“The study showed that the garages were largely under-used by 10 to 40 percent,” he says. “At the same time, on-street parking was totally utilized. That fully supported the finding that people couldn’t find or weren’t aware of the public parking garages.”
Community Involvement
Critical to the success of the parking changes made in Alexandria was community buy-in, but even that wasn’t as simple as it might seem.
“It’s difficult when you’re talking about policy change to have people turn out to engage in the discussion,” says Baier. “The reason is that a lot of our businesses are small. They’re sole proprietorships. The managers and owners can’t get away to attend meetings without closing their businesses. We tried in a variety of ways to get the word out, and the reaction we’ve had has largely been, ‘We’re willing to accept the increase in rates if it translates to a greater accommodation to a broad spectrum of customers.’ If people don’t have to walk around with a change purse, that’s a big improvement, and the increased rates are paying for the 125 multi-space meters that were purchased and installed by the city to provide that accommodation.”
Baier says responding to the parking study will be a multi-year effort. In 2012, he hopes to settle remaining questions about disabled users of meters (Alexandria allows four hours of free parking for those with handicapped permits), and pushing additional parkers away from some side streets that are still seeing too much long-term use, leaving little space for short-term visitors in peak periods.
“The other big issue for us in 2012 is working with garages to extend their ability to be open later to accommodate our evening visitors,” he says. “They have liability concerns with that, and those are a longer-term concern for us as well.” Further down the road will come improving alternative transportation options, particularly when it comes to getting people from the area’s Metro rail station a few miles down the street to the harbor area.
Baier says the study has absolutely been worth the effort, and has provided a clear road map to moving away from the “not enough parking” myth and into a reality where spaces are available in all areas during all times of the day and night. ”The most important thing to us was defining a scope of work that would reflect the needs of the community,” he says. “That includes our visitors, our businesses, and our residents.”

Kim Fernandez is editor of The Parking Professional. She can be reavched at fernandez@parking.org or 540.371.7535


Founding of IPI

TPP-2012-01-Founding of IPIBy James A. Hunnicutt, CAPP

The International Parking Institute is 50 years old and few members are aware of how it started, who the players were, and what motivated them in the early days. This article is intended to provide readers with an understanding of the founding of IPI (formerly known as IMPC – Institutional and Municipal Parking Congress).
During the 1930s, the Great Depression drastically slowed automobile production as well as garage construction. During World War II, no cars were made, automobile tires were unobtainable, and the average motorist received ration stamps good for fewer than four gallons of gasoline per week. To make a trip, it was necessary to go to the Ration Board and explain why you were going. Maybe they would give you the extra gasoline ration stamps, and maybe not.

After World War II, most returning servicemen had an automobile at the top of their shopping lists. Assembly lines that had been turning out tanks, airplanes, and trucks switched over to automobiles and were rolling them out 24 hours a day. It was common to wait as long as six months for a new car. Servicemen and war workers had saved their money, and there was plenty available to buy new cars. With the ready availability of automobiles, people could move beyond the streetcar lines and into subdivision houses.

Most industry was still located in or near downtowns, along with virtually all offices, shopping, entertainment, banking, government, and business. Downtown was where the action was. Suburban shopping centers, urban sprawl, expressways, outlying business areas, and offices were not to come until the 50s and 60s.

It wasn’t long before many downtowns were beginning to feel the crunch of automobiles pouring in from the suburbs and everyone seemed to be looking for a place to park. Curb spaces and a few off-street lots filled quickly and the demand for parking spaces began to skyrocket.
Complaints were beginning to be heard from motorists with no place to park, merchants whose customers had no place to park, and business people whose customers and clients could not come downtown because of the lack of parking. A chorus of cries for parking began to be raised with most noise coming from a number of major northern cities, including Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, and Pittsburgh.

Elected officials were hearing most of the complaints from business leaders as well as motorists about the lack of parking in business areas. A number of cities and government agencies began to look at ways they could go about providing parking. There were a variety of approaches; some of these include the establishment of parking authorities, parking commissions, city parking agencies, and revenue authorities. Assorted citizen groups and business leaders worked to find some way to solve the parking problem. The next step was getting some type of legislation passed to help them do the job. This usually included the enactment of state legislation with some method of floating bonds, the legal establishment of a parking agency, and providing staff to do the work.

It became evident that virtually no one knew how to go about this—no trained officials, no parking engineers, no administrators. Some of the early challenges had to do with terminology. Terms used today, such as “parking demand,” “parking characteristics,” “duration,” and “trip purpose,” were virtually unknown in the field. At workshops in the very early days, most of the discussions centered around such things as managing street parking and debates about the relative merits of angle versus parallel parking.

It was difficult to figure out how many parking spaces were needed, since parking studies and their techniques were also unknown. Procedures for land acquisition, floating of bond issues (also new), and the basic design of the garage and its operation caused all types of mayhem. Inexperienced architects designed many lemons that were practically impossible to enter and exit, and were often half self-park and half attendant-park, making them difficult to operate.

Not everyone was in favor of municipal parking. The private parking industry was just getting organized and was strongly opposed to any type of government intrusion into private business. Many private operators said that providing parking facilities was their business and that government should not become involved. They fought at every available council and legislative meeting to prevent the establishment and operation of parking authorities and commissions.

The Detroit Municipal Parking Authority was established in 1948 and John D. McGillis was appointed its first director (and entire staff). McGillis had been a public relations man and newspaper writer and was very familiar with city government. He was at a loss as to how to go about solving the worsening parking problems. The parking authority was involved in numerous lawsuits, public and private meetings, and debates over what to do with parking in Detroit.

In 1953, McGillis went to his mayor and city council and received their concurrence to visit the American Municipal Association (AMA) headquarters in Chicago and ask for their help. The AMA, which later changed its name to the National League of Cities (NLC), was most interested in solving municipal problems. That summer, McGillis met with the organization’s Executive Director, Carl Chatters, who was quite receptive and proved to be an effective ally. He offered the limited resources of his office and put together material with McGillis for the association’s President, Mayor William H. Kemp of Kansas City. The recommendation was that the AMA form a committee on parking. It consisted primarily of mayors, elected city officials, town engineers, and city traffic engineers.

The committee went to work trying to develop a policy involving parking. This new policy took the form of a statement that parking was the responsibility of the municipality, which should take every step to deal with the issue through systematic study, acquisition, and construction, along with operation and management. The policy report was reviewed by the complete committee, which recommended that it be forwarded to the AMA’s general membership for approval. The report suggested that the parking committee conduct research, analyze the cost of off-street parking, and make a study of municipalities. Each member of the committee agreed to compile the parking experiences of several municipalities in his section of the country.

A number of organizational meetings took place. By now parking had become a hot topic at the AMA Annual Congress. Speakers at these meetings included city traffic engineers and transit officials. Even with two concurrent parking sessions at the AMA Annual Congress, the attendance was so large that people were standing against the walls. At the next committee meeting, it was agreed that a workshop should be held the following year and that several days would be devoted to the discussion of parking. This idea, brought forth by McGillis, was uniformly applauded.

From then on, things moved fast. A program was prepared and invitations sent out. The event was called the First International Workshop Meeting, was held at the Veterans Memorial Building in Detroit, and was cosponsored by the Detroit Parking Authority on October 22 and 23, 1956. A number of parking authorities sent their executive directors, parking commissioners, and authority members as well as elected and appointed public officials. The meeting lasted for two days and broke into a number of panel discussions, seminars, and roundtable discussions. The subjects would be quite elementary to today’s well-informed parking professionals.

By 1960, at the annual AMA Congress meeting in New York, McGillis called a separate dinner meeting of a number of active members. He and the others determined that interest in a separate organization was growing and the time had arrived to consider breaking off from the AMA. The sponsorship and good reception that had always been given by the AMA was well noted, but we all felt that the time had come to establish our own organization.

The decision to proceed was made informally; therefore, there were no formal minutes or resolutions that determined that IMPC should be established.

Later that year, Chairman McGillis appointed a three-man committee to draft a proposed constitution and bylaws for a new parking association. The chairman appointed Vining Fisher, director of the San Francisco Parking Authority, Robert G. Bundy, general manager of the Toronto Parking Authority, and me.

Considerable discussion took place over how the association should be established. We decided to set up an organization along the lines of the AMA. Under this relationship, the organization would be the member and appoint a delegate to serve as its representative in association affairs. Other classes of membership were set up to take in others within the field. These were worked out in detail and put into formal language of the constitution and bylaws. They were completed shortly before the 1961 workshop meeting held in Norfolk, Va.

At that meeting, I presented the constitution and bylaws to the delegates and answered questions. Many suggestions and recommendations were received from the floor. The committee went back to work with plans to propose a new draft to the membership in the next meeting, in Nashville, Tenn., in May 1962.

The Annual Business Meeting was held at the morning session on May 16, 1962 at which time all the delegate members in attendance approved the constitution and bylaws, formally establishing IMPC. The organization was officially called the Institutional and Municipal Parking Congress.

IMPC Evolves Into IPI
In 1995, as parking took on a more significant role and organizations realized the impact of parking in their operations, the association’s name was updated to the International Parking Institute (IPI). The name change reflected a new scope and direction for the association as well as the formation of a network to connect parking professionals from around the world. The number of members has grown, but the purpose of IPI remains much the same as it was when it was first founded: to provide leadership, information, education, and networking opportunities to all members of the parking industry.

Throughout the history of the Committee on Parking of the AMA and the actual founding of the IMPC, a number of people helped and contributed their time, their efforts, and their knowledge to establish what was IMPC and now known as IPI.

By the time it became apparent that IMPC was a necessary organization, a number of professionals had come forward and were taking an active role in establishment of the Congress. These people should be called “founders.” They worked tirelessly, gave their time, and, in many cases, their own money to attend meetings and organize sessions.

The founders of IMPC are: John D. McGillis, Robert G. Bundy, CAPP, Robert J. Kelly, James A. Hunnicutt, CAPP, Louis P. Farina, Merritt A. Neale, Edward A. Jochumsen, Fenton G. Jordan, Walter King, Thomas J. Coyle, H. H. Dees and Arthur Lomax.

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Ergonomics is for Everyone

TPP-2012-01-Ergonomics is for EveryoneBy Julius E. Rhodes

The topic for this column is ergonomics. Some of you may be saying, “What is a guy who is versed in human resources doing talking about ergonomics? Isn’t ergonomics more the province of safety, operations, or even production?”

Ergonomics is not and should not be relegated to one specific area, as it affects a number of issues around our team members, from how they relate to each other to how they perform their duties with our guests. Ergonomics is something that we should all be concerned about for the many significant contributions it makes in our daily lives.
Ergonomics is the study of how a workplace and the equipment used there can best be designed for comfort, efficiency, safety, and productivity. One aspect of work life that I constantly examine is how we design processes to ensure that our team members feel as comfortable as they can in their environments. If they feel comfortable, their satisfaction and engagement increase and, in turn, they can do a better job meeting and exceeding the needs of our guests. Our ability to become more efficient is enhanced and that can have a positive impact on our safety and productivity.

Employing a sound ergonomics strategy at work does not mean you have to break the bank. However, it does mean that you have to make an investment in your people.
The first place to start is with your team and by doing a basic assessment of how they stack up, literally. This means you need to look at the following for each member of your team: body size and shape, fitness and strength, posture, and sensory acuity, especially sight, hearing, and touch. You will also need to look at the stresses and strains on muscles, joints, and nerves. Talk to your people about what they see and experience in their roles at work and how the environment meshes with them in executing their duties.
In environments such as parking, the opportunity for repetitive motion trauma is high because of the extensive use of small spaces such as cashier’s booths, cramped offices, and transportation shuttles. This cursory inspection will allow you make some very sound decisions on how to design and/or structure your equipment to maximize the comfort of your employees.

Many organizations use a one-size-fits-all approach to the physical needs of their people. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen chairs with no height adjustments or chairs that have fixed arms, which serve as restrictive devices that limit entrance and exit for individuals who may be larger than the width of the fixed arms. Additionally, I have seen garden-variety rugs used as anti-fatigue mats and anti-fatigue mats that have been used for so long they are nothing more than a suggestion of what they used to be.

When examining the fit that is required between an individual and his or her job, it is essential to look at the demands placed upon the worker. You also need to consider what equipment is used and its size, shape, and how appropriate it is for the task. Other areas that need to be considered include the temperature, humidity, lighting, noise, and related issues. Finally, pay attention to the social environment, which includes member relations and management support.

In the end, an appropriate focus on and investment in ergonomics can reduce or mitigate the potential for accidents, injuries, and ill health while improving performance, safety, and productivity.

JULIUS E. RHODES, SPHR, is the founder and principal of the mpr group. He can be reached at jrhodes@mprgroup.info or 773.548.8037

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Airport Parking Takes Off

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By Todd Pierce

We don’t go to an airport to park. We go to fly! So parking need not be the adventure. The anxiety of arriving to the airport on time to catch our flight is often heightened as we approach the airport and begin thinking about parking. Do I attempt to park in the long-term lot and hope the shuttle will get me to the terminal in time? Do I chance finding a parking spot in the garage?

Parking is plentiful within the three-level parking garage at the Vancouver International Airport (YVR) in British Columbia, but merely deciphering which area to park within it created several wayfinding challenges. One challenge was “communications clutter.” In Canada, it is required that all government facilities display messages in both English and French. And with large populations living in the Vancouver metro area who speak languages other than English and/or French, the challenge of clearly communicating messages is greatly enhanced. Another significant wayfinding challenge common to all airport parking facilities is parkers trying to remember where they parked their cars upon returning from their trips.

I’m catching a flight to Calgary. Where do I park within the garage?
There are two terminals at YVR—the Domestic Terminal (Canada flights) and the International Terminal (U.S. & international flights)—and the first priority when entering the parking garage is finding a parking spot nearest the entrance to your desired terminal. Sounds simple enough, but navigating the interior of a parking garage while staying oriented can prove challenging. The new signage is designed to visually simplify this basic wayfinding requirement. Vehicular directional signage is presented on a black background with white typography and pictograms, while specific directional information pertaining to Canada flights is featured on a red field and that pertaining to U.S. & international flights is on a bright blue field. This establishes a simple system of following the red or blue breadcrumbs. And at every point of decision, be it by car or navigation on foot, a red or blue sign points the way to the respective terminal. Creating hierarchies of information adds clarity and reduces confusion. Once the parker begins to follow the red signage to Canada flights, for example, he no longer must attempt to read each and every sign installed within the garage.

Clarity of messaging can make wayfinding easy!
A clear and orderly presentation of information on a sign will aid the understanding of it, even when signs must display multiple languages. A judicious use of pictograms or symbols can cross language barriers and make signage understood by all, quickly and effectively.

Color can enhance the overall garage environment
Designers have used color-coding to assist in identifying parking deck levels for years. But a bold use of color can enhance the overall environment as well. A clean and crisp parking garage, with bright colors, white ceilings and proper light levels will reduce anxiety and aid in boosting the overall parking experience. Planning for color (paint) at YVR strategically utilizes overhead beams and key columns, ensuring that all patrons, once parked and now pedestrians, pass by and under brightly painted surfaces on Level P1 (green: to represent “Land”), Level P2 (blue: to represent “Sea”), and Level P3/Roof (sky blue: to represent “Sky”). Each color coincides with YVR’s motto, “Land, Sea & Sky.”

A picture is worth a thousand words
British Columbia is known for its beautiful forests, shores, and mountains, so a local photographer was engaged to provide equally beautiful photos to represent each. These images are mounted to interchangeable panels that enable YVR’s parking division to rotate images that display winter or summer scenes, depending upon the time of year – all in careful orchestration with the Land, Sea & Sky theme on the parking levels. As the parking patron exits the garage, he passes key columns that are mounted with plastic holders. These are filled with bookmarks that have been printed with the color of the given parking level on one side, and a reduced image of the photo murals on display within the garage on the flip side, complete with a description of exactly where the photo was taken by our photographer.

First Class Parking at YVR
The simplicity and clarity of wayfinding signs, bold use of color and themed graphics enabled YVR’s parking operations to introduce a new Business Class parking program. Patrons can phone ahead of their trip and reserve premium parking stalls—clearly marked by new signs, of course.

The overall improvements made within the YVR parking garage are a striking example of a carefully planned graphics and signage program that resulted in first class parking.

Todd Pierce is president of PICTOFORM Communications. He can be reached by visiting www.calltodd.tel.

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