Tag Archives: TPP-2013-11-

Class is in Session

TPP-2013-11-Class is in SessionBy Kathleen Federici, M.Ed.

Organizations have a wide range of options from which to choose for employee training and education. Educational delivery methods include instructor-led, self-paced, online learning technologies, or a blended approach that includes instructor-led and online technologies. For convenience and budget purposes, many organizations are increasingly choosing technology to meet educational needs and organizational goals.

The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) defines e-learning as “the use of electronic technologies to deliver information and facilitate the development of skills and knowledge.” According to ASTD, technology-based learning methods account for 37.3 percent of formal educational hours available across all learning methods. Technology-based learning methods are continuing their rise in learning and education.

With the ability to view content on mobile devices such as iPads, e-learning offers increasing flexibility and convenience for the learner who experiences work and family in an increasingly connected world. The flexibility of e-learning breaks down time zone and international constraints, allowing learners to access content whenever is most convenient.

With mobile/cellular subscription numbers nearly totaling the world’s population, organizations have unprecedented opportunities to connect their employees with education wherever workers may be. Technology is challenging organizations to re-think content and education delivery.

Analyzing a one-size-fits-all educational experience and deciding how to properly budget, choosing courses and training options, deciding how to effectively distribute the content, and working to develop a culture of learning and development is challenging. The International Parking Institute (IPI) has implemented a great online tool and resource for use by universities, parking authorities, organizations, and individual learners.

IPI’s Course Development
IPI took the time to research and procure the one of the best learning management systems (LMS) as rated by Training Magazine’s “2012 Top 10 Cloud-Based LMSs.” An LMS is learning software designed to deliver, track, and certify online courses and training. Having a top-10-rated LMS will help us deliver the highest quality educational content.

IPI also procured the most up-to-date course design software possible. As in any industry, technological advances often occur rapidly. To keep up with the technological advances in education and training, beta testing was done for the first HTML 5 software, allowing IPI to deliver online courses to iPads. This mobility adds another level of convenience for our learners.

What’s Offered
IPI’s philosophy on education and training is that learners at all levels are entitled to quality educational opportunities to improve their competence and meet organizational goals. We launched foundational-level courses with the intention of creating intermediate and advanced level courses in the future. Subject matter experts, including the IPI Educational Development Committee and the IPI Parking Technology Committee, have developed and reviewed relevant and current content for use in IPI’s courses.

The courses are intended to provide a framework to assist organizations in satisfying continuous education and training goals. The foundation-level courses currently offered are:

  • Parking Enforcement
  • On-Street Parking
  • Customer Service
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Technology Trends in Parking.

Advancing the profession is just what we are doing with our online learning program. IPI’s online courses and training program launched mid-September and have been quite successful. We have had one large organizational bulk purchase of more than 50 courses, smaller bulk purchases, and many individual purchases, including international purchases. Organizational bulk purchasing is a fast and easy way to train entire departments, and we offer a discounted pricing structure for those situations.

The online learning system currently has several hundred active users. The feedback is tremendously positive and professionals are enjoying both the online learning environment and the interactive content of the courses.

We are ecstatic about the excitement that this program has generated. Each day, we
see an increasing number of requests for bulk purchases, ranging from five registrants to 52. Especially popular courses include parking enforcement, customer service, and conflict resolution.

A common vocabulary is used throughout the courses, which will translate to a common vocabulary being used on the job. All our courses complement one another. The content learned is certainly different for each course as indicated by the course objectives, but the vocabulary used throughout each is a common thread for learning, communication, and team building.

How it Works
Each course consists of knowledge checks, various types of learner interactions, and an end-of-course quiz to determine mastery of the course objectives. Demonstrating the cutting-edge technology used, learners will find that some courses are facilitated by animated characters called avatars.

Prior to beginning the online learning experience, each learner has the option to complete a system tutorial. The system tutorial is a two-minute video on how to navigate the online learning platform (the LMS). Upon purchasing an online course, this tutorial is automatically assigned to each learner at no cost. Our goal is for each learner to have a successful learning experience. To date, 92 percent of users have completed the system tutorial prior to beginning their learning experience.

The logistics of the course include availability for six months from the date of purchase. The courses bookmark, meaning that if the learner does not have the time to complete a course in one sitting, he can close the course without having to start all over. When the learner is ready to return to the course, he will be asked if they want to resume the course where it left off. When the learner resumes, he will start on the same page they left off or can choose to start at the beginning of the course. If a course is completed on the date of purchase, the learner may go in and out of the course as frequently as necessary until the six-month timeframe expires. Regardless of status in the course, each learner will have access for the entire six months.

Successful course completion requires a score of 70 percent or greater on the end-of-course, 10-question quiz. Once successfully completed, the course will grant access to a completion certificate. If a learner completes the course and gains access to his certificate but does not have a printer available, he can return to the course at any time to download and print the certificate at any time up to six months from the date of purchase.

IPI strives to deliver current, relevant and engaging content. However, we need the assistance, feedback, and guidance of the learners completing our courses. Upon completion of each course, students are asked to participate in an end-of-course survey. Our goal of offering high quality content is dependent on learner feedback. I encourage each learner to complete the survey and keep us informed of your needs. We are here to help you meet your professional development goals and commitments.

Educational experiences and solid foundational content are keys to maintaining a high-performing organization. IPI courses and training exist to assist organizations in meeting such goals. Please look for our newest course, Introduction to Parking—coming soon. This course is designed for individuals who are new to the parking industry and would benefit from an orientation or introduction to this dynamic field.

Kathleen M. Federici, M.Ed., is IPI’s director of professional development. She can be reached at federici@parking.org.

TPP-2013-11-Class is in Session

Let the Sun Shine

TPP-2013-11-Let the Sun ShineBy Jon Sarno

Parking lots and garage rooftops offer expansive, un-shaded, and unobstructed spaces that are ideal for housing commercial-scale solar energy solutions. Solar photovoltaics (PV) have long proven a smart choice for parking facilities for a variety of reasons. With the growing trend of installing plug-in electric vehicle charging stations in some parking lots and garages, energy use and operating expenses have also increased, making solar PV parking lots a possible solution for facility owners looking to counteract the increase in energy demand.

Some parking facility owners have taken the route of renting open lot space or unused rooftops to third-party solar developers to build solar installations. This is a way for facility owners to collect rent from the space and add a consistent revenue stream to the bottom line.

Shade structures are great additions to parking lots, offering numerous benefits that include the potential to hold solar panels. By installing energy-efficient LED lighting under the structures in place of often low-efficiency light poles, shade structures can help reduce lighting costs. In addition, elevated shade structures or carports help keep cars dry in inclement weather, provide security from sun and hail damage, and keep cars cooler in hot weather. But the structures can also be used as the racking system for a solar installation, maximizing the utility of the space by adding energy-producing value.

Municipality-Owned Parking Structures
Local, state, and federal agencies are well-positioned to take advantage of solar energy. The combination of building ownership, long-term outlook, and superior credit ratings allows for a variety of potential financing options.

The County of Bexar, Texas, hosts a carport solar installation atop its parking garage. The county has implemented various energy conservation initiatives, and this solar energy system provides electricity to a few of the garage’s onsite plug-in electric vehicle charging stations, as well as additional energy to the commercial offices located on the first floor of the garage. The project’s design and material procurement was completed by Borrego Solar, and its electrical construction was completed by Triple R Electric.

Because of its role as a public entity operating in part through tax revenues, Bexar County felt it would be inappropriate to apply for any municipal solar incentives that would offset a portion of the total installed cost of the solar energy installation; the county paid for the installation with its own funds. Ultimately, throughout the life of the solar energy system, Bexar will save more than $600,000.

Municipalities and/or parking facilities without access to upfront capital have the option of financing a solar energy project through a power purchase agreement (PPA), which is a mechanism through which a third party pays for the installation of the solar system and takes on all finance, design, installation, ownership, and maintenance costs. This third party then pays the savings forward by selling the power back to the parking facility owner at a predetermined, economical rate.

The benefit of a PPA is that it allows parking facilities to enjoy the immediate cost savings and environmental benefits of a renewable energy system without the upfront costs, while third-party investors bear all financial risk and maintenance costs. When the agreement comes to a close, the facility owner has the opportunity to renew the PPA, purchase the system outright at fair market value, or have it removed at no charge.

Santa Clara County, Calif., chose to finance two of its nine parking lot solar installations via a PPA that allowed the county to go solar for no money down. One installation was built at the Valley Health Center parking lot in San Jose, and the other was built at the Gilroy Health Clinic in Gilroy. Both installations took advantage of expansive outdoor parking areas with elevated solar shade structures that do double duty, providing shade to more than 400 outdoor parking spaces.

The installations were built as part of Santa Clara County’s commitment to using renewable energy at its facilities. Per the PPA agreement, the county is purchasing the clean, renewable energy that the installations produce at competitive rates that are less than what they pay the local utility.

The San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) is another example of a public entity using a PPA to install nearly three megawatts of solar without an upfront capital investment. Through the PPA, SDCCD was able to install elevated shade structures on four open asphalt parking lots at different community college campuses, and on the top floor of the parking deck used by the district office headquarters staff. The district is realizing an 18 percent savings on what it was paying their former utility, which is equivalent to approximately $110,000 per year.

There are other ways to generate income through solar projects, including solar energy procurement programs focused on wholesale distributed generation (WDG). Such programs allow property owners to lease their unused rooftops or spaces to solar developers, which generates a guaranteed revenue stream at no expense and without operating risk, while increasing the property’s resale value.

This is similar to leasing rooftop space to phone companies looking for space to host their cell phone towers. Here’s how it works: instead of owning or leasing a solar energy system itself, parking lot and garage owners can rent a facility’s rooftop to a solar project developer. This is, in effect, the same idea as having a tenant, only this one is not under the roof as much as it’s positioned atop a parking garage or lot. WDG projects are small, wholesale generators that sell energy directly to the utility, rather than delivering energy to the user to credit a specific utility bill or meter.

The tenant—a solar developer, an independent third party, or a partnership between the two—installs and owns the solar installation. WDG mechanisms effectively align the interests of the tenant with those of the parking facility owner: the tenant obtains a contract to sell the clean energy to the local utility, then installs the system, generates revenue from selling energy to the utility, and pays rent to the facility owner for use of the space. This arrangement has no effect on facility operations. With WDG projects, the lessor doesn’t have to worry about how much energy is being produced or if the installation isn’t operating properly, because their revenue is strictly tied to leasing the used square footage and not energy production.

Typically, WDG projects are located near a point of interconnection to the grid, such as on top of and/or near an existing building tied to the utility’s power lines (either above or below ground). Parking facilities with large, flat, and un-shaded spaces, with solid infrastructures, and in close proximity to an existing point of interconnection to the grid are some of the most cost-effective locations to install WDG solar solutions.

Because not all properties are a good fit for WDG projects and because it can be difficult to work with utilities on permitting and interconnection, it’s important to find a solar partner who has developed a track record of successfully developing WDG projects. The solar partner you choose should also have experience developing and constructing several megawatts (at a minimum) of rooftop and ground-mounted, commercial-scale solar energy solutions. They should also have immediate access to project financing, and should help address any site and permitting issues through a properly drafted lease.

Solar has proven to be an economical solution for parking facility owners and/or local governments and municipalities working to reduce their energy costs and tap into available resources and programs. With the right analysis of the opportunities and associated hurdles, and thanks to increasing federal and state mandates and support for solar becoming ubiquitous, solar is benefiting other parking facilities throughout the country.

Jon Sarno is senior project developer with Borrego Solar. He can be reached at jsarno@borregosolar.com.

TPP-2013-11-Let the Sun Shine

Car Sharing at a Mile High

TPP-2013-11-Car Sharing at a Mile HighBy Robert Ferrin

Launched earlier this year, Denver’s car sharing program is a fee-based service that provides a shared vehicle fleet to members 24 hours per day, seven days per week, at unattended self-service locations. Car use is provided at minute-based, hourly, or per-mile rates that include fuel, insurance, and maintenance. The program is part of a multi-modal approach that provides mobility options to residents, employees, and visitors while helping solve the final mile issue, connecting transit with employment and activity centers when walking and cycling are not feasible. Car share supports Denver’s goal of pursuing innovative and diverse mobility solutions to address growth and maximize the use of our existing transportation network.

Two policy documents highlight the importance of car share in the overall transportation network. First, the Denver Zoning Code includes provisions to incentivize car share through off-street parking reductions. Second, Denver’s Strategic Parking Plan, a comprehensive city-wide framework that helps articulate the city’s approach to parking management, recommends implementing a car share program to encourage the use of multiple transportation modes to manage parking demand.

Denver Public Works began a multi-year pilot program with local car share operator eGo Car Share, to better understand the viability of on-street car sharing. The pilot demonstrated a higher demand for car share vehicles parked on-street versus off-street. Success of the pilot program and the aggressive expansion of car share programs in other cities drove the city’s parking operations department to implement a new set of car share rules and regulations. This year-long effort resulted in the administration of a car share permit program that is open to all qualifying car share operators, independent of their operational characteristics.

With the Strategic Parking Plan as a foundation, parking operations organized a working group with representatives from the parking policy, operations, and enforcement divisions to create a comprehensive program to administer car share in the public right-of-way (ROW). The team set three program goals:

  • Increase mobility options.
  • Reduce parking demand.
  • Reduce traffic congestion.

The overarching framework for car share policies focused on setting a regulatory environment for the private car share market to expand in Denver while ensuring the continued balanced needs of existing uses in the ROW. The policies were designed to attract multiple vendors to the market with the understanding that multiple vendors with varying operational structures would meet the program goals.

Dedicated Space Permits
The city’s permit program rules and regulations enable qualifying car share operators to apply for two types of annual permits: dedicated space or vehicle area permits. Dedicated space permits have signage installed by the public works department that demarks each space with the car share company’s logo. Operators are required to have their logos visible on the vehicles for both customer recognition and enforcement purposes.

Each vehicle is permitted by license plate, with permit-specific information that is available to the city’s ROW enforcement team. Each dedicated space is signed as a tow-away zone to keep the spaces clear. Operators are required to maintain 75 percent of their total car share fleet off-street. This requirement ensures balance in the parking lane with other uses and provides car share opportunities in areas where on-street dedicated spaces are not feasible.

They must also purchase permits for on-street spaces and place a minimum of one vehicle in an opportunity area, defined as neighborhoods where at least 30 percent of the population lives in poverty and with low vehicle accessibility. Vehicles in opportunity areas are incentivized through a lower annual fee; downtown spaces are allocated at a cost of $750 annually, non-downtown neighborhood spaces cost $500, and opportunity area fees are $250. The fee structure also disincentivizes the use of metered parking spaces for car share dedicated spaces. Operators must pay a higher fee if they choose to remove a meter. In most neighborhoods, this would more than double the fee for unmetered space.

To balance parking lane uses, maximum allocations were placed on a per-operator and per-geographic-area basis. Program policies state that up to 30 dedicated spaces can be allocated downtown, with operator maximums in place to ensure a diverse offering of services to customers. Each operator may have up to 30 total locations to ensure balance. Opportunity areas do not count against operator maximums, which is another way these policies encourage the placement of vehicles in low-income areas.

Vehicle Area Permits

By contrast, vehicle area permits are vehicle-specific. This exempts permitted vehicles from meter payment, residential permit parking restrictions, and time limits of two hours or more. Vehicle area permits enable one-way, point-to-point car sharing in Denver and can be an additional benefit to traditional car share operators.

The $850 annual vehicle area permit fee was established based on the estimated idle time each vehicle would be parked at a parking meter. Enforcement agents can access the permit database via wireless handheld devices to enforce the permit program. Multiple sessions with ROW enforcement agents were scheduled prior to the launch of the program and training occurs on a consistent basis to reinforce the exemptions the vehicle area permit provides. These two permit options allow traditional, round trip, one-way, and point-to-point operations to coexist under the same program.

An initial review of the city code revealed that the public works manager had the authority to approve these rules and regulations given certain stipulations; this is consistent with other programs that regulate the ROW. These requirements included receiving public input over a 20-day period before holding a public meeting. The process was augmented by the project team attending numerous neighborhood and stakeholder meetings to gather input for the program policies. Input was also gathered from the car share operators themselves to ensure that policies not only supported the goals of the community, but also encouraged car share companies to establish operations in Denver.

The stakeholder outreach process and public hearing garnered support from both the community and car share operators nationally. The rules and regulations were approved by public works in late May, laying the groundwork for operators to apply for both permit types.


Following the approval process, operations, permitting, and enforcement teams worked diligently to confirm the application, citation adjudication, and permitting processes for car share operators. Operators responded immediately, with car2go launching a fleet of 300 vehicles in early June 2013, using the vehicle area permit.

For dedicated spaces, interested operators were provided with a map of predetermined locations for the downtown area, which is the highest demand area for car share. Denver Public Works thoroughly reviewed every downtown location that could accommodate car share vehicles without removing existing metered parking and while maximizing the current transportation network. Throughout downtown, existing no-parking areas at the corners of intersections were identified as viable spaces for car share vehicles. Because the specific profile of a vehicle is controlled in the permitting process and car share vehicles are typically small, cars could be placed in these undersized spaces while maintaining safe sight distance between vehicles and pedestrians.

Furthermore, as metered parking was unaffected and car share spaces are known to reduce overall parking demand, the city saw a net increase in parking inventory. Demand for these spaces exceeded availability, so a weighted lottery system was initially used to allocate 28 of the 30 dedicated spaces to four operators: eGo Car Share, Zipcar, Hertz 24/7, and car2go. Signage provided by public works was installed in late July, and vehicles are now available for use by the community.

Lessons Learned
The project team learned several lessons throughout the process, from rules and regulations formulation to implementation. Continued and focused citizen education on car share as a transportation mode and the intricacies of the rules and regulations was needed. Whether at public meetings or through media attention, the learning curve was steeper than first expected. Enforcement from a vehicle area and dedicated space permit perspective is challenging, as these permits provide exemptions from fundamental parking restrictions. Continued education to both enforcement teams and car share members is critical to the success of any comprehensive car share permit program.

Finally, sound financial information about the positive aspects of car share are crucial to garnering support for the program. Municipalities can look beyond permit fees when analyzing the financial implications of car share and focus on sales tax revenue generation, vehicle ownership fees, property taxes, and the jobs that are created by the ever-growing transportation industry.

Since approval in late May 2013, Denver’s car share market has grown from approximately 60 to 500 vehicles, and from four to six operators. The private sector’s investment in Denver through car share is well more than $5 million and continues to grow with the addition of more vehicles, employees, and support services. The car share permit program is a great example of a uniquely Denver approach to a comprehensive framework for incorporating multiple car share operating types under one set of policies. It also exemplifies how public policy can enable and encourage private sector investment and assist in meeting the mobility goals of a community.

Robert Ferrin is parking and planning program administrator with the City and County of Denver Public Works department. He can be reached at robert.ferrin@denvergov.org or 720.913.4509.

TPP-2013-11-Car Sharing at a Mile High

Minimum Efforts

TPP-2013-11-Minimum Efforts
By Daniel Rowe

Multifamily residential buildings often provide too much parking, which can be an impediment to achieving a wide range of community goals. King County Metro Transit (Metro), Seattle, Wash., recently embarked on a project to rewrite the rules for multifamily parking.

Through its Right Size Parking Project, Metro developed data-driven tools to estimate parking use based on context-sensitive land use, transit, and building characteristics. It engaged planners and decision makers to assess existing zoning code and incorporate market-based mechanisms and parking management strategies. It also joined with financiers, developers, and property managers to understand how pricing and transportation demand management (TDM) techniques can support smart growth development and more affordable housing. Together, this multidisciplinary approach is providing the tools needed to balance parking supply with competing interests while achieving economic development and community goals alike.

A grant from the Federal Highway Administration’s Value Pricing Pilot Program provided Metro with the opportunity to show the rest of the country how multifamily parking reform can become a reality.

The Cost of Oversupply
Based on data collected from this project, parking in multifamily buildings in King County is oversupplied by an average of 0.4 stalls per dwelling unit. This accounts for approximately $400,000 in unused parking costs for an average development.

As we know, an oversupply of parking can have deleterious effects on economic development, consumers, and the community. The high cost of parking construction and maintenance drives construction costs up and reduces the supply of affordable housing. Unless parking costs are unbundled, or separated from the cost of housing, households are forced to pay for parking whether they need it or not.

Even when parking costs are unbundled, developers can almost never charge the full cost-recovery price for parking due to concerns about sticker shock from their customers. Parking makes up 10-20 percent of the cost to construct multifamily buildings in King County, but only 6 percent is recovered through parking charges. This cross-subsidization causes a distorted market for parking and reduces the ability of pricing to be used as a tool to manage parking demand. Lower-income households are especially burdened by this distortion, as they typically have lower rates of auto ownership and spend a larger percentage of their income on housing.

Another issue: Excess parking leads to increased land consumption and sprawl, lower-density development, and greater distances between buildings, which can deter walking, transit use, and efficient transit service operations. On the other hand, providing too little parking can also be a significant risk in terms of real estate marketability and effects on on-street parking in nearby communities.

These problems suggest that the provision of parking should be right-sized and strike a delicate balance between supply and demand by providing parking that will ensure real estate marketability and minimize effects on on-street parking, without presenting a barrier to meeting community goals.

Existing parking data resources and tools tend to be inappropriate for growing suburban and urban communities, especially when they don’t account for differences in transit access, land use, demographics, and building types. To provide better quantitative tools to predict parking use at multifamily sites, especially in complex, growing suburban settings, Metro completed an extensive data collection and modeling effort.

The process started by collecting data from more than 200 properties in King County, representing a variety of location and housing types. Utilization field data was collected using Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) standards; parking counts were completed during peak parking hours for multifamily properties during non-holiday weekdays.

The results were consistent with many empirical studies from around the county: parking was oversupplied in all place type designations (see Figure 1). Using regression analysis, Metro then found the seven most influential variables in predicting parking use—five pertained to the property or development characteristics, and two focused on the built environment, specifically access. A statistical model was constructed with an R-square value of 81.0 percent, meaning that 81 percent of the variation of multifamily parking use could be explained through the seven variables.

With help from the Center for Neighborhood Technology, the King County Multifamily Residential Parking Calculator (rightsizeparking.org) was created to provide web-based access to the research (see Figure 2). The website tool condenses complex research findings into a simple map-based format that’s accessible to a wide variety of stakeholders. Using the statistical model to estimate parking use, the site illustrates outputs for most developable parcels in King County. Users have the ability to select a parcel, input details specific to a proposed development, adjust factors of the built environment, and see the new estimated parking use as an expression of vehicles per dwelling unit.

The ability to alter these characteristics and compare the effects of alternative scenarios enables stakeholders making economic, regulatory, and community decisions about development to weigh factors that will affect parking use at multifamily housing sites.

Goals and Results
Parking regulations that allow parking supply to be balanced with actual demand can help promote community goals and create a rational market for priced parking. Parking codes may not be up to date in many King County municipalities, with changes in land use, demographics, and consumer preferences that have already reduced—and could potentially further reduce—the demand for parking. In some municipalities, parking minimums do not take into account that demand varies based on unit type, occupant income, proximity to transit, or other contextual factors.

To support cities that were looking to update parking code, Metro developed model code language using best practices from around the county and results from the project’s research phase. The end result is a tiered recommendation: In the best case, cities would adopt a market-based approach where parking requirements are removed and the amount of parking supplied in multifamily projects is determined by the developer’s determination of customer/tenant needs. This market-based approach is recommended to most efficiently achieve community goals, as it can help avoid overbuilt parking caused by minimums that are set higher than demand. It is important to note that a market-based strategy is most effectively used with on-street parking management to mitigate potential parking spillover to on-street spaces.

Minimum requirements for off-street parking are often deeply entrenched in most land use codes, and completely removing them is likely to be challenging, both procedurally and politically. For these reasons, the second option—a context-based approach—is also outlined as a flexible way to regulate parking. Well-executed, this approach sets minimums at a sweet spot that doesn’t cause overbuilding, reduces parking spillover risk to the surrounding community, and reduces the need for on-street parking management.

Most municipalities already have code that incorporates some features of a context-based approach, but Metro’s model code work provides a menu of options that allows planners to pick and choose the options that fit best with their unique built environment and political climate.

Building from the model code developed by Metro, a series of policy change pilot projects will be launched in 2014 to adjust parking minimums, manage on-street parking, incorporate shared parking programs, and assess residential permit programs. Jurisdictions in King County will apply the findings from the Right Size Parking Project and lead by example.

Looking Ahead

In King County, anywhere between 25 and 100 percent of the cost to build parking is absorbed into the cost of housing. As stated earlier, this cross-subsidization can decrease housing affordability, distort the market for parking, and present serious negative effects to lower-income housing dwellers. Metro is working with developers, financiers, and property managers to explore how pricing and TDM techniques can help reduce the cross-subsidization of parking and facilitate a larger market sector of residents with lower automobile ownership.

At a minimum, unbundling or separating the costs of parking from housing is an approach to reduce cross-subsidization and supply parking more efficiently. This reduces incidents of individuals paying for unneeded or unused parking as part of their housing costs.

Metro’s research found that urban market-rate projects include a parking price elasticity calculated at -0.47, which indicates that if parking price was increased by 10 percent, parking use would decrease by almost 5 percent. This relationship suggests that developers or property managers looking to lower parking use can combine pricing and TDM in urban areas where viable alternatives to owning a car exist. Similar to Metro’s aforementioned policy change pilots, the agency will look for multifamily developers and managers to partner in demonstrating how parking pricing can be combined with TDM to reduce parking needs, reduce household expenditures, and support increased transit, bike, and walk trips.

This project has enabled Metro to develop new tools to support both public and private sector parking reform. These tools can be used by local stakeholders to help shape development in a way that optimizes parking supply and supports transit use. While the tools are intended to help support and guide parking supply and management decisions, they should not be viewed as a definitive answer. Rather, they should be seen as a resource to inform discussions, weigh the factors affecting parking demand, help consider the proper provision of parking, and provide a template and process to be used in similar analyses and applied projects in other regions. By following the guidance of locally credible and context-sensitive data on parking demand, we have the opportunity to support economic development, reduce housing costs, improve the pedestrian environment, increase transportation choices, and encourage public use of transit, rideshare, biking, and walking through parking supplies that are right-sized in new multifamily developments.

In King County, Metro will partner with local jurisdictions and developers to put the research into practice and demonstrate the benefits of parking strategies outlined in our project. It is our hope that cities around the country will expand on our work and continue to support parking reform with the goal of creating more sustainable, transit-friendly communities of the future.

Daniel Rowe is a transportation planner with King County Metro Transit. He can be reached at daniel.rowe@kingcounty.gov or 206.263.3586.

TPP-2013-11-Minimum Efforts

The Ties that Bond

TPP-2013-11-The Ties that BondBy Bill Smith, APR

When we think about different cities, we tend to think about what sets them apart. Omaha, Neb., with 421,570 residents in 130.58 square miles, may seem like a middle-American oasis where the pace of life is slower and old-fashioned values still reign. Beverly Hills, population 34,290 in 5.7 square miles, is the elegant community where the rich and famous live—swimming pools, movie stars. Each city has its own distinctive flavor.

But when it comes to parking, cities have more in common than we might think. In spite of each community’s unique population, business community, and geographic characteristics, cities across North America share many of the same parking challenges. According to parking directors and consultants, cities tend to face the same parking issues and challenges, and parking officials can learn a lot about how to overcome them from the experiences of other cities.

How Much Parking Is Too Much?
One of the biggest challenges facing cities is the decades-old practice of mandating parking minimums for new development. According to Kenneth Smith, CAPP, city parking director in Omaha, parking minimums were part of “the suburban modeling that came about after World War II.”

“Today, cities are starting to rethink that suburban modeling,” says Smith. “They are starting to look at parking maximums rather than minimums.”
Steffen Turoff, parking planner with Walker Parking Consultants, agrees that the question of how much parking is needed is a vital one.

“The traditional suburban model requires that every property not only must provide its own parking, but in most cases, must do so on the same parcel, “ says Turoff. “When you put that kind of requirement on properties in a dense downtown area, the spatial constraints can make satisfying the parking requirement economically unfeasible, if not physically impossible.

“Also,” he adds, “many cities find that the dirty little secret of off-street parking requirements is that although the additional off-street parking is supposed to reduce parking demand and occupancy for their on-street spaces, the typical driver would still rather park on the street. A municipality may have to pay more attention to its on-street parking management and pricing strategies if it wants people to utilize­ some of those off-street spaces it’s requiring and not keep circling the block in search of a cheap and conveniently-located on-street space.”

Beverly Hills faces these very challenges. According to Chad Lynn, CAPP, director of parking operations for the city, it still views parking through a traditional lens. There is very little shared parking in town, so while parking spaces may be well utilized during the day, they go largely empty at night.

“Beverly Hills has always approached parking with the philosophy of ‘if you are building it, you have to park it’,” says Lynn. “One of the biggest challenges is educating the community about the benefits of shared parking and using parking planning more strategically.”

Smith, Turoff, and Lynn all agree that communication is vital—and not always easy. “Parking tends to be an afterthought for people,” says Smith.

Parking planning, though, is an essential element of urban planning. It plays a vital role in downtown business development and the quality of life in any community. Parking managers across the country often struggle with how to keep the public informed about their parking plans and how those plans benefit the community.

Dollars and Sense
Financing is always a challenge for cities and towns. There never seems to be enough money to pay for day-to-day operations and key initiatives. And with a plethora of municipal agencies and departments, it can be difficult to manage the various financial aspects of keeping a city running.

When it comes to parking, financial challenges are often exacerbated by the fact that different operational responsibilities are paid for through different budgets. One budget covers capital improvements while another might cover enforcement and still another administration. The technology revolution that is making parking administration much more efficient and affordable is actually triggering new financial challenges.

Traditionally, cities’ greatest outlays have been made to pay for the capital costs associated with developing and maintaining parking facilities. Administrative funds were typically set aside to pay for enforcement and management. Today, however, new technologies are constantly being introduced that can save cities and towns thousands of dollars a year in operational costs. The problem is they tend to operate through subscriptions and municipal budgets are often set up to accommodate large one-time capital outlays rather than ongoing payments.

“Separate budgets are a huge issue,” says Turoff. “We sometimes work on projects where the introduction of a new policy, operational procedure, or technology could significantly reduce the number of parking spaces the owner must build, and the capital expenditure associated with those spaces. But while the budget has been approved and is sitting in an account for the construction of those spaces, those same funds cannot be tapped for additional operations staff, a cash-out program to reduce employee parking demand, or new parking guidance technology that could shave 15 percent off that capital expenditure.

“You could spend $200,000 for a technology that will save $2 million, but most cities can’t do that because their parking funds are sitting in a capital development budget rather than an operational budget,” says Turoff.

The parking industry is rapidly changing as newer and better technological tools are introduced. Cities and towns need to move with this trend.

“The industry seems to be shifting from capital investment to ongoing investment,” says Lynn. “We need to rethink the way we allocate money to pay for parking planning and administration.”

The Promise of the Technology Age

Of course, cities share more than common challenges. The trends that are sweeping the industry are benefiting different cities in similar ways.

“We introduced smart meters in Omaha several months ago, and they are already providing important benefits,” says Smith. “They allow us to gather data about parking habits and peak usage so we evaluate our current pricing and create pricing models for everyday parking and events.”

Lynn agrees. “Credit card meter technology has opened up the possibility of adjusting our rates to better meet the city’s revenue and urban planning needs,” he says. “In the past, we were limited in how much we could charge because there are only so many quarters people can carry around to pay for parking. Smart meters have had a profound impact on the city’s revenue stream.”

According to Lynn, Beverly Hills, like many cities and towns, charged too little for valuable on-street parking spaces for years. Not only did the city sacrifice valuable revenues, but traditional pricing models that undervalued parking limited parking’s effects on the city’s overall urban and business development plans.

Mobile payment is another trend that is benefiting many cities. Omaha is on the cusp of introducing mobile payment at each of its 5,000 metered spaces. According to Smith, mobile payment will pay immediate dividends to parkers by providing another convenient payment option. It will also help streamline the city’s enforcement program and allow Omaha’s parking administration to monitor when parking spaces in various parts of the city are most likely to be occupied, and to make strategic planning decisions based on that utilization data.

There is one area where technology’s benefits come with accompanying challenges though. There are hundreds of different technologies that help streamline operations in different ways. But they have to be able to integrate with each other to work properly. For instance, a cloud-based storage management program that is used by enforcement officers needs to work with the handheld software tools they are already using. As new tools are introduced and implemented, it becomes that much more complicated to integrate them into one seamless system.

“The great thing about technology is that it’s constantly being upgraded,” says Lynn. “But when you upgrade a system you have to figure out how much it will affect the other tools you’re using.”

Smith agrees, saying “The key to integration is making sure that all of the tools have open architecture to integrate enforcement, on- and off-street parking tools, and parking apps. It would be nice to have one app that will work across the board, but for now all you can do is make sure that everything you’re working on can be coordinated.”

“The new technologies show great promise, but they aren’t without challenges,” says Turoff, “particularly in the early stages of implementation. Because many cities are exploring the use of these new technologies, it’s good to find out what the experience of other cities has been first, including any problems with integration.”

There are many things that set cities apart: the people who live there, the businesses they have, their traditions. Each is unique. But when it comes to parking, there is more binding them together than separating them.

Bill Smith, APR, is principal of Smith-Phillips Strategic Communications and contributing editor of The Parking Professional. He can be reached at bsmith@smith-phillips.com or 603.491.4280.

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Overnight Options

TPP-2013-11-Overnight OptionsBy Mike Estey

It’s not often that those of us who manage on-street
parking for city governments do something that results in near-universal praise. But it happened here in Seattle!

Seattle has an active nightlife. While grunge may have put our music scene on the map a couple of decades ago, Seattle has long offered an eclectic and diverse array of clubs and nighttime music options. Hand-in-hand with our thriving music industry is our growing reputation for culinary excellence. Exciting new restaurants can be found in many neighborhood business districts, and they span the gamut of internationally-inspired cuisine—maybe you saw some on “Top Chef Seattle” earlier this year. And now, dozens of food trucks are adding to the mix.

For what else is Seattle known? Its parking, of course! Starting in 2004, Seattle began replacing its single-space electronic and mechanical meters with multi-space pay-and-display pay stations. Today, more than 2,100 pay stations regulate about 12,500 on-street paid parking spaces. Since 2010, Seattle has collected annual on-street parking data in all paid parking areas, and the city adjusts neighborhood-specific rates to achieve a desired occupancy of one to two available spaces per blockface. Parking rates vary from $1 per hour in some neighborhood business districts to $4 per hour downtown. Time limits range from two to 10 hours, again, to achieve the desired occupancy in our data-driven, outcome-based system.

So, where do the worlds of parking, music, and fine dining intersect? Well, at about the place where people are getting ready to pay the check after dessert, after the headline band has finished its final encore with a “Goodnight, Seattle!” and after the bartender has bellowed a “last call” to weary patrons at 2 a.m. Many of those people have a key decision to make once they get to the sidewalk: “Am I O.K. to drive?” For those who answer, “probably not,” Seattle has done a couple of things to help, and some involve parking.

Overnight Parking Options
In 2011, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) re-programmed all of its 2,100 pay stations to allow for evening pre-purchase of the next day’s parking. Here’s how it works:

Paid city on-street parking ends at 6 p.m. in some areas and at 8 p.m. in others. From 10 p.m. until paid parking officially begins the next morning at 8 a.m., our pay stations are programmed to allow customers to pre-pay for the next morning’s parking. Seattle’s pay stations are pay-and-display and dispense a sticky-backed receipt, so parkers can place the receipts for pre-paid parking on the inside of their vehicle windows facing out. The pre-payment receipts have been colloquially dubbed “liquor stickers.”

This option provides a safe alternative for those who may have had too many drinks to drive, without having to worry about their car being towed at 8 a.m. the next day. Drivers can choose a safe alternative such as a cab and give themselves a little extra time the next morning to safely retrieve their cars.

By late 2011, about 2,000 pre-paid payments were made each month. Today, that number has risen to more than 3,000 pre-paid vehicles per month. Since its inception in May 2011, more than 60,000 pre-payment purchases have been made between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.

Safety First

In comparison with the almost 1 million total monthly transactions made at Seattle’s pay stations, the pre-payment figures are relatively small. But how many of those 3,000 per month might have otherwise made a bad choice, and at what potential cost to themselves or others?

Impaired drivers account for nearly half of all traffic fatalities in Seattle. Those who drink too much and get behind the wheel are more likely to speed, be inattentive behind the wheel, and fail to yield to pedestrians, bicyclists, and other drivers. It takes impaired drivers twice as long as sober drivers to react.

“When it comes to our road safety efforts, we are taking an ‘all of the above’ approach,” said Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn at an update on the program earlier this year. “That’s why we are making it easier to park your car on our streets overnight to reduce the likelihood of impaired driving.”

Are all pre-paid transactions made by people choosing not to drink and drive? Probably not. For some, pre-payment offers a potential convenience that may have nothing at all to do with a pub crawl or late-night show. But by making this option available, we’ve removed a barrier and enhanced the flexibility of our system to better serve our customers.

How has this been received? Outside of a few giggly jokes about the liquor sticker, the initiative has garnered near-universal praise. Seattle media headlines have been unusually positive: “No More Parking Hangovers.” And while most of us usually avoid the comments section of media articles like the plague, especially where parking is concerned, in this case it is hard to find a negative word: “Wow. This is a pretty awesome idea.” “A fresh idea, approved by many people, actually implemented by a department. Hope to see more of this.” “Fantastic, way overdue idea.”

Pre-paid parking is just one element of Mayor Michael McGinn’s Nightlife Initiative—a comprehensive set of strategies designed to facilitate a thriving Seattle nightlife. The initiative seeks to enhance public safety while improving urban vibrancy and supporting local businesses.

In late 2011, SDOT unveiled five new late-night taxi stands as part of the Nightlife Initiative. The stands provide a safe and visible sidewalk location for people to grab taxis in several of the city’s entertainment hubs. They operate nightly from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

And while transit runs far less frequently in the wee hours of “last call,” Seattle has communicated where and when that transit service is available, in support of the mayor’s “all of the above” approach to giving people options to getting behind the wheel.

Getting the Word Out
Rolling these initiatives together, the city has branded its approach to provide an element of fun and visual consistency to its message. “Three easy ways to get home—park it, cab it, transit.” In the case of the late-night taxi zones, branded icons and signs supplement traditional regulatory signs on the street. Similar branding can be found on pay station graphics to inform people of the pre-payment option.

Seattle has also worked with the local music and nightlife community to publicize and communicate the options to safely get home, including advertising on coasters in bars. Later this year, the city will take a page from Austin and Nashville to locate several musician loading zones adjacent to some of the city’s more popular music clubs, to ensure musicians can reliably load and unload their equipment as close to these venues as possible. The zones will be in effect from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m., which will allow them to continue to serve the general public outside those hours. A standard 30-minute loading zone regulatory sign will be accompanied by a branded “Priority for Musicians” sign underneath.

Also, Seattle is in the process of deploying pay-by-phone. By the end of October, wherever there is on-street paid parking, people will have the option to pay with their cellular devices. Seattle is working with its vendor, Pay By Phone, to ensure that the parking pre-payment option is also available for those who choose to use this service.

Our city will continue to look for common-sense solutions and innovative ways to give people safe options to enjoy all the city’s nightlife has to offer. As summarized by SDOT Director Peter Hahn, “This is a common-sense effort using our existing parking meter technology to help discourage impaired driving and give people more options. We’re pleased that it has proven so popular.”

Mike Estey is manager of parking operations and traffic permits with the Seattle Department of Transportation. He can be reached at mike.estey@seattle.gov or 206.684.8132.

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Media Masters

TPP-2013-11-Media MastersBy Gary A. Means, CAPP

T wenty-five years ago, I was studying to receive my bachelor’s degree in broadcasting from Eastern Kentucky University, and all I thought about was producing music videos. That was back in the ’80s, when MTV was in its heyday; I also had a lot more hair and played bass in a Christian rock band. I never dreamed of being in front of the camera, and certainly never dreamed of being a parking professional.

Fast-forward to January 2008: I was attending IPI’s Certified Administrator of Public Parking (CAPP) two-day seminar called, “You’re On!—How the Media Gets Your Message,” and was just as nervous as the rest of the class. Doing mock interviews in front of a TV camera with a very bright light in my face or being grilled about a make-believe parking facility disaster in a mock radio interview wasn’t easy, but it was great practice! Little did I know that only months later, I would be asked difficult questions by local reporters when we rolled out the LEXPARK program, which included not only new technology but a 400 percent rate increase for on-street parking in Lexington, Ky.

Open Records Requests
Last year, the Lexington and Fayette County Parking Authority (LPA) received an open records request from our local paper, the Lexington Herald-Leader. The request was very broad in scope and included several years of citation data, including personal data such as names and addresses of vehicle owners. I was a little nervous about what they were up to and was reluctant to release so much information from our database, but after receiving advice from the city of Lexington that we should comply, we reluctantly did.

Several weeks went by before the Herald-Leader investigative reporters got back in touch with us, asking many new questions about the data. This time we took the approach, “If you can’t beat them, you might as well join them,” and were as helpful as possible answering the reporters’ questions. We could tell by the amount of time and research the paper was spending on this topic that it would be some sort of feature story and we were very nervous about the outcome.

The story was published on March 23, 2013, on the front page of the paper. The headline read. “Doing fine: LEXPARK has improved Lexington’s parking enforcement.”

What we initially believed to be a sort of witch hunt turned out to be a very positive story that shed light on the hard work and improvements that the LPA made since taking over parking from the city. Reporters Josh Kegley and Linda J. Johnson wrote an 1,800-word story with lines such as:

“Cars parked at expired meters—or otherwise parked illegally—are nearly three times as likely to wind up with a ticket on the windshield than they were five years ago. The increase in parking citations is courtesy—if you will—of the efforts of the Lexington Parking Authority.

“About five years into the program, the Parking Authority has established a self-sufficient organization that writes more tickets, makes more money and provides the city with a more concentrated effort to pursue scofflaws. The money from fines has been used to modernize and improve parking services and help repair aging garages such as the Annex Garage downtown, which is undergoing a $3.1 million restoration.”

The story also included great quotes from individuals that included a city councilman: “The Parking Authority has been a real value to our community,” said George Myers, an Urban County councilman, “It has really shone light on what our true parking situation is downtown.”

And Lexington’s commissioner of finance: “When the city ran things, money from fines and fees could be used for other budgetary needs,” said Bill O’Mara, Lexington’s commissioner of finance. “The loss of income is not a major blow, though, because the city did not collect much to begin with due to funding and staff shortages,” O’Mara said. “When the city had it, the assets were underperforming. It was marginal what kind of return they had on an annual basis,” he said. “The Parking Authority has been … making money each year that can be reinvested in parking.”

They also printed this quote from a downtown business owner who received 148 tickets (more than anyone else in the city) since 2007: “Even though I hate getting tickets, it’s easier to find parking downtown.”

Through our experience with the reporters and this story, we learned a valuable lesson in working with the media: you really can help shape the story if you help reporters do their jobs.

Just a little more than a week later, the Lexington Herald-Leader Editorial Board published a short piece about the creation of the parking authority entitled, “Lexington’s parking move is paying off.” It included the following:

“Five years ago public parking in downtown Lexington was a mess. It was hard to find a space and parking structures were poorly maintained. The job of writing tickets fell to police officers, which they only did when they didn’t have anything better to do, which wasn’t often. The city handled collections but that also was a low priority so barely half of tickets written were ever paid. The small amount of money collected went into the city’s general fund and so wasn’t designated for maintaining or upgrading either parking facilities or enforcement. That’s all changed, as a recent analysis by the Herald-Leader’s Josh Kegley and Linda Johnson showed. The jobs of managing public parking, writing and collecting fines and planning for better, more efficient parking were consolidated in 2008 under the Lexington Parking Authority. Finally, parking was someone’s priority. But the goal isn’t just to harass parkers and collect more money, it’s to make more parking available, and that’s happened, too. With better enforcement, people who work downtown no longer use metered spaces to park all day, freeing hundreds up for customers who come to the city center to do business, eat, shop, or be entertained.”

The newspaper’s board members would not have known those details had we not worked to give reporters an understanding of our mission.

Lightning Strikes Twice
Not too long after those stories came out, we received another open records request from WKYT, our local CBS affiliate. They requested a list of the individuals with three or more outstanding citations. This time we were much more accommodating, still a little apprehensive, but very willing to help with the story. The reporter Kristen Kennedy tells me that at first they planned to do a piece on the people who hadn’t paid up.

“But,” Kristen said, “after speaking with LEXPARK leaders, we realized their frustrations at not getting people to pay were more compelling.” She added, “We worked with those leaders to set up a ride-along, to show viewers just how difficult their jobs can be. In the end, working with LEXPARK—talking with leaders, doing a ride-along—proved far more beneficial for both parties than just crunching numbers from an open records request.”

At the LPA, we certainly have learned our lessons on working with the media and the benefits of providing them with as much information as possible to help shape a story.

One Final Thought
Try to get on a noon show or radio talk show! Noon shows or any local media interview type shows are a perfect format for getting the word out about a new facility, new program, rate change or an upgrade in technology. They are always looking for things to talk about that affect the community. Plus, the format is friendly and allows you to get your story out there. We have been privileged to be on three noon show programs on two different television stations in the past five months, talking about our garage renovation work and upgrades in parking technologies.

As they say, “break a leg!”

Gary A. Means, CAPP, is executive director of the Lexington Parking Authority. He can be reached at gmeans@lexingtonky.gov or 859.233.7275.

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Tangible Personal Property Regulations and Parking Facilities

TPP-2013-11-Tangible Personal Property Regulations and Parking FacilitiesBy Dominick Brook

A parking facility can contain all sorts of equipment beyond the actual structure, including meters, signs, attendant booths, entrance and exit gates, lighting, and parking ticket scanners. All these assets and the structure itself are subject to tangible property regulations that provide guidance on whether, how, and when assets should be capitalized and depreciated or expensed for federal tax purposes.

The U.S. Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued final and re-proposed tangible property regulations. These regulations affect taxpayers who own or lease tangible property, and apply to all industries, including parking facilities. These regulations are generally effective for tax years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2014, although some provisions apply with respect to amounts paid or incurred in tax years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2013. Taxpayers will be allowed to rely on and early-adopt both the final provisions and the proposed disposition rules to facilitate implementation efforts.

The Regulations
The final regulations generally simplify, clarify, and make more administrable previously temporary and proposed capitalization rules, which provided rules regarding the definition and deduction of materials and supplies, a de minimis rule for acquisition costs, rules for determining whether expenditures are otherwise deductible repairs or capital improvements, and certain rules for depreciation and dispositions. The re-proposed portion addresses asset dispositions and represents significant revisions from the temporary regulations released in December 2011. Additionally, transition guidance providing the procedural rules to comply with such regulations is anticipated to be released soon.

Some of the major simplifications provided by the final regulations were the changes to the de minimis rule, which generally allows taxpayers to expense tangible assets actually expensed for book purposes, provided the taxpayer has in place at the beginning of the year the written accounting procedures to expense such items. The final regulations set forth an annual, elective safe harbor that provides a maximum of $5,000 per invoice or per item level expensing limit, if the taxpayer has applicable financial statements. For taxpayers without applicable financial statements, the regulations provide that the amount paid for property must not exceed $500 per invoice or per item as substantiated by the invoice. The election is made by filing a statement with the timely filed income tax return.

Improvement Rules
Of particular significance to the parking industry are the improvement rules. Parking facilities routinely undergo repairs. Although some of these activities, such as resurfacing a parking lot or replacing portions of concrete in a parking facility, may be capitalized for book purposes, the activities may be considered otherwise deductible repairs for tax purposes under the final regulations. The final regulations include a safe harbor for routine maintenance, under which routine activities performed on a parking lot that the taxpayer reasonably expects to perform more than once during the alternative depreciation system class life are deemed repairs.

While sealant and striping are commonly performed more than once during this time, in cold areas of the country, one may also expect to perform pothole repairs and mill and overlays more than once during this time as well. The safe harbor provides a special rule for routine repairs to buildings that are expected to be performed more than once during a 10-year period. Both of these safe harbors may provide significant opportunities to deduct repairs that may have previously been capitalized.

These new rules provide increased clarity and consistency in key areas, but not without added compliance burdens, especially to the extent the rules require additional paper elections and/or create book/tax differences. The final and re-proposed tangible property regulations present important opportunities for parking facilities to address their present methods of accounting concerning tangible property.

Special thanks to Ernst & Young LLP’s Sharon Kay and Andrew Smith for their contributions to this column.

Dominick Brook is senior manager, tax credit and investment advisory services with Ernst & Young LLP. He can be reached at dominick.brook@ey.com or 614.232.7376.

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Understanding the Triple Bottom Line and Applying It to Your Program

TPP-2013-11-Understanding the Triple Bottom Line and Applying It to Your ProgramBy L. Dennis Burns, CAPP

Sustainability still means many different things to different people and groups. The term “triple bottom line” has emerged as a helpful phrase for what most mean when incorporating the principles of sustainability within institutional planning frameworks; it refers to the effects that sustainable business practices can have on people, planet, and profit.

While most people have absorbed a lot of information regarding general principles related to sustainability, many are not as familiar with the triple bottom line. At its core, it is a way to measure an organization’s effect on people, the environment, and its finances. Some organizations find that using this approach helps them improve the way they treat people within and outside their organizations, and helps mitigate adverse effects on the environment.

Parking and Transportation Context
Within a parking and/or transportation program context, the following are a few examples that might relate to the three core elements.

Effects on People

  • Improved parking technology creates an enhanced customer experience. This includes multiple payment options, better information availability, new services, and customer benefits.
  • Improved wayfinding, signage, and program branding. This leads to fewer vehicle miles traveled while searching for parking, less parker frustration, and enhanced program recognition and reputation.
  • Improved commute options and embracing the connected traveler concept. We see greater mode choices, enhanced quality of life for all citizens, and less reliance on single-occupant vehicles.
  • Excellent communications and collaborative public processes: greater diversity of opinion, a better informed/educated public, and enhanced societal sustainability.
  • Improved community quality of life, including a cleaner environment, reduced congestion, promotion of healthy lifestyles, and reduced negative environmental effects.

Effects on the Planet

  • Improved community access with reduced single-­occupant vehicle mode share.
  • Increased use of the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) by institutions and individuals.
  • Increased upcycling (the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or higher environmental value).
  • Reduced vehicular idling and queuing times.
  • Increased use of alternative energy sources.

Effects on Profit

  • A more balanced perspective regarding operating costs and reduced life cycle costs.
  • Improved and diversified tax bases.
  • Reduced vacancy rates and accompanying enhanced property values.
  • Increased business activity and growth.

Developing a System
The following are some thoughts on initiating a triple bottom line philosophy in your own organization:

  • Divide the organization’s bottom line into three categories: social, environmental, and economic. Represent each category in terms of benefits and costs. Calculate net income using traditional accounting methods to represent the the first of the three bottom lines.
  • Analyze the organization’s environmental effects based on its use of renewable and non-renewable resources for the second bottom line.
  • Calculate the flow of these resources based on the organization’s annual operations with the goal of reducing the use of non-renewable resources.
  • Establish the percentage of alternative fuels used by dividing the cost of alternative fuels by overall fuel use. Change management practices so there is a focus on increased use of alternative fuels.
  • Evaluate the organization’s social effect based on its involvement with the local community. Evaluate organization-driven community programs by establishing the number of people or programs the organization helps in the community. Create a goal to increase these numbers or positively affect community change.

Now it’s your turn! Imagine what changes adopting a triple bottom line approach might mean for your organization, staff, customers, and community.

L. Dennis Burns, CAPP, is senior practice builder/regional vice president with Kimley-Horn and Associates, and a member of IPI’s Sustainability Committee. He can be reached at dennis.burns@kimley-horn.com or 602.906.1125.

TPP-2013-11-Understanding the Triple Bottom Line and Applying It to Your Program

Modernizing Municipal Technology

TPP-2013-11-Modernizing Municipal TechnologyBy Joseph Balskus

The July Consultants Corner focused on rebuilding and reinventing our core cities. This month’s column continues that theme with a demonstration of the initiatives that Park New Haven (PNH), formerly the New Haven Parking Authority, has undertaken to modernize parking technology, meet the demands of a growing downtown, and improve customer service.

PNH provides affordable and accessible parking to a broad cross-section of customers, business partners, and stakeholders, including Yale-New Haven Hospital and its ancillary medical businesses, Yale University, Gateway Community College, many downtown businesses, and rail commuters at Union Station.

PNH’s improvements are concurrent with major changes in downtown New Haven, which continues to enjoy growth despite the struggling economy. The city is removing Route 34, a downtown expressway built during the urban renewal period, to restore the traditional street grid and create new development parcels.

The first initiative was the complete rebranding of the parking authority, including its name change to Park New Haven. This included a new logo, employee uniforms, and website (ParkNewHaven.com). Another major change involves the complete replacement of the department’s legacy parking access and revenue control system (PARCS) with new state-of-the-art equipment and software at all of its parking garages and several surface parking lots.

The new PARCS was designed as a turnkey replacement, and the process includes removing and installing new equipment and limiting physical modifications to the facilities. The project also includes new features and customer enhancements such as pay-on-foot machines, credit card pay-in-lane, offline ticket validations to replace stamps, and the conversion of two surface lots to pay-by-space and pay stations. PNH is already planning future enhancements, including barcode payment options that take advantage of the new PARCS.

Another enhancement is a parking guidance system (PGS) being installed at the Air Rights Garage, a four-bay, 10-level, 2,565-space garage that serves a mix of monthly and transient parking customers from the adjacent medical district. The garage functions as two separate garages connected by ramps over a public street below, resulting in long search patterns. This prompted PNH to procure a sophisticated PGS to direct patrons to available parking by level and improve the overall customer parking experience.

The PARCS was procured through a vendor-based request for proposals (RFP). Vendors were provided design documents and submitted detailed proposals that included qualifications and pricing. Each proposer was interviewed twice to respond to questions from PNH and the design team. The procurement process facilitated verification of qualifications and proposed pricing, and led to successful vendor selection.

The legacy PARCS served PNH well, but the system was more than a decade old, nearly obsolete, and could not provide the real-time data required by today’s customers; it also required maintenance and generated related costs to keep the system functioning. More importantly, the central system software needed replacement with more sophisticated capabilities and state-of-the-art equipment.

The Result
The deployment is currently underway at eight facilities with more than 40 lanes. The vendor began installation in April and the first facility transitioned to the new PARCS over a weekend in June.

2013 is proving to be quite a year for both PNH and the city. The new PARCS is being deployed while new development and reconnected streets come online. With the foresight of PNH, New Haven is ready to support the area’s expected growth. PNH is looking to harness future PARCS capabilities with payment flexibility and technology enhancements to continue to improve the customer experience in New Haven.

Chris Granatini, project manager, Tighe & Bond, Inc., contributed to this column.

Joseph Balskus is director, traffic and parking with Tighe & Bond, Inc., and a member of IPI’s Consultants Committee. He can be reached at jcbalskus@tighebond.com.

TPP-2013-11-Modernizing Municipal Technology