Tag Archives: TPP-2014-08

Very Important Parking

TPP-2014-08-Very Important ParkingBy Rudor “Dori” Teich

In 1926, 18 years after Henry Ford invented the Model T, American merchants said downtown traffic was their most serious problem; poor parking habits and hazardous conditions were the most predominant causes of their challenges.

Enter the new millennium. Tens of millions of vehicles travel our roadways every day, still with the issue of illegal parking and cars parked in unauthorized and reserved areas. This is not just an inconvenience; it becomes a liability when handicapped parking areas are unavailable or certain spots cannot be accessed in an emergency.

The University of Southern California (USC) recently faced its own difficulties with parking. USC is one of California’s foremost research institutions and its oldest. It has obtained more than $590 million in sponsored research funds, making it a national leader in research activities. It is also the alma mater of many U.S. business leaders

USC not only excels in research. Its sports teams, the Trojans, have won 96 NCAA team championships, making them the third in the nation. Trojan athletes have won a total of 287 medals at the Olympic Games. If USC was its own country, it would rank 12th in the world for gold medals and 11th in total medals.
USC is ranked in ninth place on the 2011 Princeton Review top-10 list of dream colleges. Whether in academia, research, or sports, the students and leaders of USC do their research and play to win.

The Challenge in the Lots
That’s true for parking, too. There’s a battle there, as we all know, and the university was determined to win. With an academic staff of more than 4,700 and a campus of 226 acres, finding a space for every car that needs one can be challenging. To help, the university opened premium parking locations for staff members that were promised to be accessible any time of day. Unfortunately the campus’s no-tow policy makes this rule difficult to follow, particularly when other motorists park in those spaces.

According to USC Director of Transportation Tony Mazza, “The school needs a way to protect spaces for those most deserving the premium parking spaces—something simple for the motorist but a deterrent for those who want a quick space.”
Mazza and his team identified a need for a mechanical means to protect parking spaces. The experts at USC did their research to find the perfect solution. They tried a number of remote-controlled parking barriers, with functionality and cost key criteria in their initial selection.

When USC started evaluating single-bay barriers, cost was the No. 1 consideration. It took more than a year of trial and error before the university seriously considered buying more expensive barriers than those frequently found in the market. The cost of repeated removal of defective units, sending them for repair, being without the product for weeks, and then receiving and reinstalling the repaired or replaced units was a serious drain on department resources and patience of end users.

Eventually, USC found a single-bay, remote-controlled barrier that uses the weight of the car instead of a battery to create the energy needed to raise the arm. The reduced drain on the batteries in this system allows them to function for two years or more.

The idea for a remote controlled-parking barrier was originally conceived by Designated Parking co-founder Jim Rittenhouse as a sort of advanced garage door opener for people without garages after he read about a shocking number of cars stolen from home driveways in Japan. The company’s founders came up with the idea of a self-powered barrier that would block the entrance and exit of cars from their designated parking spots or driveways. Originally, the technology was conceived to both reserve parking spaces and prevent theft of cars.

“The company’s Japanese market wanted the device to look intimidating, rather than something that could be easily overrun or damaged.”

The system protects against unauthorized access to parking spots, ramps, and driveways. Authorized users activate a small remote control to drop the barrier that blocks a pre-designated parking space. After the vehicle backs out of the parking space, the barrier can be raised by the remote or programmed to rise automatically.

Passing the Test
At USC, students learn from practical experience, not just academics. So was the case with Mazza and his team when it came to getting the perfect parking barrier.

Having learned from experience that products that sound great in theory do not always work on delivery, Mazza and team tried the first barrier system on a bench to ensure it worked as expected. It did not. After some hand-wringing, help from the manufacturer solved the problem; unlike other systems, the one USC chose must be driven on (or jumped on) to make it rise. The weight of the vehicle is used to produce energy, so unless the unit is driven on, that energy doesn’t exist. Once that was clarified, the lab test continued with someone jumping on the unit to make it rise.

Testing also found another great benefit of USC’s new system. Maneuvering cars in tight spaces inevitably causes bumping and slow-speed hits on the barriers. The unit chosen by the university has built-in torque clutch defense that absorbs all but the most determined collisions. During such attacks, the barrier yields, but once the offending force is removed, the barrier bounces back to its previous position.

Not Just the Back Up-Plan
Parking barriers are a must-have for the growing trend of car sharing, which is one of many creative ideas to help control the flow of traffic and parking on campuses and in municipalities. These systems allow a motorist to rent a car for however long he needs and pick it up at a central location. He can then return the vehicle at any other designated car-sharing spot. Barriers ensure that certain spaces remain clear for the vehicle’s return every time.

Barrier systems are instrumental in preventing illegal and unauthorized parking in public areas, too. They keep vehicles out of no-parking areas, handicapped spots, and emergency areas reserved for fire trucks or ambulances.

Making the Grade
At USC, VIP parkers are thrilled with their reserved spaces.

“Many of our staff comes in to their offices at varying times of day. [Our system] enables our premium parkers access to their spaces 24/7. They will always get here, knowing that they can easily park and get to where they are going,” Mazza says.
The barriers have been in use on USC VIP spots for about three years and have proven quite effective in keeping those spaces available.

Mazza says good research is what led USC to find this winning option for the iconic university. “The people who have these spaces truly appreciate that their spots are always waiting for them,” Mazza said. “And for us, that means we are serving our customers the right way.”

Rudor “Dori” Teich is president of Designated Parking Corp. He can be reached at 973.669.8214.

TPP-2014-08-Very Important Parking

A Rip-Roaring Success

TPP-2014-08-A Rip-Roaring Success

Take nearly 3,000 parking professionals from all over the world; add in more than 60 educational sessions led by top experts in their fields; mix in more than 150,000 square feet of products, technologies, and services from 250 providers; and combine all of that with social events, tours, and hands-on experiences under one giant roof, and you have the amazing week that was the 2014 IPI Conference & Expo in Dallas.

It’s possible the Gaylord Texan Resort had never seen anything like it: Parking professionals crammed session rooms and crowded into general sessions, and rare was the moment the Expo hall wasn’t teeming with traffic. Social events sent laughter pealing through hallways as old friends reunited and new friendships were struck, and every couch, walkway, escalator, and room was the perfect setting to share ideas, hints, and contact information.

If you were there, you know what a fantastic event it was. If not, enjoy our photos and make plans to join us for the 2015 IPI Conference & Expo, June 29–July 2 in Las Vegas!

TPP-2014-08-A Rip-Roaring Success

Be a DimWatt!

TPP-2014-08-Be a DimWattBy Jeff Pinyot

You can probably imagine how many times a garage lighting specialist is asked about motion sensors in parking structures. They come up at every trade show and meeting we attend. Some people are passionate about wanting them, and others don’t understand the need. Because it is, at the very least, an often-discussed topic, let’s explore the financial basics of motion sensing, when it’s appropriate to use sensors, and what they really mean in terms of cost effectiveness.

First, let’s get on the same page. Understand that when I say “motion sensor,” I am talking about a small sensor that is unit- or remote-mounted on a wall or ceiling. When a recognized motion is sensed (assume we mean the movement of a human being and not a rat), the sensor energizes (or turns on) an individual lighting fixture or a bank of fixtures. The general and only reason to use these would be to save additional energy on top of what might be gained by a fixture change-out.

So here’s my first opinion on the subject: Using motion sensors does not reduce the environment for crime. Having lights on and full on will always do a better job of that. Consider this: When you go out at night, do you turn your outdoor lights on for safety and crime avoidance, or do you turn them off? I always chuckle when I visualize someone turning lights off to draw a burglar into their house only to scare them off by turning lights on once they get inside. Who would do that? If a guard dog was at the end of the hallway when the lights came on, I would call that effective, but someone has to feed the dog and take it for walks. It’s probably a better plan to keep the burglar outside by not enticing him with a dark environment in which to do his work.

All lighting should support and ensure the safety and security of the area it illuminates. Lighting is also used for wayfinding, but in general, we come back to the need to provide a safe and secure environment for our customers. Lighting that is dimmed ineffectively can contradict the idea of safety and security. You should never dim your lighting, regardless of the time of day, below the Illuminating Society of North America (IESNA) minimum recommendations. One should illuminate a parking structure to an average of 5 footcandles (fc) when occupied. When unoccupied, theoretically, one might be able to drop to 1 fc on average until motion returns it to the desired minimum 5 fc level. (There may be some controversy here, but we’re not discussing if the proper lighting level should actually be 10 fc or 7.5 fc and whether or not a garage should be considered a high-risk area.)

Let’s say your new lighting solution offers an average of 5 fc in your garage and you are considering adding motion sensors to further increase energy savings. In your lighting retrofit, you likely replaced a 175-watt metal halide that was consuming 208-watts per fixture. You chose to replace the HID (high-intensity discharge) fixture with a low-energy consuming LED fixture that consumes only 62-watts per fixture. Congratulations: You are experiencing a 146-watt savings per fixture (70 percent energy savings) since the changeout.

Assume the 62-watt fixture holds 5 fc and that is perfect for you. Now, let’s equip the fixture with a motion sensor that reduces the light level to 2 fc (never lower than 1 fc!). That means you can save an extra 70 percent of energy when you dim, which equates to 43.4 watts (.0372 kW) of incremental savings. An LED fixture has an efficiency gain when underdriven, so the increase is more than a linear relationship.

Here is where the unknown occurs. To really understand how much dimming will happen, you need to monitor the facility to know the usage pattern and vehicular and foot traffic that would trigger the motion sensors. Say the property is a college campus with classes starting throughout the day and into the evening. It is pretty safe to say that between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., you will have some motion. For this example, though, assume there is no motion and the lighting never raises from the minimum 2 fc for those eight hours. Throughout the rest of the day, let’s assume that somehow you will get four more hours interspersed with no motion, totaling 12 hours of inactivity. You end up with a lighting reduction 50 percent of the time.

Doing the Math
Calculate 43.4 watts (possible savings) × 50 percent of the time. This is the wattage savings enjoyed when going from full wattage producing 5 fc of light to the reduced wattage that will provide 2 fc of lighting.

So, .0434 kW × $.075/kWh (blended cost of energy) × 8,760 hours per year × 50 percent of the time = $14.25 per year additional savings per fixture due to dimming 50 percent of the time to 2 fc. Keep in mind that the 146 watt savings all the time enjoyed by reducing the fixture size will save you $96 per year per fixture.

Now, the dimming option will cost between $75 per fixture installed and set up (if unit-mounted and factory installed) and $100 per fixture (field installed). If we assume the least cost for the dimming/bi-level controller to be $75 per fixture and it saves $14.25 per year, the simple payback is $75/$14.25 = 5.26 years.

The dimming device may come from a reputable manufacturer and have a five-year warranty. All sensors are rated for numbers of cycles. If the device has a warranty or life expectancy of fewer than the required years needed to justify the expense (payback years), you can see that it may not be worth the expense.

Many utilities offer about $15 to $20 per sensor as an incentive. For this example, go with $20.

$75 – $20 = $55

$55/$14.25= 3.86 years revised payback. With the added incentive, we are getting closer to a scenario that might be worth considering.

If the purpose of lighting is safety and security and a fully illuminated garage offers more safety and security than a garage using motion sensors (in my opinion), it’s important to weigh the financial benefits against the risk. In this case, to dim or not to dim is subjective.

Of course if the utility rate where your project is located is higher or the incentives are more attractive, dimming or bi-level control may be justified. Run the numbers as above to see.

The answer, it seems, is simple. Do the math instead of installing equipment just because someone else did the same thing. Educate yourself and those around you as to why you have or have not chosen to dim; the answer will be different depending on each property and job. It’s likely that an airport in a major city that has virtually no low-traffic opportunities for dimming is likely not a great candidate to experience further savings from motion sensors. But a condo in a city with little garage activity during the day or night is a prime candidate to see savings from the devices.

Other Secrets to Success
Besides a calculator, what else will help? Start by picking a lighting partner who can be your trusted advisor and ensure he has the credentials to support his ideas.

It is imperative to do a demonstration of whatever lighting changes you are considering. Seeing is believing and understanding whether or not a change will result in a good thing. The 2014 IPI Conference & Expo had a great example: the Green Parking Council (GPC, an affiliate of IPI) hosted a technology demonstration in the parking garage of the Gaylord Texan Resort. There, one could see and touch actual lighting choices that showed good options such as non-glare solutions. The demonstration also helped attendees to see for themselves the value of uplighting in a parking garage. Finally, it provided an example of unit mounted lighting controls.

Another area to be careful is fan speed control. A large percentage of parking garages relies on exhaust fans to remove dangerous carbon monoxide (CO) and permits fans to run wild without time control or particulate control. These fans are huge consumers of energy and require a high degree of maintenance. By equipping your facility with CO monitors and a front-end control system designed to operate your fans at the proper speed and for the amount of time necessary to eliminate the CO, you can significantly reduce the operational cost of this fan horsepower. Equipping the fans themselves with variable frequency drives (VFDs) will allow fans to run at reduced speeds and save energy on a cubic relationship with horsepower; in other words, experience mega energy savings!

Once you get your garage in order from an energy consumption standpoint, there may be one more avenue to walk down. If your facility is located in a state in which your energy costs are deregulated, you may be in for a big surprise. Working with your trusted advisor who knows his stuff, put your energy needs up for auction. A parking garage is a perfect client for an energy provider. Because of very predictable energy needs, garages are a perfect baseload for energy providers who wish to sell all of their generated energy without spikes resulting from changing demand conditions such as hot weather. Most energy providers will bid very low dollar-per-kilowatt rates in a competitive environment.

So that’s it. Dim when it makes financial sense. Demo what you are considering doing. Control your fans, and negotiate your energy costs. Do all of that and you’ll be a good DimWatt!

Jeff Pinyot is president of ECO Parking Lights. He can be reached at jspinyot@ecoparkinglights.com or 317.501.2892.

TPP-2014-08-Be a DimWatt

Simple Savings

TPP-2014-08-Simple SavingsBy Jon Martens, AICP, CAPP

Every parking owner is concerned with parking facility operations costs. Those who depend on parking to produce revenues want to make sure their costs don’t cut too deeply into profits. Owners who rely on parking to support their residential, commercial, or retail developments need to be sure that their parking operation costs don’t undermine their ability to properly maintain the rest of their properties.

Parking is no different than any other business: To maximize profits, owners need to minimize costs. The question is, how do you keep management costs in check while continuing to provide a convenient, safe, and pleasant parking experience to customers? The key is understanding what the greatest cost drivers are. While every facility is different, most share common expenses that can be reduced.

The Cost Of Labor

Typically, the cost leader is labor. While staff expenses are unique to each facility, most share a number of common characteristics.

For many parking owners, technology can be used to cut costs. Switching from a cashiered payment system to an automated system, such as pay-on-foot, can reduce the need for revenue control staff at exits. This frees staff from the booth and lets them focus on customer service, keeping an eye on the whole property, and other important tasks. Some owners are taking this approach a step further by going entirely cash-free and requiring all transactions to be by credit card at pay-on-foot kiosks or in exit lanes. Increasingly, parking owners and operators are using technology to re-focus staff roles in their facilities, saving thousands of dollars in salary, benefits, and insurance costs in the process.

Security is another common labor expense, particularly when outside enforcement consultants are used. Security is obviously essential in any parking facility and reducing or eliminating it can lead to a number of unanticipated consequences, including higher legal costs due to increased liability and lost business if patrons perceive that the structure isn’t safe. However, there are a number of high-tech solutions, such as video cameras combined with analytics to focus on and alert authorities about suspicious activity, and security telephones that can be combined with low-tech equipment, such as high illumination lighting, to make a structure safer while reducing security costs.

Maintenance: Costs Vs. Benefits
Maintenance can also be costly, and includes routine cleaning and upkeep, structural repairs, and parking access revenue and control system (PARCS) equipment care. Routine or daily maintenance includes sweeping and washing surfaces, light painting, re-lamping, cleaning offices and public areas, repainting line stripes, and maintaining landscaping and plants. Some parking facilities hire a professional cleaning firm to provide routine maintenance; most provide and supervise the staff directly.

Structural maintenance is not always reported on profit and loss statements. These costs may be paid directly by the owner or coded as capital costs due to the high expense. We recommend that facility owners establish a “sinking fund” of $30 to $75 per space annually to cover ongoing structural maintenance, such as sealing, expansion joint maintenance, and spalling mitigation/repair.

Equipment maintenance is another area that is not always reported clearly on profit and loss statements. There is typically a one-year warranty or extended service contract on new PARCS installations. Depending on the age and complexities of the PARCS, the owner may or may not opt for the service contract. Other equipment that requires regular maintenance includes elevators, escalators, moving walkways, sweepers, and maintenance vehicles.

While maintenance is typically one of the more costly operational expenses, it is essential. Improperly maintained facilities often suffer from equipment failure and concrete degradation and will need to be replaced or repaired much sooner than they otherwise would. In the case of cutting back on maintenance, it’s easy to be penny wise but pound foolish.

That said, there are some maintenance elements that can provide cost savings. One of the most common is in lighting, which typically represents the largest utility cost in a parking facility. This is especially true for below-grade or enclosed structures, where lighting is among the most expensive utility costs, but also provides the most potential for savings. Lighting technologies are continuously advancing with modern LED technologies, induction lighting, and florescent lighting providing much better visibility at dramatically lower consumption rates and longer life cycles over traditional metal halide or high-pressure sodium fixtures.

The savings can be so significant that owners who retrofit their facilities can generally recoup their investment in as little as three to four years (or even less), depending on the lighting solution, and enjoy a system with a significantly longer lamp life, greatly reducing the cost of ownership. In addition, upgrading the lighting system can also provide another important benefit: promoting safety and security within the structure by improving visibility.

Another area of reducing lighting costs through technology is through smart fixtures that recognize activity and adjust the lighting level based on the presence of people or vehicles. This permits illumination to automatically be reduced or increased, based on occupancy at any given time. This can be particularly advantageous in sub-grade structures where lights need to remain on 24 hours a day (see p.  35 for more on this, including pros and cons).

Other common utility costs include phone service, Internet, water, and sewer. Electricity costs are influenced by the geographic area, as well as the type of lighting system. Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration indicates the average price of electricity per kilowatt-hour for the New England area is about 14 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared to the East South Central region with an average cost of about 8 cents per kilowatt-hour. By state, the highest average cost is found in Hawaii, with an average cost exceeding 30 cents per kilowatt-hour, and the lowest is in Idaho at just more than 7 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Cash or Credit?
Accounting and banking costs include any fees associated with banking, accounting, auditing, and credit card fees. Over the years, parking facilities’ banking fees have increased as credit card usage has increased. When credit cards are used, there is a charge from a credit card clearing-house, as well as a direct charge from the credit card company. The typical fee for a $10 transaction is about 3 to 5 percent of the transaction. However, these costs can frequently be offset by automated payment systems, which increase revenue control and lower labor costs by reducing the need for cashiers.

Another area to carefully consider is auto damage. These claims can be significant and are typically paid as operating costs because they often fall within the deductible limit. Some of the typical non-valet driver-­related damage claims include vehicle paint damage from a malfunctioning gate arm striking a vehicle, damage from water seeping and dripping onto a parked vehicle, and even damage caused from small pieces of concrete falling on a parked vehicle if the structure is not properly maintained. A good parking manager will ensure that proper maintenance checks are regularly conducted to prevent such damage from occurring.

Reviewing Parking Management Options

If an operation’s daily management is outsourced to a third party, it’s always good to test the waters by issuing an RFP to ensure you are getting a fair deal. It may be easier to avoid this task if everything seems to be working fine, but if the contract is nearing its term, it is recommended that owners go through the RFP process to compare and obtain competitive pricing and management options. The RFP can be structured to allow input and recommendations by other operators and to reduce expenses through competition by asking the right questions. Experience shows that considerable savings in expenses are obtainable even if when the current operator is retained.

Always Time To Save
The economy is rebounding, but that’s no reason for parking owners to spend more than necessary to operate their facilities. Every dollar spent needlessly on operational issues means less profit or less capital available for other properties. Owners who understand which aspects of their parking operations are most costly, and how to reduce costs in those areas, can save thousands of dollars every year.

Jon Martens, AICP, CAPP, is a parking consultant with Walker Parking Consultants. He can be reached at jon.martens@walkerparking.com or 317.842.6890. 

TPP-2014-08-Simple Savings

The Future of Parking Policies

TPP-2014-08-The future of Parking PoliciesBy Sjoerd Stienstra

For a long time, parking has been seen as a relatively independent subject that’s mainly connected to traffic and transport policies. Parking policy is largely developed against the background of expectations regarding the future developments of car use and ownership. Over time, the focus started shifting toward integrating parking in integral mobility strategies to achieve a more balanced modal split.

Traffic (and parking), however, does not originate spontaneously, but from the traffic demand that generates from the spatial distribution of socioeconomic land use functions. This traffic demand is, thus, influenced by developments in society.

More and more, it is understood that parking plays an important role as the connecting link between traffic and accessibility and being at a location and using the functions there (including residential). Parking constitutes the transformation from mobility to activities and vice-versa. Parking is, therefore, related to both the traffic and transport sector and to spatial, social, and economic domains. Developments in society have direct effects on parking, necessary parking capacity, and how parking can best be organized.

To be prepared for future challenges, the parking world will have to anticipate for these trends in society.

This article is based upon a study that was conducted by the author for a Dutch semi-governmental organization1.

Societal Trends
In the 20th century, the population in the Netherlands increased enormously. Around 1900, the Netherlands counted 5 million inhabitants; by 2000, there were nearly 16 million. It is expected that in the coming decades, the growing rate will slow markedly and that from about 2035, the Dutch population will probably stabilize or even decrease. In some parts of the Netherlands, that population decline has already started. Also, the distribution of the population will change, with (generally) a still-increasing population in the west, and a declining population in the east. The expected decline in population is not unique for the Netherlands, but is universal. In Eastern Europe, we have seen a declining population since the end of the last century, and from 2075, population numbers may decline worldwide.

An additional consideration is that the spatial structures of cities are changing. Urbanization is no longer the expansion of monocentric cities, but is becoming a more complex sprawl of urban functions, old and new, over a multi-central conurbation (network of cities).

Upscaling is closely connected with this: many socioeconomic developments lead to growing the areas where these activities can be found. Living, working, shopping, and other activities happen more and more in different locations; this is also caused by concentration developments. Large-scale functions generally happen in car-accessible locations, while large shops, hospitals, and sport-­facilities increasingly choose edge-of-town locations. Increasing car ownership is both an effect and stimulating factor of this process.

In parts of the country with a decreasing population, activities will concentrate in a few regional centers. There, parking pressure will increase. As a result of declining population and a thinning work and shopping structure, people will have to travel greater distances to accomplish daily goals. Already, the average commuter trip in the northeastern part of the country is 22.3 kilometers (compared with a national average of 14 km., and in the region around The Hague, 8 km.).

In smaller towns and villages, central activities (shopping, work, theater) will disappear; consequently, parking pressure will decrease.

The west part of the country enjoys a still-increasing population, so demographic effects on parking are less predictable. On one hand, there are behavioral components that would mitigate parking pressure (concentration of population and activities, availability of alternative modes of transport), but on the other hand, there are also adverse developments (chain trips combining different activities, network-cities) at play.

Cultural Trends
Spatial, socioeconomic, and demographic trends are important determinants for the development of mobility and parking, but social and cultural trends must also be taken into account. These deal with (changing) preferences and needs in relation to family life, education, professional perspectives, and leisure activities but also with appreciation and use of different modes of transport.
Harms2 identifies four social and cultural trends that can give an important additional explanation for growing mobility:

  • Individualization.
  • Intensifying of time use (more activities in less time).
  • Increasing role of information in society.
  • Internationalizing life patterns.
  • There are differences to be found between different population groups. Harms mentions for example:
  • People in their 30s are the most mobile part of the Dutch population.
  • The bicycle is the most used mode of transport for children and teenagers; public transport is most used by people in their 20s; and the car dominates for people age 25 and older.
  • In the last decades, elderly people have become more independent in their travelling. They use the car more often and until older age than previous generations.
  • People in rural areas travel more often and over longer distances than people in urban areas.

The Car’s Popularity
As a result of several of the before-mentioned developments, society has become more dependent on the car. A study concluded that 40 percent of all present car trips could not be made by alternative modes of transport, and that percentage is increasing3. A discussion on the use of alternative forms of transport should take these spatial and social aspects into account, especially because car ownership is still gradually increasing.

The Future
Present characteristics of mobility of population groups cannot simply be extrapolated to future groups. For example, one of the future scenarios of the Dutch government predicts a total increase of mobility of 21.3 percent in 2030. About half of that increase is connected to people older than 65. This is not only because this group will form a greater percentage of the future population (that would account for about 4 percent increase of mobility) but also because the future elderly also have other characteristics than the present-day group: More of them will still work; on average, they will have a higher income; and car ownership will be higher. These factors will account for nearly a quarter of the future increase in mobility. In addition, their travel behavior will differ as they participate in more activities away from home than previous generations at that stage of life. This will add another 2 percent mobility growth.4

There are indications that younger generations are less car-­orientated than in the past. This development has been found in several Western European countries. Research shows that young people, especially males (until age 30) own fewer cars than those in previous generations, show lower car use, and more often use a variety of transport modes (multimodality). As a result, the difference in transport behavior between young males and females has decreased5. It is too early, though, to conclude that the attitude toward car use has structurally changed.

An ever-growing part of the population lives in urban areas. U.S. researchers calculated that as of mid-2007, most people live in urban areas. People in urban areas have more access to alternative modes of transport (bicycle, public transport). But cities are also changing. More and more cities are becoming multi-modal, with many concentration points of activity. So although car use per individual may be less in urban environments, car pressure on concentration points of activity will attract large amounts of cars and high parking pressure.

Economy and Retail
Since 2000, the number of visitors in Dutch retail centers has declined. This trend cannot be caused solely by the economic recession (since 2008). On the contrary: In recent years, the decline seems to be less than before (in 2007 an average decline of 3 percent; in 2010, 1.6 percent). Many inner cities lost 10 to 20 percent of their visitors in a decade. This decline is attributed to changes in consumer demand and shopping behavior:

  • An aging population that buys less than younger generations.
  • The economy.
  • An increase of other retail channels, particularly the Internet.
  • Saturation (everybody already has everything).

These developments are partly temporary (economy), but seem to be structural for a greater part (fewer visitors, other retail channels, changed shopping behavior). This will have repercussions on the future structure of retail (possibly fewer shopping centers), but also on parking. Fewer parking operations, lower occupancy rates, and declining income from parking are imaginable. A first quick scan shows that many inner-city shopping areas experience lower parking pressure and less parking income.

New Concepts
Changing patterns in society have their influence on parking capacity, parking organization, and parking location. A clear example can be found in the new working concepts promoted in the Netherlands, called “smart working.”

Smart working was made possible by the introduction of portable devices, which allow professionals to access work files online from anywhere. This makes working location- and time-independent. Smart working allows employees to take responsibility for how they organize their work. It requires not only self-discipline of employees but also another attitude in management (management on output).

As a result, offices will change their internal organization (employees will not have their own desks, for example) and often can be downsized. This will influence parking.

In general there are two extremes in smart working:

  • At the office, but flexible. Employees generally work at the office, but have freedom to choose the times they want to work. Office areas will be used more intensely, which might imply a higher parking ratio.
  • Anywhere. Work can be done anywhere, anytime. Parking demand will show high peaks when meetings coincide.

When the introduction of smart working is combined with a traffic management program that promotes the use of alternative modes of travel, parking demand generally decreases. Because employees can plan their own working hours, they have more opportunities to adapt their schedules to plan multi-modal transport (carshare, public transport).

Technical Developments
Technical developments will affect parking in many ways. To name just a few:
Information technology already has changed parking enforcement a great deal: ticketless parking, license plate recognition, cashless parking at parking meters, parking by mobile phone. This development will surely continue.

Information technology also changed travel patterns. We already mentioned the effects of the Internet on shopping and office trips, but Internet banking leads to fewer (and smaller) bank branches, video conferencing replaces travelling to meetings, and social media plays a great role in communicating with friends.

It is questionable if a further digitalization of society will lead to less mobility. Will physical trips and activities be replaced by virtual activities? Will technology generate new activities and mobility? Information will become available in in-car systems, making roadside parking and traffic information superfluous. Mobility will become more individual, which makes parking pressure less predictable.

The Future
Many developments will influence future parking policies; some will lead to an increase in parking demand while others will cause a decrease. Reduced car use by the younger generation, decreasing numbers of visitors in inner cities, and growing urbanization may lead to reduced parking demand, while a shrinking population, upscaling of hospitals and shops, and a changing urban structure will cause increased parking pressure in central areas. Every location requires a thorough, location-specific analysis of the future developments of the different relevant factors.

Developments in society lead to more fluctuation in parking demand. Trends such as smart working and more unpredictable shopping behavior create the need for extra parking capacity during peak moments. Optimal use of space and flexibility are important elements for a parking policy that can deal with these developments. To optimize parking capacity and parking demand requires an area-wide approach to be able to exchange between areas with over- and under-demand. The usual approach—requiring every building to provide its own parking facilities—leads to too many underused parking spaces. An area-wide approach asks for a flexible use of parking requirements. This could well lead to other organization models for operating parking facilities.

Most of the examples here are from Dutch experience, but most of the trends we noticed are international. They will influence parking worldwide. We hope this article will stimulate a discussion on how national and international trends in any country will influence future development of parking policies. Parking, after all, is the connecting link between activities and their accessibility.

1. Parkeerbeleid op middellange termijn, maatschappelijke trends en de toekomst van parkeren; KpVV, april 2013

2. Overwegend onderweg, de leefsituatie en de mobiliteit van Nederlanders; Lucas Harms, Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau, 2008

3. De auto-afhankelijke samenleving; Hans Jeekel, Eburon academic publishers, 2011

4. Grijs op reis, over de mobiliteit van ouderen; Kennisinstituut voor Mobiliteitsbeleid (Peter Jorritsma, Marie-José Olde Kalter,), oktober 2008

5. A new generation: travel trends among young Germans and Britons; Tobias Kuhminhof (universiteit Karlsruhe), Ralph Bühler (Schoo, of Public and International Affairs, USA), Joyce Dargay (University of Leeds), Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting 2011

Sjoerd Stienstra is an urban traffic consultant in the Netherlands. He can be reached at stieverk@wxs.nl.

TPP-2014-08-The future of Parking Policies

Power Struggle

TPP-2014-08-Power StruggleBy Kim Fernandez

IT happens all the time: Driving down the road, you glance at your fuel gauge to see it’s nearly empty. You pull into the gas station, line up behind the car at the pump, and see there’s nobody there actually pumping gas. Maybe that driver is in the convenience store or the restroom or off wandering the neighborhood—who knows? But they’re not refueling; they are blocking the pump, heaven only knows how long they’ll be gone, and you still need gas.

Frustrating? You bet. Now transfer that scenario to a parking garage or lot, swap out your SUV for a Nissan Leaf, and picture that gas pump as an electric vehicle (EV) charger that’s blocked by a car that’s not charging. The owner could come back in an hour or a day. There’s no way to tell. But it’s the only charger in the facility, and you need it.

Parking a non-charging car at a charger for hours or days is called “charger squatting,” and the resulting anger that builds up in a driver who needs it has been christened “charger rage.” Both are growing problems that will affect parking professionals if they haven’t already.

The world is going greener: Wind turbines dot shorelines, recycling bins are as ubiquitous as trash cans, plastic bags are going the way of the dinosaur, and our cars are increasingly plug-and-play. That last one makes a lot of sense. Even with ranges being relatively limited for the moment, it’s easy enough for most people to drive to work and back on a single electrical charge, reducing gas and oil use and slashing emissions.

Until, that is, a driver reaches his destination and can’t find a charger. At that point, anxiety kicks in—how will he get home? What if a plug never appears and he’s stuck? Why didn’t he choose somewhere else to park?

Experts say there are 400,000 electric vehicles on the road, and while that’s not an enormous number relative to the total number of cars being driven, it’s expected to increase exponentially in the coming years. While most drivers will likely charge overnight at home, many will want (or need) to plug in at work, the airport, or in municipal lots at various destinations that are more than halfway through their car’s travel range.

The parking industry has largely embraced EV charging stations, encouraging patrons to use their EVs by installing chargers in premium spots in all kinds of garages and lots, offering them at little or no cost, and trying to make getting around as simple as possible for those who drive plug-in cars. It’s a good business decision that helps bring those drivers back to their facilities over and over again, and it helps cement a parking facility’s standing in the community. But when drivers squat at chargers, either with gasoline-powered vehicles or with fully charged EVs, the nice gesture can take a turn for the worse.

As EVs become more popular, squatting grows as an issue. Those who’ve already dealt with it say it’s still fairly new ground, but there are some ways to discourage parking at chargers when a vehicle isn’t actively charging, without discouraging use of EVs or parking facilities.

A hotspot for EV sales is southern California, which was one of the first areas in the U.S. to handle their relatively widespread use.

“The EV population grew rapidly in southern California,” says Frank Ching, city parking administrator, City of Santa Monica, Calif. “As a city, we embrace sustainability. Santa Monica EV populations grew even quicker than in the rest of the state, and as the population grows, EV charging stations’ demand is no different than parking demand.”

Santa Monica offers 70 EV chargers in its downtown, and Ching says rare is the day that passes without a request for more from drivers. Because most chargers are free to use, he says, they’re very popular.

“EV users take advantage of charging their cars in public facilities,” he says.

“What’s better than driving your own car without paying for gas? Parking habits also create the problem of chargers being used the entire day. Most of us park our vehicles and go to work for the day without moving our cars. What’s better than leaving the charger on while you work and going home without needing to charge again?”

The City of Beverly Hills has experienced a similar phenomenon. Chad Lynn, CAPP, director of parking operations, says while squatting isn’t a huge problem, expecting workers to move their cars after a few hours of charging is a challenge.

“There’s a charger in the City Hall parking lot,” he says. “Members of our police department tend to have long commutes and come in at 5 a.m. They’ll connect to a machine and then be gone until 6 at night. So while the car is charged in three hours, the police department employee can’t come back and move it for maybe 11 or 12 hours.” Because those officers are frequently out on patrol for that entire time, he says, it’s a bit of an impossible situation.

In other areas, though, perceptions of rudeness create their own problems. “In some places,” says Lynn, “a charger serves two spaces and you can just unplug it from one car and plug it into the other. But some vehicles have locks that lock the charger on. We’ve actually had situations where someone’s cut the lock off, and situations where the charger says a car’s completely charged, another driver disconnects it, and there’s an altercation between the two drivers because the first one’s been unplugged.”

There’s no question that tempers can flare when an EV driver can’t park in a designated spot because of squatters. The issue, then, is how parking professionals can work to end squatting without alienating EV drivers. There are different solutions working for different organizations.

Ann Arbor, Mich., has a lot of EV drivers and a very active community within that group. “We put in 18 chargers,” says Stephen Smith, Republic Parking System, Inc., Ann Arbor. “Initially, they were tied to a new parking garage we were building, but we thought it was silly to put all of them in one garage. We spread them out to maximize exposure, and it’s really paid off.” Chargers are free to use, but users must pay regular parking fees for the lots and garages that house them.

“Ann Arbor is unique in that it’s an early-adopter town,” says Smith. “A lot of people have Volts and Leafs; I can’t believe how many EVs there are here. Use of the chargers is phenomenal. People love them.”

That could mean problems with supply but for one thing: The EV drivers in this city are expert communicators.

“There’s a lot of camaraderie among our early-adopter users,” says Smith. “They’ve developed forums and a real online community. There is this rapport among our EV owners, and they’ve very cognizant of when their vehicles are charged.”

Republic adopted an online system that lets users see which EV spaces have charging vehicles in them and which ones are open at any given time. Plans are in the works to let those waiting for chargers receive live notifications when a space opens up, too.

All that said, the occasional gasoline-powered vehicle does get too comfortable in a charging space and enforcement is necessary. Drivers receive a friendly warning notice on their first offense that explains eventual boot or tow consequences of noncompliance with regulations. Subsequent offenders are booted or towed; Smith, who calls the booting program “pretty vigilant,” says there are almost never second offenders.

“People do come out on their lunch hour and move their cars,” he explains, adding that moving a plug from a charged vehicle to one that needs more juice hasn’t been an issue. “We haven’t had anyone complain,” he says. “This is a pretty easygoing community here. They’re geeks about their EVs, and they really like their cars. They tend to be tech-savvy, and they all know the drill. Occasionally, someone comes from out of town who doesn’t know how charging works here, but by and large, people treat each other pretty respectfully.”

So far, he says, he hasn’t had to set rules about moving cars when they’re fully charged, but he’s not against doing that. “We get a lot of feedback from our EV customers,” he says. “It’s generally positive. The issue we have is people who say they love the chargers but they’re in use.”

Making It Clear
Airports face their own challenges when it comes to chargers and EV spaces. Rick Decker, CAPP, assistant manager of parking operations at Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport, says his department installed 14 charging spaces across three different facilities 16 months ago, and the biggest issue they have is with non-EVs parking in the spots.

“People tend to be in a hurry and they tend not to look at signs,” he says. “Sometimes, they just don’t care because they need to get where they’re going and sign a business deal. We don’t want to bump customers to our [off-site] competition, so we’ve adopted a program to make sure our signs are very clear.”

He finds that EV-only signs on the chargers themselves are essentially worthless for his airport garages. Instead, his department installed signs that run across four spaces at driver’s-eye height that make it very clear the spaces are only for EVs. Green paint across the front of the spaces also helps.

“What really worked was having our parking management company go through there a few times per shift and put soft parking tickets on the cars,” he says. “They look like parking tickets and scare you when you see them, but there are no financial consequences and the police are not involved.” That, he says, was enough to get the attention of most gasoline-vehicle drivers and get them to park elsewhere. EVs can use the spaces even if they’re not actively charging.

“The other thing we did is that while the EV spaces are relatively convenient to the front door and the elevators, they’re not in an area everybody is walking through,” he says. “They’re not as convenient or easy to find as handicapped spaces.” Because they’re not on the first floor or directly at entrances, he says, the temptation for non-EV owners to snap them up isn’t as high as it might be. A department-designed logo of a car with a plug was printed on signs that are used as breadcrumbs for EV owners to find their spots.

Finally, he says, his enforcement officers have towed a few cars from the EV spaces, but left them in other spots in the garage just to send the message. “We have a license plate identification system that’s accurate enough that when the owners call, we can tell them which space their cars are in,” he says. “We also let the police department know where the cars are in case owners call them first to report their vehicles stolen.”

Decker’s users, like those in Ann Arbor, have established a community that helps keep chargers open. “This community talks to each other,” he says. “We’ve had very few complaints about not being able to find an EV spot.”

Discouraging Squatters
Some areas have established shorter time limits on EV charging spaces. Boulder, Colo., for example, only permits EVs to park in the spots while actively charging and only for four hours at a time. Overstayers risk a $50 fine.

Beverly Hills drivers aren’t supposed to stay in the city’s 36 EV spots if they’re not actively charging, but so far, that rule hasn’t been enforced. The city is currently considering more overall time limits on EV spaces.

“The biggest challenge is in a commuter lot,” says Lynn. “If I take my 30-mile drive into town, I park and connect, and I walk four blocks to my office, how do I get back to the lot to move my car? Do I have to use my lunch break? How much time is enough—is it two, three, or five hours? And what happens if I work through lunch that day because something came up?”

Another challenge, he says is for monthly parkers who pay for the convenience of a guaranteed spot. “So because I have an EV,” he asks, “I’m actually penalized and I have to move my car around?”

He’s thinking of an extra fee for active charging, but even that’s not simple. “Right now, it’s offered for free,” he says of EV charging. “Even if it’s a modest fee, people will only connect when they need to charge. If I’m using a dollar to connect, that’s more than I pay at home so I’m really only going to charge if I need that to complete my day. I’m not going to top off like I do when it’s free.”

He’s also considered a sort of valet service where an attendant would swap charged cars for those that need to plug in throughout the day, but there’s a lot of liability there.

Part of the supply problem, he says, is like any municipal parking: There may be spaces free but not in the exact location people want them at that second. “We have available chargers, but they may not be in the 10 square feet that’s most convenient for you. We’re not going to put 12 in one location. So the guy who has to plug in to get home will walk the extra block, pay a buck or so, and connect. The person topping off is going to let us know he’s not pleased we didn’t have a space right there, but it’s not going to affect his trip.”

Lynn says Beverly Hills installed its first chargers in 2011 and quickly figured out it had a learning curve with supply-and-demand issues. “When we started with this, there wasn’t as much competition for the spaces and we tried to be as lenient as we could to encourage their use,” he says. “That changed to, ‘Wow, we really need regulatory signage here because we’re having a problem.’” Signs were posted explaining towing penalties, and squatting by gasoline-vehicle drivers stopped.
“We towed one vehicle and cited about 10,” he says. “At its best, I would call it an education process.”

Limiting Time
Ching says in Santa Monica, a simple time limit on chargers has helped ease the crunch to use them. “A typical EV should be able to charge enough to get to the next destination in two to three hours,” he says. “In our off-street structures and lots, EV chargers have three-hour limits and EVs must relocate to regular spaces or depart after that time. The policy is strictly enforced by our enforcement team, and any user who stays more than three hours will receive an over-time-limit citation.”

He’s also investigating a fee for charging time, both to recoup the cost of EV charging equipment and to encourage use by those who need to charge instead of those who just want somewhere to park.

One novel solution is being tested at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, which recently installed two level-2 chargers and two trickle chargers for employee, faculty, and student use. “We use Outlook to schedule our meetings, so we created a resource for it for each EV parking space,” says Melissa Lucas, university sustainability and energy manager. “You use the system to schedule meetings in specific rooms, and this is the same thing, but you’re scheduling a specific parking space.” Requests made online go to the parking office, which can accept or deny them based on availability. Reservations are taken in three-hour blocks. “That’s enough to charge most vehicles,” Lucas says. “That should get anyone back to their house.”

The spaces sit in a lot across from the parking office, which makes enforcement of time limits easy. Lucas says a survey conducted last year showed 25 EV drivers among the university’s 4,000 faculty, staff, and students. The spaces were put into use during the summer, and it’s not yet clear how the reservations system will pan out in terms of keeping spaces open and available.

Car manufacturers say ranges will improve with time. At the same time, charging equipment technology will change too, and it may get easier to let multiple cars charge on single units. Some parking professionals say that in and of itself will help ease the problem of squatters in EV spaces.

“If we’re really adopting a customer-centric approach,” says Lynn, “we’re going to end up with some way for a multi-car machine or an attended system. I’m not sure how we’re going to get there, but it’ll happen.”

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

TPP-2014-08-Power Struggle


TPP-2014-08-UnleashedBy Julius E. Rhodes, SPHR

Years ago, I authored a piece called “Unleashing the Human Spirit at Work.” I’m currently working on a book by the same title but thought the idea of unleashing the human spirit at work needed to be revisited given the talk (much of which I believe is rhetoric) about employee engagement.

It is a sad fact that the very things we thought would make our lives easier have had the opposite effect. The computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones we couldn’t live without have served not to connect us with others but to disconnect us from the people around us and our surroundings. They connect us to a virtual world available 24 hours a day, and it can be very difficult to choose to escape.

Being Social
Many years ago, someone said we’d become disconnected from our work and from each other. That statement was true when it was made and, to be sure, is true today, but it does not have to be true in the future. Who, you may ask, was the brilliant person who said it? I’ll save that for later—the answer might surprise you.

We are by nature social beings who seek the company of others. So why have we fallen so far off the path of social interaction and niceties? There are many possible reasons, but let me focus on the insidious only-me attitude that has taken hold in our society.

Today we live in a world that is instant everything and readily disposable if it does not meet our needs. This mentality has caused us, I believe, to lose focus on the shared sacrifice and responsibility each of us must make to ensure a better outcome not just for ourselves, but for the people around us as well. Additionally, the lack of a shared sacrifice has caused us to extinguish the once bright flame of hope we used to hold up as a matter of routine and light one only during times of crisis or immediate need.

Each of us has to have fire in our commitment not just to the roles we play, but more importantly, to the very real relationships we need to sustain us. If you are committed to establishing relationships that help you thrive and allow others to do the same, share that belief. We cannot be timid or afraid when it comes to making necessary course corrections, especially when they allow us to reconnect with the people around us and our surroundings.

It is certain that as you go about this process of sharing and inclusion, not everyone will get it or buy into what you are doing. However, the people who do will greatly appreciate the effort you have invested in them and the connections that ensue, and you’ll provide a model for them to do the same for others.

Margaret Meade once said, “Never doubt if a small group of people engaged in concerted activity can make change, for indeed it is the only way change can occur.” If we are serious about engagement and reconnecting with people as people, we cannot wait for someone else to start the ball rolling—we have to be about taking action.

And the person who said we are disconnected from our work and from each other? That was Karl Marx.

Julius E. Rhodes, SPHR, is founder and principal of the mpr group and author of BRAND: YOU Personal Branding for Success in Life and Business. He can be reached at jrhodes@mprgroup.info or 773.548.8037.


Green Alphabet Soup

TPP-2014-08-Green Alphabet SoupBy Irma Henderson

TDM, SOV, HOV, AVR, TOD, ATP. What does this all mean, and why is it so important to parking professionals?

According to Wikipedia, transportation demand management (TDM) is, “the application of strategies and policies to reduce travel demand or to redistribute this demand in space or in time.” While most parking professionals equate any reduction in demand with a reduction in revenue, advocating for increasing TDM doesn’t mean you have gone over to the dark side. There are other aspects of TDM that can positively affect the bottom line.

In the TDM world, the traditional way to reduce or redistribute demand is to reduce the number of single-occupant vehicles (SOVs). Getting two people to share rides in a single vehicle can reduce parking demand by half. For a parking structure adjacent to a business district, this carpool can also be viewed as doubling the number of customers who might visit the business district. That can have interesting implications for both the business and the parking operator: If the popular restaurant that was leasing the spaces in the parking structure placed preferred high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) spaces on the first floor, could it see an increase in its happy hour crowd? Would the increase in customers be enough to cover the increased lease cost for those dedicated parking spaces?

Parking professionals are always looking at demand, parking utilization ratios, turnover rates, and the potential need for additional spaces. With constructing infrastructure comes more calculations, capital costs, additional operating expenses, and debt ratios, always looking for a positive return on investment. In the university setting, building additional parking may not always be the best use of land—this is why we often see TDM playing a larger role in academia. Many universities turn to TDM to increase the number of people coming to campus while decreasing the number of vehicles. These universities manage that ratio—average vehicle ridership (AVR)—the same way they manage their parking utilization. Back to supply and demand: If you can effectively manage demand, you can choose how and when to make significant investments and increase supply.

Another strategy to reduce vehicle travel demand leverages existing public transportation systems. Each year, millions of privately owned vehicle trips are mitigated by the use of buses and trains. With the rise in the use of public transportation systems, more cities are turning to transit-­oriented development (TOD). Districts are being developed where people can live and/or work in areas where transit service is readily available. This type of urban planning increases the density of a population in a specific area. Often, the result is a parking supply shortage that allows premium prices to be charged for space. Long before the acronym TOD entered TDM, private operators in New York City were already charging $30 per hour for parking.

Active Transportation
The last thing on the list is active transportation programs (ATP). Biking and walking programs are gaining support as more people are encouraged to maintain a healthier lifestyle. It may be a difficult leap for some to find the benefit to parking from the ATP side of TDM. However, there is significant grant funding associated with ATP, and with that comes a whole new set of acronyms, including TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grants and ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act). In municipalities, these programs can help enhance and augment city public works projects. Parking managers who tackle the challenge of building bicycle infrastructure within their existing parking facilities can submit proposals to these other funding sources to help address their communities’ needs and improve public perception.

Just like in any business, parking is a function of supply and demand, and TDM is just another tool. It may require a little extra thought and effort, but in an environment where we are looking to maximize assets, find operational efficiencies, or conserve limited resources, we can all use an extra tool in our toolbox.

Irma Henderson is alternative transportations program manager at the University of California, Riverside, and a member of IPI’s Sustainability Committee. She can be reached at irma.henderson@ucr.edu or 951.827.1060.

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Green Garage Assessor Training Value to Consultants

TPP-2014-08-Green Garage Assessor Training Value to ConsultantsBy Megan Leinart, LEED AP BD+C, CNU-A

At the 2014 IPI Conference & Expo in Texas, the Green Parking Council (GPC, an affiliate of IPI) conducted its first Green Garage Certification Assessor training. More than 20 parking professionals showed up for eight hours on a sunny Saturday, away from the golf course, pool, and water park, to learn how to implement one of the most exciting and transformative programs to hit the parking industry in years.

This first class of Green Garage Assessors learned about the history of the Green Garage Certification process and the various strategies included in the program to help owners, operators, and consultants implement the latest sustainable strategies and technologies into parking planning, design, construction, and management. We also learned about the many resources available to more effectively guide the certification process. The GPC’s Dan Ciarcia did a fabulous job leading the marathon training course, taking us one by one through the credits and explaining their objectives, requirements, and point values.

The Value of Training
Green Garage Assessor training was a great introduction to advances that have been and continue to be made related to parking and sustainability. I encourage everyone to learn more about the training course and opportunities for you to take the class yourself. The program enables consultants to educate their clients on the latest sustainable parking trends and technologies, as well as help guide them through the process of certifying their facilities. It will also provide owners, operators, and parking staff members with the tools and resources necessary to apply these strategies in their facilities, measure the ones already in place, and ultimately make the process of certification much more efficient.

It has been amazing to watch the progress made by the GPC in its short lifetime. As a LEED accredited professional, I’ve shared the same struggles as many consultants, trying to adequately explain the relationship between sustainability and parking, especially when the existing certification systems developed to date—most notably LEED and Green Globes—were not designed for parking. It has been difficult to attempt to mold the concept of parking and its many sustainable opportunities and benefits into green certification programs that were, at best, unreceptive, and sometimes even hostile to the very idea of parking.

The GPC recognized this and developed its comprehensive certification system to provide owners, operators, and consultants with an opportunity to become more educated about sustainability and parking. The concepts outlined in the Green Garage Certification program will serve as a blueprint for implementing strategies that are not only green in their objectives to reduce the environmental effects of these buildings but also in their potential to significantly reduce energy and operational costs.

The certification program is also an opportunity for owners to connect with the public, many of whom continue to demand the integration of sustainability whenever possible. It will undoubtedly serve as a valuable marketing tool, educating parking facility users about sustainable initiatives implemented and helping encourage them to return by choice to a greener garage or lot. It is also a chance to finally acknowledge those organizations and projects that have led the way, taking the initiative to implement sustainability into their parking facilities, simply because it was the right thing to do and long before there was a mechanism to truly measure or recognize their commitment. And it will provide a greater incentive for similar organizations to follow suit.

I’m honored to have had the opportunity to be a part of the inaugural class of Green Garage Assessors. I look forward to the coming months and years, to witnessing the incredible innovations and advancements the parking industry continues to make in this area, and to seeing many certified green parking garages.

Megan Leinart, LEED AP BD+C, CNU-A, is director of corporate development at Timothy Haahs & Associates, Inc. She can be reached at mleinart@timhaahs.com.

TPP-2014-08-Green Garage Assessor Training Value to Consultants