Tag Archives: TPP-2012-12-


TPP-2012-12-ParkapaloozaBy Debbie Hoffmann

What is the key to successfully managing large events on a college campus? Planning, planning, and planning. Texas A&M University was rated in the 2011 preseason edition of Sports Illustrated as the top college football game day environment, with Fox Sports chiming in by listing the school’s Kyle Field as one of the nation’s 10 best college football stadiums.

College parking operators truly have the ability to affect the mark left on event attendees. Texas A&M hosted a home football game day with more than 22,000 cars and 10,000 bus passengers and created a rule book anyone can follow to help avoid pitfalls and the consequences and fallout that follow them.

Critical components for successful event management include:
Planning and cooperation.
Maximizing available resources.
Employing pricing strategies to manage demand and offset costs.
Ensuring a safe venue by coordinating traffic flow, enforcement, and pedestrian and vehicular movement.

Before getting into the details of these concepts, it is important to recognize that each campus is unique in space, venues, cooperation, and access. What works at one university may need to be modified to be successful at another.

Let’s talk events. Parking operations on campuses own varying degrees of event management. Often there are other departments that are the true hosts, such as athletics on game days. Working with the staff from the host department to ensure a coordinated effort, comprehensive plan, open communication, and cooperation is essential to success. On event days, we share the same customer and the same goals as the host: a safe and fun event where pitfalls are avoided.

Regardless of the size of the event, the first step is to get all the players around the table to develop the plan, get input, and assign duties. A comprehensive plan considers all customer groups and all aspects of getting them to the event, through the event, and away from campus when it’s over.

Planning and Cooperation
There is always more than one customer group whose needs should be considered when planning an event. Certainly there are the people coming to participate in the event, but even within this group, there are diverse needs such as VIPs, disabled guests, and those arriving by a means other than a personal vehicle, such as by bus, bike, taxi, or on foot. Another group includes the employees working the event who have a variety of duties that likely will require them to arrive early and leave late. This group includes those managing the event, custodians maintaining the facilities and grounds, food service workers providing catering or other dining services, traffic directors, parking lot attendants, security, and the stars of the show, including athletes, performers, speakers, or dignitaries. The best way to ensure that each group’s needs are met is to ask for cooperation from them.

Finally, there are other people with no affiliation to the event who will need access to campus (some people may be studying or conducting research) and those who may be displaced to make room for those coming to the event. Remember to communicate street and parking lot closures to the campus community and explain alternate routes and parking locations available to them.

Communication about an event should be multifaceted and targeted to help ensure that the correct messages reach the appropriate groups. Emails, websites, maps, signage, radio, paid advertisements, public service announcements, and social media are all tools to help get the word out about multiple aspects of the event plan. The communication should include options for getting to campus on the day of the event, and we must not forget to tell customers what to expect during and after the event. It is our role to help get them away from campus safely and efficiently by creating, managing, and communicating traffic, transit, and pedestrian plans.

Once the plans are set, consider developing an operations manual that can be given to each member of your team who will be working the event and to appropriate administrators who will quizzed about the event or whose buy-in you need for the event plan. The manual might contain: Operational expectations and requirements. Frequently asked questions about the operational plan or by customers.
Maps of the event area that include parking, toilet locations, accessible routes, pedestrian access, VIP access, first aid, concessions, lost and found, and bus access. Set-up instructions for workers. Pictures of the types of credentials workers may see and the access they convey. Miscellaneous information, such as a VIP list with pictures and rules related to the event, including when the doors open and what items are permitted to be taken into the venue.

There are other groups who should not be forgotten during the communication phase, including the marketing team, the customer service unit(s) who will be answering questions from customers, and local radio and television stations. All workers who needed the internal operation plan also need to be coached about how to communicate to guests coming to the event.

Maximizing Available Resources
It is not unusual for the components of event management to quickly become overwhelming. We must work together with other appropriate units on campus and in the community to maximize resources and call in reinforcements when necessary. Transportation-related resources to consider when managing large on-campus events include staffing, equipment, parking, and transit.

Every event must be staffed with an adequate number of transportation administrators to oversee the operation. People with experience and knowledge are able to spot anomalies or backlogs and proactively address and stave them. Run the operation using both budgeted and student employees who are properly coached and trained about the event details. Their experience with parking and transit operations plus their familiarity with the campus layout will serve you well. If additional staff is needed, consider temporary staff or contracted event staff to assist in areas where oversight is necessary, but familiarity with the entire event plan is not as critical. Finally, decision-making members from each of the critical departments involved in hosting the event should come together to oversee the operation from a command center where significant issues can be addressed and quickly resolved, and where information can be disseminated to front line staff.

Equipment does the talking without the need for continuous staff oversight. Barricades, signs, ropes, and cones direct customers without using staff resources during the peak time of the event. If needed, rent additional equipment or consider contracting a traffic maintenance company to supply and install traffic management devices, which serve several purposes:
Get people to desired or authorized locations.
Help guests recognize the route back to their bus stop or space where they parked.
Keep customers away from unauthorized areas.
Get traffic flowing in the desired direction and to desired destinations.
Convey rules or regulations.
Communicate when an area is sold out and provide the location of the next available area.

Other items that fall into the equipment category include shirts or uniforms, reflective vests, food and drinks, umbrellas, sunscreen, tents, radios, night lights, golf carts, porta-potties, and dump stations or trucks if there will be a recreational vehicle component to your event.

When planning transit service, consider getting people both to and from the event. Anticipate pre- and post-event traffic congestion, and plan routes away from those areas. The hours of operation and park-and-ride options should be tailored to manage both parking and traffic demand. Extending bus service hours to transport employees to and from the venue may be a worthwhile trade-off if getting their vehicles offsite will help ensure adequate parking for those attending the event. Rarely do facilities have enough accessible parking to meet the demand of large-scale events. Consider creating a disabled parking area away from the event, complete with shuttle service. This will aid guests with mobility impairments by shortening the distances they must walk.

Using Pricing Strategies
Pricing strategies can be used to manage traffic and parking demand while offsetting costs. Season passes for sporting or theater events can be presold to limit the amount of money being handled on the day of the event, and those who don’t show up should help you gain 10 to 16 percent in additional revenue when you re-sell the unused spaces to pay-on-arrival guests. Providing reserved VIP and donor parking areas may be desirable to the event host and can be done for a premium price. Parking for tailgating, vehicles with trailers, RVs, and party buses is particularly popular during sporting events. Planning for, establishing, and marketing specialty areas can help meet the expectations of guests coming to the event, keep these unique vehicles out of other parking areas, and command a higher price-per-space to add to your revenue.

Prepaid and pay-on-arrival parking facilities should be priced by proximity to the event venue; pricing and rules can help push customers to the desired choice to manage traffic and parking demand. Online, prepaid season parking can be offered for a small discount and requires your staff to handle only one payment. Prepaid parking for an individual event can be offered at the same price as pay-on-arrival, but guarantees a space. Because payment is made online, it is more convenient for the customer and means less cash handling for your team on the day of the event.

The safety of all customers outranks convenience as a goal and is integral to a great experience for everyone. During the planning process, always defer to the expertise and experience of law enforcement, fire and rescue, and emergency medical staff to plan for routine events and contingencies. Actively engage traffic direction and event staff so each accepts their responsibility for their role in making the event as safe as possible. Safety plans should consider:
Community traffic.
On-campus vehicular movement.
Keeping vehicles out of unwanted areas.
Maintaining areas for designated patrons.
Response teams and equipment.
Fire extinguishers and water pump trucks.
First aid supplies.
Seasonal issues that may produce hazards.

Even after event plans have been made and executed, it is still not yet time to rest on our laurels. Quickly after the event, bring the planning team back together for an after-action meeting to review what worked well and where there is room for improvement. Even if the event is not recurring, there is value in learning and recording successes and failures so they can be used to shape planning for the future. It is easy and important to focus on the operational rules and policies that helped the event go well, however, the ultimate goal in event management is a positive customer experience. Remember to gather feedback from participants about the friendliness of staff, a welcoming environment, services and amenities provided, and whether their expectations were met or exceeded. Try to find a balance that allows guests to have fun within the boundaries of the rules necessary for safety and maintaining crowd control. Don’t lose sight of providing great service and limiting restrictions to what is necessary so the first and lasting impression makes them want to return again and again.

Debbie Hoffmann is associate director of transportation services at Texas A&M University. She can be reached at dhoffmann@tamu.edu or 979.845.9700.


Parkaholics Anonymous

TPP-2012-12-Parkaholics AnonymousBy Suzanne Williams

Parking professionals come into contact with parkaholics every day—you probably recognize them as pesky repeat offenders who refuse to follow the rules. But how many of us are willing to admit we may have a problem ourselves? If your operation is struggling to manage peak demand and you’re considering building a new structure or lot to accommodate more vehicles, you may be a parkaholic: someone addicted to the lure of abundant, convenient parking.

My colleagues and I at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) have been addicted to parking for decades. Located on 200+ landlocked pedestrian-friendly acres about two miles west of downtown Greensboro, UNCG is a compact, densely-configured campus. Student enrollment tops 18,000 and we employ more than 3,000 faculty and staff. Despite recruiting the most diverse student body in the UNC system, all our students share one commonality: even freshmen are allowed to bring cars to campus.

On a typical day, approximately 20,000 people (students, employees, and visitors) are accommodated with fewer than 7,000 parking spaces. The UNCG Parking Operations & Campus Access Management (POCAM) department oversees three parking decks and an underground garage. Most surface lots are around the perimeter of campus or in remote areas accessible by bus. Our park and ride lot is less than one mile from campus and is shared with the Greensboro Coliseum Complex. Though the campus is surrounded by established neighborhoods and restricted by railroad tracks, a pedestrian underpass soon will connect a new mixed-use village south of the campus core.

For years, we struggled to manage our scarce parking resources as efficiently and effectively as possible while enrollments grew and parking inventory shrank due to the construction of new classroom and residential buildings. Our recovery from parking addiction began in 2005, which was the year we asked ourselves if we really needed to build and finance yet another parking deck. On the road to recovery, we’ve developed a 12-step strategic planning process that can be applied to parking operations at airports, municipalities, and universities alike.

The 12 Steps
Step 1: Assess current conditions. Review standard operating procedures and streamline where possible. Conduct a SWOT analysis to determine organizational strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. What data is readily available? What additional data is needed? Determine effective parking capacity and identify peak demand for it. Geo-code drivers to discover travel patterns. Study best practices in parking and transportation to develop benchmarking targets. Consider various transportation demand management (TDM) strategies to reduce and redistribute parking demand.

Step 2: Believe you can overcome parking challenges. If you’re unsure, give yourself an attitude adjustment. Be aware of the negative, but focus on the positive outcome you want to achieve. Look beyond the limits of parking to explore multi-modal sustainable transportation options such as bicycles, buses, car-sharing, ride-sharing, vanpools, and walking.

Step 3: Decide to take action and envision the future you want to create. Fine-tune mission and vision statements, create a one-word mantra to help you stay focused, and define core values as guiding principles. Our mantra is access—not parking or enforcement or even revenue, but access! Safety, sustainability, efficiency, effectiveness, consistency, and transparency are among our core values.

Step 4: Conduct an inventory of parking and sustainable transportation resources currently available as well as additional resources you may want to acquire. Get to know your staff and help them explore training and professional development opportunities. Update your inventory of available parking spaces, equipment, signage, etc. What bus and transit services are available? Where are bicycles, motorcycles, and mopeds parked? Are there any bike shops nearby? How many people carpool or vanpool? How do drivers and riders find each other? Is there a car-sharing option such as Zipcar or WeCar? How about emergency ride home?

Step 5: Develop a plan to implement changes systematically over time. Set goals and measurable objectives for your plan, and be sure to include a blueprint for implementation as well as evaluation so you can track successes along the way. Prioritize efforts based on resource availability, ease of implementation, and budget.

Step 6: Make a list of stakeholders. Students are our primary focus, just as customers are in a business environment. Faculty, staff, and administrators are our internal customers. We reach out to alumni, parents, visitors, trustees, event planners, project managers, contractors, and vendors. Town-and-gown relationships with neighborhoods surrounding campus are very important. Networking extends to include parking and transportation operations beyond campus as well as local nonprofit Bicycling in Greensboro (BIG), the League of American Bicyclists, and the National Center for Transit Research. All these stakeholders are great resources for information and collaboration.

Step 7: Make direct contact with stakeholders and nurture relationships. Large town hall-style meetings are a way to solicit input from and share information with large groups. Smaller focus groups are a better way to connect with specific segmented target markets such as bicyclists or carpoolers. Email communications and social networking tools can be effective, especially when combined with web content, printed materials, and a call to action. Our website features time-sensitive parking and transportation updates posted through Facebook and Twitter feeds. Our call to action is our Campus Transportation Challenge, which contributes to Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation’s (PART’s) annual Triad Commute Challenge. Participants pledge to try a form of sustainable transportation (bike, bus, carpool, or walk) at least once instead of driving alone, in exchange for a small giveaway and a chance to win larger prizes. Roughly half of all pledges collected throughout PART’s 10-county service area come from UNCG students and employees.

Step 8: Admit to others the exact nature of your plan. Communicate to educate! Participate in new student and employee orientation sessions, department meetings, professional development seminars, stakeholder gatherings, and information fairs. Consider a signature event to kick off a transportation challenge or other call to action.

Step 9: Humbly vet your plan and ask for feedback from both internal and external audiences. Be an active listener. Really hear what your stakeholders tell you and take note of what they are saying. Some may be excited about public transit while others may prefer bicycling. Engage your stakeholders and listen to them as much, as if not more than, you talk. Be open to gaining valuable insight from the people around you.

Step 10: Make adjustments as needed. Continually assess and update your TDM plan to make improvements. As you learn about new resources and emerging technologies, incorporate components that will enhance your operations and programs. UNCG’s TDM plan continues to evolve:
2005 Initiated planning process.
2006 Published UNCG Transportation Master Plan, collaborated with Greensboro Transit Authority (GTA) to launch fare-free Higher Education Area Transit (HEAT) bus service.
2007 Developed online campus carpool club.
2008 Published UNCG Bicycle Master Plan.
2009 Networked with PART for additional commuter benefits including emergency ride home.
2010 Upgraded rideshare matching registry to Zimride; introduced Zipcar car sharing to campus; became first employer in North Carolina Triad region to receive national recognition as a Best Workplace for Commuters.
2011 Became the first campus in North Carolina recognized as a Bicycle Friendly University; one of only six universities in the country to receive a gold medal in the Best Workplace for Commuters 2011 Race to Excellence.
2012 Collaborated on the development of a campus climate action plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Step 11: Seek to improve understanding and facilitate change through effective communication and marketing. In the UNCG Bryan School of Business and economics, we refer to the Five Ps of Marketing: people, product, price, place (or physical distribution), and promotion. Get to know the people involved by building relationships to better understand what they value and what messages will resonate with them—saving money and/or time, for example. Know what parking and transportation products are available (parking lots, decks, bike racks, bus routes, carpools, carsharing, etc.) and what costs are associated with each. Know from where drivers are traveling, where bus stops are located, and where parking is available. Use this knowledge to promote a combination of options.

Step 12: Practice these principles and share your experience with others. After trying sustainable transportation for yourself, encourage friends and coworkers to join you. To have a more profound effect, help your organization create a multi-modal TDM plan. Following these 12 steps will help you get started.

It Worked for Us
UNCG’s efforts to support bicycling, busing, carpooling, car-sharing, and walking are already showing a return on investment. By spending a comparatively small amount of money on sustainable transportation, we’ve avoided the higher cost of constructing (and financing and maintaining) more parking structures. More people are riding bikes and joining carpools while bus ridership has grown from 50,000 to more than 500,000 rides annually. And while enrollments have increased, effective parking capacity during peak demand has eased from 95 percent to a less stressful and more manageable 86 percent.

A changing campus environment leads to changes in behavior and expectations. By discouraging the use of single-occupancy vehicles, traffic is calmed and pedestrian safety is enhanced. Although some parking spaces in the heart of campus have been replaced by buildings and green spaces, value has been added to every parking permit sold because drivers can more easily locate available parking spaces around the perimeter of a more walkable campus. At UNCG, we’ve learned that multi-modal sustainable transportation is the key to safe and efficient campus access. It’s no longer just about parking.

Suzanne Williams is assistant director of campus access management at The University of Norh Carolina at Greensboro. She can be reached at suz@uncg.edu or 336.334.5595.

TPP-2012-12-Parkaholics Anonymous

Calming the Storm

TPP-2012-12-Calming the StormBy Seth Brown

Parking professionals view a highly-used and busy parking lot as an amenity that generates income and adds value to the property being served. Stormwater professionals, in contrast, look at the same parking lot or facility and see a source of increased water pollution, high rates of stormwater runoff, and potential negative effects on downstream aquatic systems. However, the skies are not so gloomy here. New technologies and approaches to manage stormwater runoff generated from parking areas may be able to address excessive runoff more cost-effectively than traditional approaches, and provide many other benefits beyond water quality. In some cases, these new approaches may actually be able to put money in your pocket as well.

The Storm is Coming
The amount of impervious cover in the U.S. is equal to about the same area as the state of Ohio. Impermeable pavement associated with parking and roadway surfaces comprises up to 70 percent of the total paved area in an ultra-urban setting. That means the area between Toledo, Columbus, and Cincinnati approximates the total amount of parking and transportation surface in the U.S. The effects of these surfaces—increased urban heat and water quality troubles downstream—has become more evident in recent years. Why that is and what we can do about it are the focuses of stormwater managers across the country.

Initially, correcting water quality problems targeted “point source pollution,” which includes discharges from factories and wastewater treatment plants. Put another way, point source equals pipe. At the time, these pollution sources were most closely tied to the nation’s water quality woes. The most notable example is the Cuyahoga River in Cincinnati catching fire in 1969.

The good news: current regulations and tactics have successfully addressed these pollutant sources. The bad news: in many parts of the country, water quality has continued to degrade. It is clear that pollutant sources beyond industrial discharge and wastewater effluent are adversely affecting our waters.

Recently, the National Academies of Science’s National Research Council (NRC) looked into this matter, specifically studying the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) stormwater program. The NRC report, released in 2009, concluded that attempts to control and treat stormwater in urban areas have been ineffective, and that changes are needed to adequately address this growing source of water quality impairment. The same study states, “roads and parking lots can be the most significant type of land cover with respect to stormwater.”

Paving Paradise
Parking and roadway surfaces play a significant role in how stormwater runoff affects our environment. These surfaces often collect polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) associated with petroleum products, bacterial contamination, and metals associated with brake pad wear, among other pollutants. These pollutants wash off the surface during rainfall and flow into downstream waters without the chance to infiltrate into the ground as would happen under natural conditions.

In some cases, the pavement itself is the dominant pollutant. Coal tar pavement sealants used to resurface parking lots have been linked to elevated levels of PAHs in air and water near parking lots. A recent study by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) found the concentrations of carcinogenic PAHs in house dust in residences adjacent to coal-tar sealed parking lots were 14 times higher than in dust from homes adjacent to unsealed parking lots. Similarly, PAHs associated with coal-tar sealants constituted one-half of all PAHs in urban lakes, according to a study that sampled the sediment from 40 lakes from Anchorage to Orlando. Coal-tar sealants are now banned in the state of Washington, which is not a striking action considering that they are used primarily east of the Continental Divide. However, more recent bans on the use of coal-tar sealants have been enacted in the south, the midwest, and the east coast in areas such as Washington, D.C., and several communities in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Texas, and New York.

The increased volume and flow of stormwater also dramatically affects downstream conditions. On an undeveloped site with normal soil and vegetation, only between five and 10 percent of the rainfall that hits the ground will run off the surface; the remaining 90 to 95 percent is intercepted by vegetation or soaks into the ground. But if this site were covered by an impervious surface such as a parking lot, the amount of runoff increases by a factor of five to 10—possibly more—because less water soaks in. The result of this redistribution is less groundwater, which provides streams with “base flow” (the flow in streams not associated with rain events). Reductions in base flow greatly affect the quality of stream ecosystems. Another result of redistribution is a huge increase in the amount and rate of rainfall entering drainage infrastructure or receiving waters, which leads to aggressive channel erosion and significant effects on downstream properties and infrastructure.

Rules of the Road
Urban stormwater management was first regulated in 1990 under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and the universe of regulated communities increased in 2003. EPA is currently working to develop a national performance standard—the first of its kind—that could affect every square inch of the country for development sites larger than a certain size (one acre is the most likely threshold). Also, many urban areas will likely be required to develop stormwater retrofit plans, which describe actions taken to mitigate the ongoing effects of existing and anticipated amounts of impervious cover on water quality. While these changes are sweeping, the urban retrofit component may be the most contentious element of the anticipated regulation update, as it is expected to be costly. This will likely affect the parking industry directly, and efforts to find cost-effective solutions using market-based approaches may prove fruitful for those in the parking industry.

The EPA has suggested that this new standard will be a departure from previous plans to manage stormwater. Early approaches focused on conveying runoff quickly and efficiently into ponds or basins, which would treat the water. These ponds, which remain dry or very shallow until storms come, often provided flood control and storage to reduce downstream flooding effects, too. The use of ponds as the sole practice to mitigate the effects of impervious cover in this era—which continues today in many areas—has resulted in a huge number of these facilities bordering parking lots and roadways. While ponds, basins, and other traditional stormwater infrastructure have helped, streams in urban areas still are severely eroded, intersections are chronically flooded, and lakes still have reduced biotic integrity.

Shifting Gears
The new approach to stormwater management, as spelled out by the NRC study and implemented by some forward-thinking communities, is to slow down the water and capture runoff on-site through infiltration or “harvesting” of rainwater. Instead of pooling water as in a pond system, this approach lets the rain soak in as quickly as possible after it lands. The performance standard to be associated with EPA’s proposed rulemaking is expected to include a requirement to retain a certain percentage of all flows experienced on a site.

An example of an on-site retention requirement is spelled out in Washington, D.C.’s new stormwater permit program, which requires the retention of 1.2 inches on-site. This amount of capture is equivalent to the 90th percentile rainfall amount, which is the volume of precipitation delivered by nine out of 10 storms in any given year.

Practices used to provide this on-site capture are often referred to as “green infrastructure” or “low-impact development.” Bioretention, vegetated swales, permeable pavement, green roofs, and rainwater harvesting systems are a few examples. While the specific function of each practice varies, the common property among these measures is that they have a generally small footprint, use vegetation and filter media/soil to treat water, and retain water on-site through infiltration or storage.

Another difference between traditional management and low-impact development or green infrastructure is how it is applied on the landscape. Traditionally, inlets, pipes, and curb-and-gutter systems capture and convey water downstream to a single large facility. The new approach is to reduce the need for “grey” drainage infrastructure (inlets and pipes) and instead rely on a series of green infrastructure practices that work systematically to slow water and treat it through filtration and infiltration.

A parking facility may be able to reduce overall runoff volume by using permeable pavement for overflow parking areas (which are used less frequently) and capture a majority of the surface runoff by removing curb-and-gutter to allow sheet flow into water quality swales that lead to a series of bioretention facilities. When applied correctly, these smaller and more distributed measures can offset the need for large detention ponds and provide many benefits that go beyond water quality and quantity control. These benefits include reduced urban heat island effects, improved air quality, energy savings, aesthetic enhancements, and increases in property values. Philadelphia’s plan to spend $1 billion on green infrastructure over the next 20 years was shown to return benefits 20 times greater than the traditional approach to managing runoff.

There’s More
Many assume the green approach is always the more expensive option. More and more evidence is surfacing that this assumption does not apply to green infrastructure in most circumstances.

Two examples from the University of New Hampshire’s Stormwater Center, as reported in Banking on Green, a report on green infrastructure economics, highlight the savings potential. “Boulder Hills, a residential development in New Hampshire, reduced its construction costs by 6 percent while generating additional resident lots within the same development project while establishing a ‘zero discharge’ site through low impact development techniques and green infrastructure practices. Greenland Meadows, a commercial ‘big box’ site, reduced construction costs by nearly $1 million, which translates to 10 percent of total construction costs, by using pervious asphalt, which limited the amount of drainage inlets and pipes, and a constructed wetland, which provided enhanced stormwater management over conventional treatment techniques,” it said.

Beyond cost savings, using infiltration-based practices may actually pay you in the future. The District of Columbia Department of the Environment (DDOE) is proposing a new regulatory framework that targets runoff volume—the parameter that is at the heart of urban stormwater pollution.

Under this framework, regulated sites must capture a minimum of 50 percent of the required stormwater runoff volume on site. Beyond this threshold, sites will have the option to use off-site retention, which can be in the form of Stormwater Retention Credits (SRCs), purchased from the private market, or in-lieu fee, paid to DDOE.

The basis of this market approach is that a majority of future land development within D.C. will be in the form of high-rise buildings in the downtown urban core district. Controlling runoff onsite in these areas will rely on relatively costly practices, such as green roofs and rainwater harvesting systems. Areas outside the urban core, however, are likely to be able to provide the requisite stormwater treatment for a significantly lower cost. The practices expected in the outlying areas include bioretention facilities and water quality swales that can be applied to areas such as large parking lots.

Following this framework, owners of parking lots will be able to generate SRCs that can be sold on the market, thus generating revenue. Also, DDOE allows for a reduction in stormwater fees for up to 55 percent when using these practices on-site, which is an additional benefit to parking lot owners. This market is proposed to start sometime in 2013, and if successful, may be a template for others cities to meet their stormwater requirements in a cost-effective manner.

An Evolving Landscape
The EPA projects that between 800,000 and 1 million acres of land will be developed annually over the next 30 years to meet demands for housing, transportation, and industrial activities. This development will affect water quality and is driving the need for aggressive change in how stormwater is managed and treated. The parking industry can play a strong role in helping communities meet stormwater management requirements while providing additional benefits to the community and the environment. And if some new and innovative market-based programs prove to be successful, the parking industry may find even more reasons to start integrating more green infrastructure on its sites.

Seth Brown is stormwater program and policy manager at the Water Environment Federation. He can be reached at sbrown@wef.org.

TPP-2012-12-Calming the Storm

Parking Pricing & TDM

TPP-2012-12-Shining BeaconBy Kurt Matthews

Parking and traffic demand management (TDM): are they friend, foe, or partners? In Boulder, Colo., we look at these two concepts as elements of a larger notion that we call access management. Properly managed parking supports TDM by helping control and, at the same time, ensure access to our downtown. Through the formation of partnerships between parking staff, business leaders, and TDM staff, Boulder’s downtown is thriving and growing; revenues are reinvested back into TDM programs and contribute to reaching our goal of successful access management.

Boulder is a city of 100,000 located about 30 miles northwest of Denver. The city is home to the University of Colorado and 30,000 students as well as numerous government agencies. Our downtown is highlighted by the four-block Pearl Street Pedestrian Mall. We have a very active downtown business association that has a keen interest in parking and access to downtown.

In the 1970s, the need for increased management of parking became clear, and a central area general improvement district (CAGID) was formed to meet this need. CAGID provides public parking in the commercial district downtown. This district parking concept allows developers greater flexibility by not placing parking maximums or minimums on commercial development. Taxes are paid to the district and in return, parking is provided and revenues are returned to the area.

Managing Parking
Parking is managed through a variety of tools and methods. We have pay-and-display kiosks throughout the downtown to manage on-street parking. We also use single-head meters in areas that have a specific demand. For example, those meters limit parking to 30 minutes outside the post office. CAGID operates five garages that allow permit parking as well as short-term daily use.

We respect the neighborhood concept in the residential area that surrounds our downtown through various parking programs. These include a neighborhood parking permit (NPP) program that allows residents to purchase permits to park in neighborhoods where parking is limited to a three-hour timeframe; user costs are limited to our actual administrative costs. We also sell commuter and business permits. Commuter permits are issued to specific blocks and are sold only if studies indicate that additional parking is available. Business permits recognize the mixed-use nature of some neighborhoods. All of our permits only allow the opportunity to park; they do not guarantee available spaces. Garage permits are set at $275 per quarter, which is priced at slightly less than private rates. In addition to garage and on-street parking, we operate several surface lots that are permit-only during certain hours of the day.

Reinvestment in the Community
We look at parking and TDM as an integrated philosophy where parking revenues are invested in TDM, which creates greater access, which generates parking revenue. Figure 1 demonstrates our philosophy:

The revenues support a multi-pronged approach to parking and TDM. CAGID staff is responsible for approximately 4,000 public parking spaces, more than 1,300 bicycle parking spaces, managing paid and shared parking, and an Eco-Pass program; all of these, when combined, produce an enhanced community transit network.

Perhaps our greatest reinvestment comes in the form of our managed Eco-Pass Program. An Eco-Pass is a transit pass to the regional bus and rail system (RTD). The Eco-Pass allows the presenter to ride anywhere in the system at no charge. The City of Boulder has a master contract with RTD, and one staff member oversees this program. The program costs approximately $750,000 per year, which is paid for out of parking revenues; this breaks down to around $125 per downtown employee. That may seem like a large sum of money, but compared with the cost of building an additional garage ($28,000 or more per space), it is really a bargain. We find that many employees take extensive advantage of the program, which results in a diminished demand for parking. We also achieve availability ratios for short-term parkers visiting our downtown and investing in the local economy thanks to it.

Getting Downtown
Commuter patterns are surveyed and documented on a regular basis. We look at single-occupancy vehicles, mass transit, bicycle, and foot. Figure 2 demonstrates our findings.

As you can see, we have achieved approximately 65 percent alternative mode usage to the downtown area, which has significantly reduced our need to provide parking. Our research has also shown that employees with Eco-Passes are more likely to use transit than those without passes. This greatly reduces single-occupancy vehicle trips, reducing pollution and providing space.

Biking to work has also become very popular. To meet this parking demand, the City of Boulder’s Parking Services provides more than 1,300 bike racks throughout the downtown area. Racks are found in garages and on public right-of-ways. Additionally, we recently launched a pilot to look at the concept of a parking corral: one on-street parking space is turned into a bike corral that allows for the parking of eight to 10 bicycles. Again, this is all paid for through the reinvestment of parking dollars.

We have two bike corrals in place now and they are always full. As additional requests for bike parking come in, we are working with transportation staff to write policy on how to determine where they get placed. At the same time, parking dollars are invested in a locally-run bike rental enterprise; B-Cycle has several stations throughout the city where a person can rent a bicycle, ride to their destination, and leave the bike in a different docking station. The program is experiencing success and new stations are being installed throughout the city.

The Future
What does the future hold for parking in the City of Boulder? Zoning laws were recently amended to allow for greater density in the downtown zone, to spur commercial development. Developers do not need to plan for parking—that responsibility belongs to CAGID. With this challenge and responsibility, the first question we needed to answer was exactly how many parking spaces there are downtown. The only way to do that was count. We commissioned a consultant to document parking and provide us projections.

The consultant found that there are approximately 7,000 public and private parking spaces in the downtown area, and these spaces are approximately 68 percent occupied on a typical weekday daytime period. So we have some room for growth, but how much?

Development projections are difficult to assess with all the variables involved. To meet these challenges, we made several assumptions and produced five different scenarios. Our best-case scenario would show us a deficit of only 25 spaces per build out while our worse-case shows a deficit of 1,400 spaces. TDM and alternative mode usage is one of the primary assumptions. Our goal is to reach 70 percent or greater alternative mode usage. Reinvesting parking dollars in alternative modes and continued support of the Eco-Pass will go a long way towards meeting the demands for parking.

Alternative modes are not the sole solution, however. We have begun to recognize the potential of partnering with private facilities to provide public parking. Sharing and unbundling parking in a win-win matter can reap significant benefits for public and private organizations. CAGID can provide parking, and the private owner can generate revenue from what had been an unused asset. Even raising the use of private parking a few percentage points has a significant effect on the demand for short-term public parking.

Through the reinvestment of parking dollars, we can offer transit passes to our employees, reducing the demand for long-term parking and increasing availability for short-term parking, subsequently increasing revenue through parking and sales tax. Creating a district to manage parking and return the revenues may seem like additional government bureaucracy, but proper management provides a positive return on investment.

No one can know what the future holds, but with proper planning, we can be ready. We have begun the process to mold and shape parking as we move forward toward the future. Public/private partnerships to share and unbundle parking is one approach we have taken to provide adequate parking in our downtown area. We are currently in the process of putting our learning to task as we develop a public/private transit-oriented district (TOD). Agreements are being put in place for the management of a shared facility that will be home to residential housing, a hotel, a restaurant, and a RTD bus facility, all served by one garage that would need to be significantly larger if parking management strategies did not mesh with traffic demand strategies and private commercial need.

Kurt Matthews is manager of parking services for the City of Boulder, Colo. He can be reached at matthewsk@bouldercolorado.com or 303.413.7320.

TPP-2012-12-Shining Beacon

Shining Beacon

TPP-2012-12-Shining BeaconBy Lissa Myers

Even from a distance, the new structure built on the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) campus in Golden, Colo., doesn’t look like an ordinary parking garage. It doesn’t act like one either. NREL’s parking garage proves that large garages can be designed and built sustainably—at no additional cost.

The 1,800-space parking structure features energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies as well as a design that supports the lab’s sustainable transportation strategies.

Saving Energy
“A garage typically uses 15 percent of the energy that the building that it is designed to support uses. Many would say it’s only 15 percent of the energy, but we’d say it’s still 15 percent that can be improved on. For every watt you save in the building, that’s $33 worth of photovoltaics you don’t have to buy when you are targeting net-zero energy,” NREL Energy Efficiency Research Engineer Jennifer Scheib says.

NREL bid the parking garage using the same streamlined design-build process that was leveraged in the recent construction of the Research Support Facility (RSF) office (nrel.gov/sustainable_nrel/rsf.html) building on the campus. The team of RNL and Haselden Construction partnered with NREL to build these new energy-efficient facilities.

Making NREL’s garage an attractive structure that’s both affordable and high performing presented a unique combination of challenges. In the end, the design-build team came up with a structure that is expected to perform 90 percent better than a standard garage built just to code.

Lighting the parking structure was a key focus from the beginning. Fundamental building features such as structure type and bay sizing were carefully considered, in part to reduce the need for electric lighting. This upfront, integrated design allowed the lighting to be reduced by 90 percent compared to code.

“We started by doing a survey of other garages to see how low the lighting density could go, because we knew lighting is one of the biggest energy uses,” Scheib says.

NREL required daylighting to be one footcandle at minimum, even on a cloudy winter day. This means that the garage’s lighting system should be off except at night. To ensure proper illumination, a daylight model was created for the garage. “That’s unique because most people wouldn’t pay to model a garage,” Scheib says. “But to get it right, it had to be done.”

Nighttime is when NREL’s garage looks really different—it’s dark. “At night, when lights are needed, there are occupancy sensors in zones; as you move through the space, the lights turn on for you,” Scheib says. “That is great for energy, and it’s also great for the neighbors.”

To handle the dark, the garage has a lighting control system normally used in office buildings that leverages daylight and occupancy sensors. “By taking these systems and combining them with quick-response LED lighting, we could do it in a way that made the parking garage safe while maximizing the way it saves on power use,” RNL Senior Project Manager Tony Thornton says.

Any concerns people had about a dark garage being dangerous were quickly deemed unfounded, for good reason. “While some might be worried about approaching a dark garage, we’ve heard that some people at the lab now see it as a safety feature,” Scheib says. “If you approach and see lights on, you know someone is in the garage, because otherwise the lights would be off.”

Other energy-saving features include natural ventilation, which saves energy because there are no mechanical systems. The skin of the garage is made of recycled perforated aluminum panels that let light in while keeping weather out, and can be recycled again. There are also light wells that draw sun into the middle of the structure. Stairs are central to the design; they are well-lit and so convenient that most people don’t even realize there are elevators.

Because the south side of the building doesn’t need as much protection from the weather, NREL staff and designers had the opportunity to get creative.

“We were investigating using the same aluminum panels, even though they don’t have the same job as the north and west sides,” Thornton says. “But NREL staff recommended that the south side be covered in solar. It turned out great. It’s hard to see the panels on the roof of the garage or the RSF. On the south, where panels will be most visible to the world, we have the ability to extend the message of what NREL is about.”

The south-side solar panels are a striking sight that, when added to those on the roof, bring an additional 1.13 MW of solar to the NREL campus and help make the RSF and garage net-zero for energy use. The panels also help offset the energy used by the garage’s 36 electric vehicle charging stations.

Sustainable Commuting Strategies
Energy savings associated with the parking garage extend to employee commuting as well. To encourage more sustainable forms of commuting, the program for the garage included 90 preferred spaces for carpool and vanpool vehicles, 90 preferred spaces for low-emitting and high fuel-efficiency vehicles, and preferred bicycle and motorcycle parking.

“The design of the garage in combination with other commuting benefits that NREL provides, like vanpool vouchers and bicycle lockers and showers, encourages staff to carpool, vanpool, or bike to work, reducing energy use in their daily commute,” NREL Director of Sustainability Frank Rukavina says. In addition, pedestrian walkways that connect the centralized parking structure to individual buildings encourage a walkable campus culture.

Measuring Success
The garage is metered, just like other buildings on the campus, so NREL can monitor energy use to ensure that the building meets design goals. When people ask how NREL’s buildings are performing, researchers know they will be able to answer confidently.

The metering and the ability to show that buildings can be built to be energy efficient, high-performing, and still affordable is important to NREL’s mission to help shape the commercial buildings of the future.

“The big picture is that no matter what, there is room for innovation in the design process to see savings as big as 90 percent over code,” Scheib says. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a parking garage, lab, or office building.”

“There’s no demonstration piece better than a living, active building,” Thornton says. “As designers, we can talk about designs and concepts all day long, but built structures speak to all clients. If you can show them rather than tell them, it makes all the difference.”

Lissa Myers is traffic/transportation project manager at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. She can be reached at lissa.myers@nrel.gov or 303.384.7325.

TPP-2012-12-Shining Beacon

Greening Your Garage

TPP-2012-12-Greening Your GarageBy Dennis A. Safford

Who knew doing the right thing for the planet could make you more money? Implementing sustainable initiatives in parking facilities that benefit the environment and society does not mean you need to sacrifice dollars. At face value, it would seem that the urban parking garage is the antithesis of sustainability, but forward-thinking leaders in the parking industry and the non-profit Green Parking Council (GPC) are working diligently to change that perception and its underlying reality. Still, property owners and managers often ask how sustainable parking initiatives help to positively affect profitability. Simply put, for sustainability to be sustainable, it has to make bottom-line sense.

“There are a multitude of initiatives that parking garage owners and managers deploy at their properties in order to not only facilitate increased profits, but reduce their operational impact on the environment,” explains Paul Wessel, executive director of the GPC. “What the Green Parking Council does so well is open pathways for these goals to be cost-effectively realized through our open-source collaboration, our working committees, and our Green Garage Certification program.”

New parking facilities are considerably less expensive to design and construct when they’re developed sustainably. For example, through aggressive design and bidding practices, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s 1,800-space “net zero” parking garage reported a construction cost of $14,172 per parking space (see p. 26 for more on this garage). The cost for a typical parking space in comparable traditional parking facilities, according to some sources, is in the range of $15,500 to $24,500, demonstrating that the overall savings can be substantial depending on the size of the structure.

Real-World Examples
Canopy Airport Parking is a shining example of how sustainable practices employed at parking facilities can affect bottom line revenue. Canopy is a parking facility serving Denver International Airport and the recent recipient of the International Parking Institute’s (IPI’s) 2012 Award of Excellence in the category for sustainable parking and transportation (design) excellence.

This structure, created by Propark America, was constructed using sustainable materials including certified wood, 35 percent recycled steel, 25 percent recycled asphalt, and low-emitting adhesives, sealants, paints, and coatings; all of these sustainable materials and their usage levels meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standard. A variety of technologies was installed in the facility during construction that contributes to the operation’s low carbon footprint and energy efficiency. Onsite renewable energy is derived from a solar array, wind turbine field, and geothermal technologies, resulting in a 75 percent reduction in energy costs when compared to traditional like-sized parking facilities. Energy-efficient LED lighting, lighting controls, and a comprehensive plan in place for reduction in water use not only helps the planet, but boosts the facility’s bottom line in the form of lower utility expenses.

Canopy doesn’t just look good on paper: it works in the marketplace. The facility’s occupancy rates have been on a steady upward trend since it opened in November 2010. According to its investors, the facility has outperformed both occupancy and revenue projections.

In addition to Canopy Airport Parking, Santa Monica’s Civic Center parking structure, the University of North Texas’ Highland Street Garage, and Duke University’s Research Drive parking facility have all earned LEED certification for their sustainable design, but that recognition and standard is no longer available to freestanding garages. As of mid-2011, LEED has stopped offering its certification for structures that dedicate more than 75 percent of their floor area to parking and circulation of cars or trucks.

The GPC now offers the parking industry’s only universally-accepted standard for sustainable designation through its Green Garage Certification program, which will be available to all in the spring of 2013.

Upgrading facility lighting to energy-efficient options is perhaps the most cost-effective sustainability improvement a garage can make. Many property owners have upgraded their existing lighting and realized significant savings with more environmentally-friendly LEDs, induction lamps, and fluorescents. The illumination is comparable to or better than older forms of lighting, and numerous companies cost-effectively specialize in these retrofit projects. The savings on electricity charges flows directly to the bottom-line profitability for these facilities.

The GPC’s partnership with the Department of Energy, the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), and the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), with regards to the Lighting Energy Efficiency in Parking (LEEP) Campaign, helps accelerate the adoption of high-performance, energy efficient lighting technologies. The GPC is working closely with these organizations and major building owners to provide detailed calculations of the return on investment, engineering documentation of future light levels and assisting in rebate and grant applications, which often results in a net-zero capital investment.

“Sustainability, when employed and marketed correctly, can not only drive business to a parking facility, but it can generate substantial savings in energy expenses,” says Trevyr Meade, staff associate at the GPC. “There’s potential for not only financial return on investment, but social return on investment by employing technologies and practices that are good for business and good for the planet.”

As automobile manufacturers continue rolling out electric vehicles (EVs) into showrooms, one of the most common barriers to widespread acceptance is charging station infrastructure, or more specifically, the lack thereof. This is commonly referred to as “range anxiety.” As these vehicles begin to hit the road in greater numbers, the parking facilities that employ charging stations immediately put themselves in a position of competitive advantage.

In today’s world of mobile technology, there are apps that allow the user to locate EV charging stations at local or destination parking facilities. Drivers of EVs will flock to these parking facilities, or as a colleague of mine once put it, EV charging stations in parking facilities will drive these vehicles in like bees to honey. Even the property owners who offer free charging end up on the side of profitability, as the parking charge that the patron incurs vastly outweighs the modest utility expense of a single vehicle charge. Brookfield Properties aspires to have electric vehicle charging stations in every city in which it operates. Brookfield has creatively deferred the cost of the units by selling advertising space on the façades of the charging stations themselves.

“While it’s certainly not expected that all vehicles on the road in 20 years will be electric vehicles, there is definitely going to be a large segment of cars in use that will need a place to charge during the day,” says Gretchen Brown, staff associate at the GPC. “Those parking facility owners and operators that get ahead of the curve are going to reap the rewards while their competitors try to catch up. It’s really a matter of which side of the fence you want to be on when that time comes.”

Other Green Options
Sustainability and its benefits are not only accomplished through technologies such as LED lighting and EV charging stations, but also through premium service offerings that may not on the surface be immediately recognized as being green.

Offering free or inexpensive bicycle parking not only encourages more environmentally-aware modes of transportation, but provides for marketing opportunities for your facility that might not otherwise be realized. Those who take advantage of complimentary or discounted bicycle parking will establish a pattern of behavior and may choose to patronize your facility when driving a motor vehicle. Positive word of mouth with initiatives such as this are additional benefits of instituting sustainable practices. Typically, bicycle parking areas are located in portions of the parking facility that do not take up actual revenue-generating parking spaces, so there is no opportunity cost in the vast majority of instances for bicycle parking programs.

Tire inflation stations are another way to provide a service that is not only convenient, but also good for the environment. Properly inflated tires yield an increase in gasoline efficiency when compared to vehicles with underinflated tires. While there is really no potential for monetary return on investment (unless offering a coin-operated unit), the social return on investment, through consumer loyalty building and word of mouth potential, is worth it in the long run.

As we continue into the 21st century, it’s important that we adjust to the times and look forward to the future. Those of us who anticipate where our industry is going will ultimately be the ones to reap the true rewards. The GPC Demonstrator Site program is an opportunity for garages to exhibit sustainability initiatives and become recognized. The next step—the Green Garage Certification program—will establish the accepted standard and give parking facilities the opportunity to quantify sustainability levels, all while becoming more profitable.

Dennis A. Safford is director of marketing for Propark, Inc. He can be reached at dennis.safford@propark.com or 860.527.2378.

TPP-2012-12-Greening Your Garage

The Forest for the Trees

TPP-2012-12-The Forest for the TreesBy Federico Lopez

Many industries—perhaps most—directly and indirectly emit greenhouse gases to the atmosphere and are in part responsible for climate change; the parking sector is not an exception. Just like all other businesses, Bogota, Colombia’s City Parking consumes energy, fossil fuels, and water, and generates waste in its daily operations, consequently producing carbon dioxide (CO2) that experts say contributes to global warming. The one big difference between other companies and City Parking is that this successful 66-facility parking organization decided to face its environmental responsibility in a very concrete manner, by protecting 17 acres of native forest in Puerto Gaitan, Meta, Colombia.

Colombia´s territory is about two times the size of France, and half of its 282 million acres are covered in native forests. That sounds great until you find out that every year, 800,000 acres of native forests are razed; that’s about the size of Italy. Nonetheless, Colombia has a huge forestry potential—about 42 million acres are suitable for reforestation and only a small percentage of this area is being used today.

Bogota, Colombia has 8 million inhabitants and about 3,000 parking facilities. Two thousand parking facilities have been formally registered, and the other 1,000 are informal. There is low ownership concentration of these lots and structures—the market leader owns 130 facilities and the second-largest (City Parking) owns 66.

Parking facilities are highly regulated, so prices and charging methods are defined by the government. As an industry, parking (along with most businesses in the country) is not known as being very eco-friendly, which makes this story both all the more remarkable and important.

Eduardo Bayon, City Parking’s CEO, had always wanted to go green with his company but had not found many options to do that. Being the environmentally-conscious person he is, he rode his folding bike to work on Bogota´s 229-mile bike path system some time ago, and ran into an old friend. His friend told him about ways companies were calculating and offsetting their carbon footprints by planting trees. Bayon immediately decided that his company would join the reforestation program and began pushing to convert City Parking into a carbon neutral, environmentally-responsible business.

City Parking has already developed some green and social initiatives in Colombia; it is the only parking company in the country to offer free bicycle parking. The company also supports many local charities, and becoming a green leader in their industry was a realistic goal for them.

Making It Happen
The first step towards calculating any carbon footprint is deciding which methodology should be used. City Parking decided to use the international ISO 14064-1 norm as base reference (see sidebar). This methodology was adapted and developed to calculate direct and indirect emissions associated to a parking company.

The second step is defining the project´s scope. City Parking decided to include all of its parking lots and headquarters offices in the effort, and calculate its emissions on an annual basis.

The third step is gathering information. City Parking provided all its utility bills and records such as energy consumption (kwh), fossil fuels used (gallons), water consumption (gallons), waste generation (kgs), and recycling (kgs) to partner CO2CERO for analysis.

With this information and the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions equivalences stated by the chosen methodology, it’s possible to calculate the amount of CO2 generated in a year. There are six different types of GHG, but the result is always given in the most common one: CO2. This is why the unit used is tCO2e (CO2 tons equivalent). City Parking´s annual carbon footprint was carefully calculated and the result was 518 tCO2e.

Some environmentally-responsible companies calculate their carbon footprint so they can take measures to minimize it and stop there. City Parking went one step further to complete the cycle, which includes finding a way to offset what can´t be reduced. They again partnered with CO2CERO, which owns 5,000 acres of land and has associates that own an additional 22,000 acres of suitable forestation land in Puerto Gaitan, Meta, Colombia. Most of this land was used by paramilitary and guerrilla groups to grow illegal crops about 10 years ago. Now, it is safe thanks to Canadian oil company Pacific Rubiales, which has forced the government to drastically increase military presence in the area.

The project´s objective is to plant 247 acres per year until they reach 2,471 acres, so that in 2021, they can start harvesting 247 acres per year in a cyclical manner. The project portends to become the fifth largest forestry project in Colombia.

Fifty percent of this land will be used on commercial reforestation, and the other 50 percent will be used to protect and enlarge native forests. The project will produce approximately 200,000 cubic meters of hardwood, capture 200,000 tons of CO2, and generate approximately 500 legal rural jobs within the next 10 years.

For this final step, one needs to know how much CO2 is captured by a specific tree. Not all trees capture the same amount of CO2—this varies greatly depending on the species and exactly where the tree in question was planted. Two hundred forty-seven acres of Acacia Mangium (the timber species we are currently planting), for example, captures about 200 tCO2e in 10 years on a farm in Puerto Gaitan, Colombia. This same species and extension would not capture the same CO2 in Bogota. In a similar manner, a pine doesn’t capture as much CO2 as a eucalyptus, and so on.

Knowing how much gas City Parking emits (518 tCO2e) and how much CO2 a native tree absorbs, it was possible to calculate how many trees were needed to mitigate such impact.

City Parking chose to offset its carbon footprint via native forest protection. This means that they pay money to keep a given area of a native forest just as it is. That forest area can´t be used for agriculture, cattle, roads, construction, or any type of activity that might alter the ecosystem, and has to be protected from human intervention such as fire, hunting, fishing, etc.

There are approximately 3,000 native trees in the six acres adopted by City Parking. They regulate water resources, provide homes for wildlife, increase the biodiversity of the area, and will capture the equivalent amount of CO2 emitted by City Parking in one year (518 tCO2e). With that choice, City Parking became the first parking company in Colombia (and perhaps in the world) to offset its carbon footprint this way.

Through its forest offset program, City Parking generates positive effects on both the environment and the community. Clearly, those are their main motivations for the program. That said, the company receives several business-boosting benefits as well:

Tax breaks. Colombian tributary laws allow a 20 percent tax deduction to all reforestation-related investments.

Media Coverage. Local and international organizations have shown what City Parking is doing, which spreads the word about their business and their facilities.

Image. The company is slowly becoming the green leader in its sector.

Marketing. The company and its facilities appeal to a growing green customer segment by sharing the message through social networks, their website, and corporate

communications. They reached a 4,000-member community on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin; all of those people may be motivated to use City Parking facilities just because the company plants trees.

Federico Lopez is owner of CO2CERO. He can be reached at federico.lopez@co2cero.co. or 57.313.817.0330.

TPP-2012-12-The Forest for the Trees

The Driver Privacy Protection Act

TPP-2012-12-The Driver Privacy Protection ActBy Leonard T. Bier JD, CAPP

The federal Driver Privacy Protection Act [DPPA] was signed into law in 1994. It was passed in part in reaction to the death of actress Rebecca Shaeffer by an obsessed fan who obtained her home address from state department of motor vehicle (DMV) records and then stalked and killed her. The federal statute, as later amended in 2000, protects the privacy of certain personal driver information maintained by all state DMVs that previously was made available as public information. The DPPA specifically limits the circumstances under which the following information may be released: driver’s name, address, photograph, date of birth, Social Security number, driver’s license number, telephone number, and disability information.

The DPPA does allow dissemination of specific driver information to government agencies, police officers, those serving civil and criminal process, data surveys, private toll road operators, private companies and individuals fulfilling government purposes, and for limited private commercial purposes.

Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, in the case of Senne vs Village of Palatine, Ill., heard a case where Senne alleged that the Village of Palatine violated the DPPA by issuing a summons that contained restricted personal information to his vehicle.

Senne received a summons for prohibited parking. The summons was issued by an electronic device that directly accessed the Illinois DMV database. It included the usual information, but also contained the following registered owner information: name, address, driver’s license number, date of birth, sex, height, and weight. The summons was printed and placed on the windshield of Senne’s vehicle. It also doubled as a mailer and all of his personal information was clearly visible on the outside of the summons/mailer envelope.

Senne, immediately upon returning to his vehicle, finding the summons, and noting the significant amount of personal information there, went to the village administrators to protest it as a violation of the DPPA. The village, in its infinite wisdom, told him to take a hike, saying that the summons did not violate the DPPA because the information was disclosed for a legitimate police function.

Senne promptly sued the village and lost in the Federal District, which upheld the village’s position that the information was disclosed for a legitimate governmental and police function. Senne appealed his case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, which decided in his favor.

The Decision
The court rejected the arguments that a law enforcement agency carrying out its functions would be exempt from any disclosure made through a parking citation. The court further dismissed the arguments of the village that disclosure of the personal information fell within three of the federal statute’s exceptions: by a governmental or police agency; matters of motor vehicle safety; and in connection with the service of civil or administrative process.

Last, the court rejected the village’s argument that disclosure under the statute required the turning over of personal information to a third party and that the printing of a summons and placing it on a car windshield was not a disclosure at all, and that absent proof that someone had read it, was not actionable or prohibited by the DPPA.

The Appeals Court stated, “To suggest that the meaning of the term ‘disclosure’ is so limited as to take the act of publication of protected information … simply misunderstands the textual scheme that the Congress has forged. The action alleged here, placing the information on the windshield of the vehicle in plain view on a public way, is certainly sufficient to come within … the statute regardless of whether another person viewed the information.”

The court further stated, “The real effect of the placement of the ticket was to make available Senne’s motor vehicle record to any passer-by. This sort of publication is certainly forbidden by the statute.”
International Parking Institute (IPI) members should be careful not to disclose registered vehicle owner personal information, as the federal DPPA trumps and supersedes state information disclosure laws. It is always better for government to err on the side of caution and the preservation of individual rights.

Leonard T. Bier, JD, CAPP, is the principal of Bier Associates. He can be reached at lenbier@optonline.net or 732.828.8864.

TPP-2012-12-The Driver Privacy Protection Act

A Sustainable Parking Frontier

TPP-2012-12-A Sustainable Parking FrontierBy Jeff Petry

Leading practitioners of sustainable parking practices are incorporating electric vehicle charging stations, solar panels, bike corrals, shared car programs, LED lighting, green operational policies, and renewable energy sources. In many ways, these characteristics are off-the-shelf purchases that can be made by any parking operation or municipality. Further, we have industry partners who can help us understand the available technologies to help us find the best products. Great!

But what’s does the sustainable parking frontier look like? Taking a cue from Harvard Business Review’s Warren Berger, let’s use the phrase, “How might we,” to start the conversation.

How might we better integrate parking staff into your organization?
Is the parking program included in public works’ road projects bid meetings to provide guidance on parking space re-striping or where to park construction employee vehicles? Does the permits office give parking a heads-up when a single-family house is being replaced by a multi-family complex? Is parking connected with your local utilities?

How might we form or create better local partnerships?
Does your parking program partner with the local poetry association to put poems in your garages? Does parking work with the local community college or university to research, fabricate, and construct bike corrals in your system? Does parking partner with recreation to move skateboarders out of its structures?

How might we define building codes to encourage the right amount of parking?
Does your building code encourage sustainable parking practices? Does it have maximum parking standards to discourage large retail stores from sizing lots for their busiest day of the year? Does your high-density residential code count shared parking and double parking stalls towards minimum requirements?

How might we use parking for economic development?
Is your parking program a partner with your economic development team? Are you using parking permit discounts to remove downtown parking anxiety and encourage new and current businesses to locate downtown?

How might we make neighborhoods more livable?
Is parking staff integrated with your neighborhood programs, and do they attend neighborhood meetings? Is your residential permit program one contiguous zone or is it a patchwork of regulated and un-regulated parking? Have you thought about converting the rooftop of a parking structure to a community garden?

How might we change the perception of parking enforcement?

Have you thought about inserting a coupon from a local business in lieu of a parking ticket, a la “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory?” Are your parking enforcement officers dressed in dark blue uniforms, or do they wear khakis or even Hawaiian shirts?

How might we use on-street parking spaces differently?
Have you thought about taking the next step beyond PARK(ing) Day, selling on-street parking spaces to adjacent residents or businesses, and allowing them to decide whether to use them as vehicle parking or something else? Do your parking space permits allow curbside vending or even an old-time bookmobile?

These questions are meant to illicit a reaction and challenge our assumptions of what sustainability means for municipal parking operations. Parking can act as the catalyst that brings economic, environmental, and equity components together through policy, incentives, and conversations. It will look different in every community, but it will work to balance sustainability dimensions. At the end of the day, successful sustainable communities will be the ones that work cooperatively within the municipal organizations, actively work with their community partners, and have the ability to innovate to meet changing needs.

Jeff Petry is parking services manager with the City of Eugene, Ore., and a member of IPI’s Sustainability Committee. He can be reached at jeff.t.petry@ci.eugene.or.us or 541.682.5079

TPP-2012-12-A Sustainable Parking Frontier

Structured Training and Job Success

TPP-2012-12-Structured Training and Job SuccessBy Vicki Pero

Ready. Fire. Aim. When you see these three words in this order, it is obvious that the steps are out of sequence, but employees are often asked to perform their duties without receiving a sufficient amount of training. Comprehensive training plays a key role in ensuring job preparedness for all employees. A structured training plan is documented in writing and includes each training segment to be covered along with delivery method, people involved, and the order in which the overall plan will be completed.

Consider developing a structured training plan for your employees at three key points: upon hire, when a promotion occurs or job duties change, and when an employee needs to further develop a specific skill to prepare for a future promotion or in response to performance concerns.

New Employees
A structured training plan is essential for any new employee. It helps him get up to speed more quickly and demonstrates how much you value him through the time you took to prepare for his arrival and enable his success.

Consider what your employee needs to know to perform his duties, which responsibilities require a dependency from others, and which should be performed earlier than others. The plan can then be structured taking all of these factors into account.

The typical hiring manager’s first priority is for a new employee to be productive as quickly as possible. Achieve a successful balance between learning and work performance by dedicating your new employee’s first week to training and then timing the remaining content over the next 60 to 90 days.

Position Changes
A training plan that supports an employee during a job transition will be critical to his success in the new role.

Consider what new and different skills are required in the new position. Once these are identified, you will be able to determine training units for each and content delivery methods. Sequence the segments based on priority and structure the plan so the employee can complete work tasks and training units simultaneously.

Future Development
Remember when I listed the steps ready, fire, aim? Sometimes employees struggle to perform their job duties because “ready” and “fire” are the only steps taken when they start their new positions. If no structured training was provided, there is a very strong chance the employee will struggle, because “aim” was completely missed. You can help this employee get back on track by developing a training plan.

In this situation, the content is structured around areas where your employee is struggling. This type of training plan may be established and communicated to the employee through a coaching discussion involving specific performance concerns, and where a direct link is made between these concerns and the training provided. The actions your employee takes following this discussion will say a lot about the drivers behind his performance issues. If he embraces the training plan and begins to show signs of improvement quickly, a lack of sufficient training was the issue all along.

Further developing a high-potential employee can help you plan for the future and retain a key performer who wants to continue to be challenged. Consider the next steps in his career path and the skills needed for success. This plan may include more holistic training units that allow your employee to develop skills by going beyond the “how” to the “why.”

The value of training is often underestimated. Managers may view it as something that takes a lot of time away from work for both the hiring manager and the employee. The reality is that investing your time and that of your employees to develop, monitor, and complete structured training plans will better guarantee that they perform at a level that matches expectations, ensuring organization-wide success.

Vicki Pero is principal at the Marilyn Group, LLC, and a member of IPI’s Consultants Committee. She can be reached at vpero@whatsnextco.com or 800.825.6310.

TPP-2012-12-Structured Training and Job Success