Tag Archives: TPP-2015-02

A Personal Reflection

TPP-2015-02-A Personal ReflectionBy Pierre Koudelka

News of APD’s demise is heartbreaking. To say I’m upset is an understatement. I think it’s worth noting what APD meant to this industry. I came to know APD when I graduated from college and a headhunter told me to interview at this firm that had to do with street parking or something. Off-street parking then, as it is today, was somewhat misunderstood and maybe undervalued. Even so, I went anyway. Much to my surprise, Automatic Parking Devices was far more than I initially believed. I interviewed and got a job as regional manager for the Northeast. APD equipment was then primarily sold on a factory-direct basis.

I started in 1969 and recall my very first IMPC (now IPI) trade show. As a new kid on the block, I was in awe of the then-major players of the industry—players that included Carl Walker, Jim Hunnicutt, Larry Donoghue, Tommy Feagins, John Fujiwara, Mike Demitry, Norm Goldman, George Devlin, Howard May, and operators such as Monroe Carell and Myron Warshauer, and so many others. They walked the show aisles with their entourages behind them, shaking hands and such. As a young kid, I wondered what the future would bring and if I could possibly befriend and maybe contribute to the industry as these gentlemen had. I was fortunate; I got to know, work with, and become friends with all these individuals.

The History

APD was one of the firms that really started the industry as we know it today. As it was explained to me, Vemco, a Detroit manufacturing firm of door operators, had connections with George Devlin, a parking consultant of note at the time who worked with National Garages. George was a special friend. He invited me in his Porsche one day to test the efficiency of a garage he had just designed; his test was to speed up the ramps at breakneck speed. Good memories!

George and Joe Vaughn, the owner of Vemco, met for lunch one day and, as so many inventions start, drew plans on a napkin for a concept known today as self-park. The use of some kind of machine that might be able to dispense a time-dated ticket in conjunction with a barrier gate that might open after a ticket was pulled was the plan. It sounds simple enough today, but someone had to come up with the idea. Prior to that, parking in America and the rest of the world relied on valet parking, at least if an operator wanted to collect money.

Jerry Tropino, Vemco’s engineer, designed the TD249 dispenser and G89 gate. That idea was patented in 1953 by a new startup firm called APD, then a subsidiary of Vemco. Shortly after, APD became an independent firm. So I can say with pride that mechanized parking started in Detroit, which seems apropos given that Detroit was the worldwide center for car production at that time.

APD had a long heritage of bringing to the forefront many parking innovations, such as card access for monthly parkers, anti-pass-back, programmable individualized access card systems, status scanners, the first fee computer (although back then—pre-microchip—it was always short by one cent). As time went on, the company introduced integrated detectors with anti-tailgating, an all-in-one gate controller that could be programmed by a distributor, one of the first central monitoring stations that used computers, barcode and magnetic ticket readers, and a host of other breakthroughs over the years. APD always promoted technology.

The Culture
I’m getting ahead of myself. When I joined APD, I immediately felt part of a family. It was privately owned, and almost everyone preceding me seemed to have been born into this business. They all lived and breathed parking. Many employees came to us right from high school or college and stayed. This provided the firm with a wealth of parking knowhow and experience, as those who came stayed for a long time.

My mentor was Don Zito, who ran engineering and sales, which I later took over. I was fortunate as I moved up the ladder, but I always tried to keep us current with the latest technology.

The first thing I did was hire a young computer engineer named Gary Ward. I credit much to him. We introduced something new and innovative every year during my 23 years with the company. Some of you may empathize with this story if you ever experienced it yourself. Back then, we sold direct from the factory, and because I was still relatively new with ideas, one day I went to see Charley Englehart, the owner. I suggested we go to a distributor network instead of selling directly. My argument was, “Charley, in the short term we’ll make less, but trust me, in the long term we’ll make more.”

It sounds like baloney today, but for some reason, he bought into it, and we grew from there. Back then, we had seven or so competitors that were, for the most part, American manufacturers. Competition was fierce. Unfortunately, most of those companies fell to the wayside over time. European firms seem to have replaced them. This was simply a prelude of American manufacturing, I guess. A lot of our U.S. manufacturing has disappeared.

Charley was getting on in years. His son wanted to get more into access control, and so he asked me to find buyers one day. Federal Signal had a small parking division of their own and became interested; the company ultimately purchased APD, which became Federal APD. Having a large corporation backing us was a godsend. As long as we were left to our own devices, there were no more worries about payroll and suppliers, and we were free to concentrate on innovations and growing the business. And grow it we did.

More Changes
Very few know this, but even before my time, APD brought Cincinnati Time into the parking business. APD wanted the retail clock technology that Cincinnati had, and in exchange for the use of that concept, APD allowed Cincinnati to bypass the patent and get into the parking business, making its own dispenser and gate. Cincinnati became our biggest competitor. Lathem time made the clock for us, and it became part of the TD 249, “the ticket dispenser that never stopped working,” as it was called by operators across the country. The same was said of the G89 gate that is still installed all over the country. Cincinnati Time later became Amano, which is another story unto itself, one I’ll leave for another day. Hamilton made our coin units for many years and later got into parking as well. For a brief time, we private-­labeled S&B products.

In 1999–2000, management differences with Federal Signal corporate caused the management team of Federal APD—myself included—to leave. At that time, we distributed worldwide. We were very profitable and had a majority share of the U.S. market, with representation around the world. APD was well-respected by consultants everywhere.

I can’t speak for what went on after 1999. What I will say is that in this niche business of parking, you need people who live and dream parking to succeed. Large corporations often underestimate the experience and complexity needed for this type of business to succeed. Sometimes big business practice can’t easily be applied to an industry that doesn’t conform to mass production-line techniques. Success is a delicate balance, oftentimes undefinable. But it’s a balance of product, services, and teamwork. One can’t always know why the team works so well—there is a magic to it in that everyone has to mesh their contradictions as well as their particular talents and expertise into a unified and cohesive action. When outsiders tinker with a good team and its actions, that fine balance gets disrupted and the consequences are seldom good. Countless stories have been written of what a simple change in the team can do to a company. I could write a book, but I won’t.

It suffices to say that this company contributed a great deal to our industry and it will be missed. I had the honor and pleasure of working with 155 of some of the greatest folks at APD and distributors alike all the way up to 1999. I’m sorry APD will be closing. It shouldn’t have happened, but it has. I’m confident some good will come from this.

Either way, the industry that started in Detroit is flourishing worldwide, and the basic concept established in 1953 is used in every country, city, and hamlet worldwide today thanks to APD. I guess it’s appropriate that I will be retiring in 2015 as well. Although you never know…

Pierre Koudelka has 44 years of parking experience as both a manufacturer and consultant and was on the IPI board for 13 years. He can be reached at jean.pierre.koudelka@gmail.com.

TPP-2015-02-A Personal Reflection

Rethinking Parking

TPP-2015-02-Rethinking ParkingBy Danette Perry, CAPP, and Willa Ng, PE

Berkeley, Calif.: the birthplace of the Free Speech movement, the first city to pass a tax on sugar, and the latest city to take on demand-based parking pricing? Though it sounds out of place at first, the City of Berkeley’s goBerkeley pilot is the municipality’s newest tool to address climate change and revitalize its economy.

As home to the University of California, Berkeley, the City of Berkeley is a willing participant in experiments and academic theory. So when businesses and visitors complained about lack of parking in downtown, the city looked for the best way to solve the problem without building more parking spaces because there was little money or real estate for additional parking.

Demand-based parking pricing—the idea that parking rates should be set to achieve one to two parking spaces per block at any time—was popularized by Donald Shoup and his University of California colleagues. However, in 2012, when planning for the goBerkeley pilot began, only the biggest cities (New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle) or small towns (Old Pasadena, Redwood City) had put this theory into practice. What would happen when it was tried in a city of 113,000 that had few resources but a lot of opinions?

Funded by federal and regional grants from the Federal Highway Administration, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, and Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the $3 million goBerkeley pilot program kicked off in July 2013 with two goals: reduce emission from congestion and support economic vitality.

Getting Started

The goBerkeley pilot is intended to improve ease of travel within three key areas of the city, explore and test methods to reduce local traffic congestion, improve parking options, and promote alternatives to driving one’s own car in three of Berkeley’s commercial areas. Our team worked closely with local businesses before goBerkeley started adjusting parking policies. We asked local employees and visitors what they needed and how we could help improve access to Berkeley’s businesses. In other words, we started the process by communicating.

Incentives to Leave the Car Behind
The first step of the goBerkeley pilot was to encourage people to leave their cars at home. To start, Berkeley distributed 2,000 free transit passes to residents and employees. In addition, the city partnered with City CarShare to install six carshare vehicles and provided subsidies for businesses that wished to sign up. The goal was to keep people coming downtown without their vehicles, leaving precious parking spaces available for those who absolutely needed to drive.

Keep It Simple

The next step was to design a program that would be effective in shifting parkers from congested parts of town to low-use areas. To do that, we had to keep our message as simple as possible. We quickly discarded more sophisticated parking schemes, including rates that varied block by block or by time of day, because the public told us those policies were too complicated. Instead, we created standard zones that we marked with new, color-coded static parking signs.

Congested areas were marked with blue signs that offered premium rates for two-hour maximum stays, and low-use areas were marked with green signs offering value rates for up to eight hours. In customer satisfaction surveys, Berkeley parkers reported that their favorite parts of the pilot were the new signs and standard time limits; there was no confusion about where they could park or for how long.

Providing Choices, Not Disincentives

The goBerkeley pilot program was designed to provide choices. Yes, parking meters in congested areas now charged a higher rate, but metered spaces just a few blocks away offered lower rates than before and with higher time limits. The parking scheme was promoted as offering choices to the parker: find a parking space without circling and pay a higher rate or drive a few blocks away to park for cheaper and longer. Along with the visual cues from the parking signs, this concept caught hold and improved parking conditions—the number of blocks in downtown that were too full dropped from 37 percent to 25 percent.

Longer Time Limits Don’t Really Hurt
Before the pilot started, time limits at metered parking spaces ranged from 30 minutes to two hours. The public reported that this confused them and didn’t give them enough time to complete their errands, dining, or shopping. An eight-hour time limit was introduced in areas with very low parking occupancy to provide an incentive for parkers. A few days after the change, these low-use areas became very popular! However, our data showed that people were not parking for eight hours; rather, they averaged three to four hours of parking, but drivers reported liking the flexibility of being able to park for longer if they felt like it.

As part of the pilot program, we also tracked the conditions in neighborhood streets around the commercial areas to determine whether spillover, or drivers avoiding meters by parking on residential streets, was occurring. Had we detected spillover the police department could have increased traditional enforcement and/or deployed more efficient enforcement technology. However, this action was not required.

Overall, longer time limits may have been one of the key factors to spreading demand from the congested areas to low-use areas and making the best use of all Berkeley’s parking spaces.

Collect Data, Cheaply if Possible

The goBerkeley pilot relied on tried-and-true methods of data collection, manually counting the number of parked cars and performing questionnaires of businesses, employees, visitors, and drivers. These methods are simple to replicate and, most importantly, dependable. Berkeley did not have the resources to install and manage advanced technology, such as in-ground parking sensors, but we made use of the technology available to us.

The pilot is currently leveraging two existing pieces of equipment: credit card-enabled smart meters and automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) systems to estimate parking occupancy. These two technologies are cost-effective, provide more frequent data points, and can serve other departments when not collecting parking occupancy data.

Berkeley recently ran a demonstration that showed that the two technologies together provide the data that we need to adjust rates at relatively low cost.

Data-Driven Decisions, Not Revenue
The goBerkeley pilot’s goals were to improve parking conditions in a way that reduced congestion from parking search traffic and supported the business community. The tools happened to include adjusting rates up or down. Adjustments will occur based on data and only to reach the stated targets of one to two parking spaces per block. The goal is not, has never been, and will never be to raise revenue for the city. This paradigm has been critical to the success of the goBerkeley pilot and was the biggest change in the way that citizens viewed the city’s management of parking.

Trust Your Operation Departments
Last, but not least, the biggest lesson learned from the goBerkeley pilot is the importance of the city staff that run the parking system. The city’s meter maintenance division, streets division, and parking enforcement professionals were key in translating academic theories into real-world success. Their feedback to parking planners about what the driving public would accept and understand was critical to the design of the ultimately simple parking scheme.

These field operations departments can also tell you what the signs and meters can do, what can be maintained into the future, and when you’re off track—they care deeply about their jobs and their city and will do the job right. Berkeley’s decision to work with existing staff, departments, and resources instead of depending on contractors or temporary help was a big one.

We will evaluate the effect of the goBerkeley pilot program and make recommendations about each aspect of the program to the Berkeley City Council this spring for a decision on whether to continue in the future. Based on the data and feedback, the pilot has been effective and popular, but the lessons learned will be useful to Berkeley and other cities, regardless of the outcome.

Danette Perry, CAPP, is parking services manager with the Public Works/Transportation Division of the City of Berkeley. She can be reached at dperry@ci.berkeley.ca.us or 510.981.7057.

Willa Ng, PE, is a principal planner with the City of Berkeley. She can be reached at wng@cityofberkeley.info or 510.981.7064.

TPP-2015-02-Rethinking Parking

Photogenic Parking

TPP-2015-02-Photogenic Parking

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but the amount of beauty, cuteness, and laughs in parking is pretty amazing, judging by the record number of entries in this year’s photo contest. From cute kids to beautiful rainbows to sunsets and structures that took our judges’ breath away, the entries were nothing short of amazing. Many thanks to all who entered their photos!

Our panel of judges from the IPI staff and BonoTom Studio (the designers who make this magazine look great) had a tough job this year, but met the challenge and somehow picked a handful of winners from all of the fantastic entries we received. We promised publication to our category and grand prize winners, but there were so many great photos to choose from that we’re also sharing some of our other favorites here. Our category winners each received gift certificates to outfit themselves with some sharp swag at shopipi.com, and our best-in-show winner received a ticket to the 2015 IPI Conference & Expo.

Congratulations to all who entered this year. We can’t wait to see the pictures you take in 2015!

TPP-2015-02-Photogenic Parking

Parking as Public Policy Priority

TPP-2015-02-Parking as Public Policy PriorityBy Perry Eggleston, CAPP

For years, we’ve heard the joke, “What does parking policy have in common with jumbo shrimp? Some experts say both are oxymorons.” Historically speaking, parking planning was left to the urban planner, who used antiquated space ratios to determine parking requirements for new construction projects. When a government agency decides to implement some kind of control, it looks to its neighbors and no one seems to recall the rationale for such policies.

As land becomes less available, its value has risen. Additionally, sustainability demands are increasing, and municipalities and universities are looking to public administrators to develop new polices on how to manage parking in their jurisdictions. There is a distinct need among professional parking managers to use more of a public administrative process when creating planning, enforcement, and pay-for-parking policies.

Parking Is Public Policy
The purpose of parking regulation is to control the use of a limited resource. Without regulation, there would be little regard for safety or organization. For example, note the chaos at youth athletic events at local parks or schools. Drivers often park without regard for the safety of others, focusing solely on locating a space as close as possible to where their children are playing. It quickly becomes obvious that human nature takes over human rationality.

When public administrators become involved, policies are created to address local land use regulations, human nature, minimum parking requirements, flexibility in those requirements, and parking standards for local municipalities or governmental authorities. With good planning, parking becomes organized, rational, and fair. These standards increase the amount of available parking space without necessarily increasing the actual inventory of parking spaces.

“Without parking, automobiles would be useless, but in cities, parking consumes vast spaces that preempt other uses and make other mobilities incongruent,” wrote Jason Henderson. San Francisco is wrestling with this issue. New policies are being constructed to reduce parking, and thus, automobile use. These new policies are butting up against traditional political movements that lean toward requiring more parking spaces, in direct opposition to new trends.

A November 2007 ballot measure would have allowed for the construction of additional parking in San Francisco. This was at a time when transportation, neighborhood, and environmental activists were successful in reducing parking in the city. The measure was defeated, and the parking debate continues. “As local responses to global warming, energy consumption, and the social justice implications of automobiles proliferate, San Francisco provides a poignant example for scholars, activists, and policymakers interested in how the challenges to the automobile and its parking spaces are unfolding,” Henderson wrote.

Removing parking spaces is not a popular movement across the U.S. Even in New York City, where congestion is king, the removal of parking spaces has not become an overwhelming issue. Flexible reuse of buildings is limited due to local parking regulations. To meet ­minimum-parking requirements, investors are required to tear down core building structures. Parking is more than differences over the number of spaces; it is about the cities’ values and urban space uses.

Adding to Existing Theory

In his discussion of balancing on- and off-street fees, Donald Shoup provided an argument for rational, cost-efficient, and consistent parking policy. He provided theoretical support to parking spaces being a resource needing management to prevent vehicle congestion. His research compared his model with current planning practices among parking professionals and proposed changes to their professional organization. However, Shoup’s research did not directly include the need for effective enforcement to ensure compliance with on-street parking regulations.

Parking management should be removed from the discipline of strict urban planning and put into the area of public administration policy. These policies should include processes of pricing, financial assessment, and fines to ensure compliance and sufficient revenue to maintain operations. Using public administration policies, parking organizations would be better prepared to navigate the various political currents they face.

Shoup focused on a model of balanced fee structures, which research argues must be included in comprehensive parking planning. Imbalanced fees create imbalanced demand on the less-expensive parking facility and encourage drivers to drive in circles, wasting gas and time to seek cheaper parking spaces.

Because many parking agencies are self-funded by fees and fines, it is imperative that organizations develop policies that address the need for effective enforcement. This would include balancing fees and fines to encourage compliance and increase revenue. Unlike traditional business models in which supply and demand can be easily determined, the concept of self-funding through fine and fee structures is difficult to analyze and calculate. As James Hunnicutt, CAPP, said, “No one drives to a parking location just to look at the parking facility … parking is a service to something else.”

Include Enforcement

The purpose of parking management is to control a limited, and some perceive, declining resource. Urban planning studies mandate the use of formulas to determine the minimum number of parking spaces to be included in a construction project. Shoup’s proposed model would change demand by creating equal pricing. It would adjust the cost to park based on demand and ensure that on- and off-street parking pricing models are equal.

The intent of on-street parking is to provide a short-term space with regular turnover that ensures adequate space availability. Pricing for these spaces should be as high as or higher than their off-street counterparts. If the on-street spaces are not occupied, lower the pricing to return to a level of equilibrium. “Parking policy should respond to human behavior and not formula-bound engineering,” Hunnicutt wrote.

The best practices for parking management, policy development, and implementation would focus on operations that are responsive to those they serve. While the cost to park on the street and in area garages should parallel each other, so should the use of an equally effective fine structure. As balanced on- and off-street fees direct demand, an effectively balanced fine structure will encourage compliance and the expected turnover of the parking space that Shoup recommends.

Heretofore, parking enforcement and fines have been an afterthought in organizational planning and not included in research. Adding a balanced fine structure will allow organizations to forecast revenue so they might plan maintenance, construction, and increases to their service levels by creating more revenue in compliance.

By adopting a public policy approach during the parking planning process and implementing a balanced fee and fine approach, parking professionals will increase customer satisfaction and recoup sufficient revenue for operations. Collecting parking fees is already a hot topic in many locations; an imbalanced fine structure creates additional customer confusion and dissatisfaction along with the associated political dissonance.

More Research Is Required
The topic of public policy and balanced fees and fines suffers a gap in research despite the consensus on its importance. This gap includes the enforcement component in the development of local parking policy. Municipalities and universities have been collecting parking fees for more than 80 years, but many organizations do not clearly understand how to implement parking fees and fines. This problem is compounded by political entities hesitant to make changes—there is fear that adjustments will negatively affect constituent perceptions of lawmakers’ intent. The goal is to provide the service that is expected from customers, along with sufficient parking space availability, through an effective enforcement program that works to increase compliance.

Municipal parking professionals are working with parking regulations written in the 1970s with no modification to allow professionals to adjust fees and fines with changing demand. Minimum parking requirements require that sufficient parking is available for the highest demand periods even when these high-demand periods only occur annually or at certain times. New-­construction investors may even add to the minimum-parking requirements to protect their investment value in case of a building use change in the future.

Further investigation of implementing fees and balancing them with the appropriate fine structures can assist parking professionals by providing enough parking spaces for their customers while maintaining a sufficient revenue stream to maintain operations. Scholars and practitioners working together to develop effective parking policies could increase the quality of life for their constituents, reduce congestion, and ensure sufficient revenue to maintain or increase services.

There is a need for additional research to assist government agencies in supporting balancing fees and fines and addressing the needs of users and constituents. Research of specific public administration policies and theories in the parking industry is long overdue. City council or local executive branch changes may change the mission of the organization. In these situations, parking administrators must have polices in place that are inherently fair to citizens while providing for the effective use of the limited parking inventory. By using a balanced fee and fine approach as a foundational step, these professionals maintain fairness to those they serve and create fiscally sound parking policies.

Parking professionals can begin this by first including parking enforcement in pricing policies. This will ensure the highest levels of compliance are experienced. Second, review fee and fine levels. Seek a balance that encourages compliance while maintaining sufficient revenue sources for continued operation. Third, participate in the discussion both locally and nationally by attending meetings and conferences that allow the opportunity to learn from and teach others about effective parking policies.

As municipalities and universities wrestle with declining land availability, increased demand for greener operations, and increased costs for the maintenance of parking facilities, there will be more demand on parking planners to use public policy models. “The lack of large-scale data on public parking fees and fines and public planning that relates to parking has hampered such analysis,” wrote Rachel Weinberger, Amy Auchincloss, and Semra Aytur in the November 2014 issue of The Parking Professional. While parking pricing policies could influence travel choices (using mass transit, walking, or biking), the public’s perceived dependence on the automobile has, as Weinberger and her colleagues wrote, “fostered fierce opposition to increasing the cost of parking, making the political cost difficult to overcome.” The biggest political cost to overcome is the perception that parking is free. Using public policy as a parking management tool, administrators can begin to combat this.

Perry Eggleston, CAPP, is director of parking and transportation services at the University of Texas at Arlington. He can be reached at eggleston@uta.edu or 817.272.3907.

TPP-2015-02-Parking as Public Policy Priority

Making The Most

TPP-2015-02-Making The MostBy Ryan Baker and Chris Chettle, CAPP

There’s been a shift in parking technology adoption in recent years. Where single-space meters and gated systems once monopolized the parking landscape, both public and private parking operators are now realizing the benefits of multi-space parking pay stations. This technology offers the flexibility to meet the needs of both on- and off-street parking implementations and includes a variety of features that streamline parking operations, increase consumer convenience, and encourage compliance. Additionally, advanced communication enables operators to integrate new technologies, remotely configure and monitor pay stations, and analyze revenue and operational data in real time.

While these benefits are significant, they can all be undone if pay stations are incorrectly placed. Correct meter placement is vital to the success of a multi-space parking implementation.

Here, you’ll learn how to achieve maximum performance, customer satisfaction, and revenue from your multi-space pay station deployment through proper placement of the meters. This includes a critically important but often-overlooked element of placement: pedestrian traffic flow. Other key elements include optimizing placement based on
mode of operation, power supply, mounting surface, and disability access.

Pedestrian Flow
Choosing the number and placement of meters is a careful balancing act, and a key variable in this equation is pedestrian flow—understanding which direction consumers are going once they have parked. For example, if too many meters are placed in areas of low volume or too few meters are installed in areas of high volume, the deployment will not reach its optimal performance. Regardless, if it’s on- or off-street, operators should conduct a pedestrian flow study to ensure both the number of meters and their locations meet pedestrians’ needs.

In addition to evaluating the proximity of pay stations, operators should determine whether the majority of pedestrian flow is headed in a single direction or in multiple directions. In the case of off-street parking especially, one must determine whether the majority of pedestrian flow is through a single entry/exit point or if there is an even flow across multiple points.

Ideally, meters should be placed within pedestrians’ natural path. Avoid placing meters in locations that require pedestrians to deviate from their natural path to pay for parking. This increases both consumer satisfaction and compliance.

The volume of pedestrian flow is another key consideration. Is the flow of traffic low or high? Does it spike at specific times of the day? More meters may be required where a commuter bus or train station is close, for example.

These locations tend to see a high number of transactions in a short period of time. In cases such as these, placing several meters close together can reduce line-ups and installation costs and prevent consumers from choosing to risk a citation because they don’t want to miss their train or bus.

Pedestrian Flow and Modes of Operation
The operational mode often dictates the number of meters to deploy, and pedestrian flow weighs heavily on where to place them. Selecting the right operational mode for both your parking system and pedestrian flow will enhance consumer convenience and maximize your revenue potential.

For both on- and off-street parking operations, there are three primary modes: pay-and-display (PND), pay-by-space (PBS), and pay-by-license plate (PBL).

In a PND environment, the consumer must walk to the meter, purchase a permit, and then return to the vehicle to display the permit for enforcement purposes. When planning a PND installation, be mindful of the distance the consumer must walk to and from the meter. Also consider the seasonal weather variation in your area—inclement weather or extreme temperatures can deter consumers from compliance if the walking distance to a meter is too great.

In an on-street PND application with parallel parking, multi-space meters configured to support PND will cover approximately eight to 12 spaces. This means two to three multi-space meters per block face within a large city block. With angled or head-in parking spaces, up to 18 spaces may be covered by a single meter because the spaces are adjacent to each other and require a comparable distance to walk. For an on-street implementation, meters should be no more than 75 feet away from any parking space. For an off-street implementation, meters should be no more than 100 feet away from any parking space.

In a PBS or PBL deployment, the consumer is not required to return to the vehicle to display a permit. Instead, he must walk to the meter and key in the parking space number for PBS or the vehicle’s license plate number for PBL. This means there’s greater flexibility in the number and location of meters required—usually fewer and more aligned with pedestrian traffic flow in comparison with PND operations. In an on-street application, one or two meters can cover a large city block face. For parallel parking, this adds up to approximately 20 spaces; for angled/head-in parking spaces, a single multi-space meter can cover up to 25 spaces. For an on-street implementation, meters should be no more than 100 feet away from any parking space.

In off-street deployments, multi-space meters are capable of managing hundreds of spaces with one meter, but considerations such as the size and layout of the facility, direction of foot traffic, and volume of traffic flow all play a role in the consumer experience beyond the meter’s sheer capabilities. In addition, implementing too few meters can make the transition from another parking model, such as single-space meters, much more difficult for the consumer, especially if meters are located too far from where the consumer is used to having to walk.

Case Study: Redondo Beach, Calif.
The City of Redondo Beach, Calif., recently installed PBS parking meters in two garages. Because this was a PBS deployment, the proximity of the pay stations to the parking spaces wasn’t as much of an issue as placing the pay stations in an area that was convenient to the consumer’s eventual destination.

Also, because these garages serve two popular tourist destinations (the marina and the pier), the ease of finding and using the pay stations was critical to out-of-town users who may not be familiar with the area and the garage layout. In this case, because the majority of consumers use the exits closest to the marina, the city installed more pay stations at those locations and fewer at the other exit points in each garage.

Other Considerations Power Supply

Power supply is another consideration when determining the placement of meters, as this can dramatically affect the cost of the installation as well as ongoing expenses. Two primary options exist today: AC and solar power.
With AC-powered meters, the cost of routing power is usually the largest determining factor of meter placement. If replacing an existing AC-powered meter, you must determine whether the existing electrical meets the requirements of the new meter or if new conduit needs to be run.

If you plan to route AC power to your new meters, follow all local regulations and codes. Check with your vendor on the power requirements of the new meters. The ideal location for the placement of a meter isn’t always an ideal location to run power. In these situations, you will need to decide if the desired meter location outweighs the cost of routing AC. In some cases, sidewalks already have power source locations, which decreases the cost of routing power.

Solar is an alternative to AC power and is much more flexible in terms of placement. No routing is required, and both the install and operating costs are lower. However, environmental considerations must be taken into account. Will the meter receive enough sunlight, or do trees, signs, buildings, or seasonal considerations impede this? For the average meter operating with real-time services, such as credit card processing, to sustain itself on a solar charge, it is often recommended that the meter receive approximately two hours of direct sunlight per day.
If you are purchasing a meter with a solar panel that can be rotated or moved, you will have some additional flexibility in the placement of the meter, as the panel can be adjusted according to environmental conditions.

Mounting Surface
The surface on which meters are mounted is another important consideration from a theft, vandalism, and safety perspective. The proper mounting surface also has implications on the meter’s longevity and maintenance needs. Concrete is the standard material used for meter mounting pads.

While asphalt and brick may appear to be viable alternatives to concrete, they are typically not stable enough to securely support a meter. Check with local regulations and survey requirements before pouring new pads. Most meter vendors will provide detailed information on how to prepare the mounting surface.

Disability Access

In addition to the physical environment in which meters are installed, it is also imperative that all consumers, including disabled persons, have access to the meters. Be sure to review local and federal ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements concerning meter height, access, and space around the meter, as well as placement of ramps.

The ultimate driver of meter placement planning—and the success of your multi-space parking implementation—lies in optimizing for pedestrian flow. If you do this, along with selecting the best operational mode, power source, mounting surface, and accessibility factors, you will gain the most ROI from your investment in multi-space pay stations and have satisfied parking consumers.

Ryan Baker is manager, project management at T2 Systems. He can be reached at ryan.baker@T2systems.com.

Chris Chettle, CAPP, is executive vice president, digital business unit at T2 Systems. He can be reached at chris.chettle@T2systems.com.

TPP-2015-02-Making The Most

Big Progress in Big Data

TPP-2015-02-Big Progress in Big DataBy Michael Drow, CAPP; Peter Lange; and Blake Laufer, CAPP

The parking industry has access to more data today than ever before, and the amount of data collected is growing quickly and exponentially. We generate incredible amounts of data from a variety of sources, including space availability tools, meter and parking management systems, credit card and other electronic payment transactions, financial systems, and social media. This does not include data created by other entities, such as weather, traffic, and event-related data.

All of this data created across the industry lends itself to the concept and tools called “big data.” The IPI Technology Committee has prepared a timely and relevant presentation on this topic to be shared at many regional parking shows, as well as the 2015 IPI Conference and Expo in Las Vegas, June 29–July 2. Here, we offer an overview of big data, shedding light on how it affects the parking industry.

It’s a popular topic, and many multinational companies, including Xerox, IBM, Oracle, and SAP, are devoting considerable resources to supporting related initiatives. There is no doubt that the movement will have an effect on our operations and future management of our parking and transportation systems, but what exactly are we talking about when we say “big data”?

A Definition
As defined by many sources, big data is an all-­encompassing term for any collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using traditional data-processing applications. In layman’s terms, this means bringing together a lot of data from different sources to reveal patterns and trends associated with human behavior.

We are all familiar with using databases and running reports to gain an understanding of trends and the status of our operations. The field of big data is meant to assist in those cases in which there is so much data that a single database and the typical tools used to analyze the data cannot work. In these cases, we need big data tools and methods for analysis.

Believe it or not, you already have experience with this; these tools are already used by many of the companies we interact with on a daily basis. If you have ever watched a YouTube video, you have seen an advertisement presented before your selected clip. YouTube presents specific advertisements based on your video search history, as well as how you reacted to previous advertisements that appeared on your screen. The company tracks which advertisements you actually watch to learn your interests. It also tracks how quickly you skip advertisements—if you skip most advertisements but let certain ones progress for five seconds before skipping, for example, that is tracked.

Based on this analysis, YouTube refines its profile of you, and that profile is presented to various advertisers that might be interested. Understanding which advertisements are of interest to you helps YouTube generate advertising revenue, and the company hopes it puts ads on your screen that you’ll find interesting and be willing to watch.

Similar use of data concepts will help our parking and transportation operations by providing new insights that have not been previously identified. By correlating and testing various data sets, entities will learn of new relationships that can be used to improve their operations or service offerings to customers. While new research and ideas related to big data are being introduced on a regular basis, there are four key terms that should be understood. Refer to Figure 1, the Big Data Pyramid (p.22), which depicts how the four terms build upon each other.

Term 1: Key Performance Metrics
At the base of the big data pyramid is the need to define key performance metrics (also known as key performance indicators or KPIs). KPIs are real numbers that help us judge the status of things being monitored. KPIs should be metrics that are actionable and lead to decision-making, not metrics that require more analysis or are interesting to ponder but do not result in actions. In a parking operation, these might be revenue per stall, occupancy or utilization, or citations per vehicle—the things you need to track to reach your objectives (regardless of whether your management objective is financial, equality, promotional, or in another area.)

Term 2: Data Warehousing
The next level is to track KPI metrics over time. To do that, we need to find a means to store KPIs in a database system. Many systems are available for this, and you can use either your own software package or those available from vendors. If you do this yourself, you will need to make an upfront investment and dedicate ongoing development time and effort to build the infrastructure. In terms of big data (like, really big data), you would not do this yourself. For the size and scope of data for a typical parking operation, though, any typical database system can operate as a warehouse.

Term 3: Analytics and Business Intelligence
Once you’ve established a data warehouse/database, you can move into analytics and business intelligence (BI). This is where we gain insights by reading data visualizations (charts, graphs, dashboards, etc). Imagine receiving a daily emailed report about the status of your operations. These emails or readouts tell you the health of your operation (expressed through revenue received, week-by-week comparisons, etc.). The key is to be able to see a snapshot of how you’re doing, as well as track changes over time. Make sure your reports, dashboards, and tools give you—the data consumer—a way to ask questions related to how you are doing as an operation and what is driving the results you’re seeing.

Term 4: Data Science

Once we define the business analytics and intelligence layer, we can look into what is called “data science.” In other words, now that we have quality data, how can we use data science to proactively analyze and generate meaningful insight from our data? While business analytics and intelligence are used to analyze data to explain the past, data science uses the data to predict the future.

Up to this point, we have talked about big data and the ability to manage and analyze very large amounts of data. It should be understood that many of the same concepts can be applied to smaller operations and data sets. While many of our operations do not generate large amounts of data, an operation should still take the opportunity to analyze its data to understand consumer trends and ways to improve the operation. In fact, we could analyze the data generated from a few garages quite easily using existing database and spreadsheet tools.

Hot Topic
The real value of big data comes when we start to compile data from all of the garages, all of the meters, and all of the parking spaces that customers use in a region or the industry. We then merge that data with data from local events (sporting events, festivals, etc.), holidays, weather patterns, and other customer activity. By analyzing this large amount of data, we will begin to glean insight into what is driving demand peaks on a Thursday at Garage A but not on Tuesday night at Garage B just a block away. From these insights, garage operators will be able to refine their services and pricing to better meet the actual needs of customers using their facilities at different times during the week, month, or year.

Regardless of whether you plan to participate in a true big data initiative or establish a small initiative of your own, you can apply the data pyramid to any operation and gain results. However, participating in large-scale big data initiatives will require an operation to consider how it will support the initiative. Many large cities and universities have big data initiatives underway and are requesting other public and privately owned parking facilities to participate in their initiatives. The following are a few points that an operation should consider when participating in a big data initiative:

  • Do your existing computer systems enable you to export data to other databases? When investing in new systems, make sure the systems support open data architecture.
  • Do you have appropriate data lines to support transferring data to and from other parties? This is even more important as you desire to receive and send real-time data to and from many parties. Lots of data being passed requires larger bandwidth to handle the traffic.
  • Do you have sufficient data storage capacity to manage all of it? Have you established appropriate retention procedures to keep only the data that is necessary over time?

Have you implemented appropriate privacy policies to protect sensitive information from your operations and your customers? This is currently the most overlooked aspect. There are increasing numbers of laws limiting the amount of data that an operation can send about its customers to other parties. In addition, an organization should consider always keeping certain types of information secure.

Big data concepts will become a larger consideration in all of our operations during the coming years, and many of our operations will be asked to participate in related initiatives sponsored by a variety of public and private organizations. Every operation should consider what it intends to achieve from participating in these projects and if its operation is structured to effectively support the initiatives. It is not always about large big data initiatives; many of the same concepts and tools can be performed on a smaller scale.

Each operation should evaluate the data it has currently and how it can leverage data analytics to learn more about its customers and opportunities for operational improvements.

The IPI Technology Committee’s research on big data will be presented in full at the 2015 IPI Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, June 29–July 2. For more information, visit IPIConference.parking.org.

Michael Drow, CAPP, is senior vice president, technology integration, with SP+/Chicago Support Office. He can be reached at mdrow@spplus.com or 312.274.2110.

Peter Lange is executive director, transportation, at Texas A&M University, College Station. He can be reached at plange@tamu.edu or 979.845.9700.

Blake Laufer, CAPP, is senior vice president, product development and technology, T2 Systems, Inc. He can be reached at blaufer@t2systems.com or 317.524.5500.

TPP-2015-02-Big Progress in Big Data

An Easy Approach to Innovation

TPP-2015-02-An Easy Approach to InnovationBy Julius E. Rhodes, SPHR

Innovation has been a hot topic since Ben Franklin first flew a kite in a thunderstorm to search for electricity.
The major differences between Ben Franklin’s time and today are about 200 years and the enormous amount of information people are continually bombarded with as they go about the process of innovation. This reminds me of a quick anecdote from when my son was much younger, during a discussion about his history grade. I said, “Son, history is easy; it’s really just memorization.” He looked at me with a quizzical expression and said, “But Dad, there’s so much more of it to remember now than there was when you were my age.” Wow, that was a head-knocker.

I later came to realize that what he shared with me is the same reason many people and firms are unable to innovate—they use institutional memory (i.e., things that happened in the past) as a way to retain the status quo or keep from doing things. Here’s the rub: The status quo doesn’t really favor anyone. At some point, even the most jaded people will grow tired of being fed the same old thing and will want—even demand—change. You don’t have to look any further than our political system to realize that.

Making It Happen
We all need to learn to get out of our own way and out of the way of others so they can begin the process of innovation (innovation is a process) without having to shift through mounds of irrelevant data as they try to do their jobs, balance work and life, and do the millions of other things they are or could be involved with at a
given time.

I believe (of course I wasn’t there for the actual event) that the reason Benjamin Franklin was so successful at identifying new ways of looking at familiar situations or coming up with new ideas is that he was encumbered by minutia. Well, there was that one little thing that had to do with the breaking away from the British Empire, but he had solid priorities and could therefore move past that situation to look at other things.

Our world is too connected, and I don’t just mean technology (although that is a big part of it). I mean we always have to be doing something. I’m not saying people need more downtime necessarily, but we could all benefit from a plate that is not quite as full. The only way to get there is to identify how we can simplify things and then replicate our efforts consistently.

An Example
If you don’t buy into the idea that our plates are too full, look at the old General Motors or, as some people I know who worked for GM in its heyday called it, “generous motors.” GM workers knew that too many product lines and too many choices (Buick, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Chevy, Cadillac, etc.) were bringing the company down, but they reasoned that as long as they were paid to produce cars and not use their brains to look at the process, they would do what they were asked. Meanwhile, offshore competition realized that if choices were limited, people could make quicker decisions and the companies could produce their product faster and with much more quality.

We need to simply learn how to get out of our way and the way of others. I’d like to know what you think about this, so send me your thoughts; my email address is under my photo to the left.

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.

TPP-2015-02-An Easy Approach to Innovation

People the Trio’s Overlooked Segment

TPP-2015-02-People the Trio’s Overlooked SegmentBy J.C. Porter, CAPP

We all have a good idea of what sustainability means in regard to the planet and how it can affect the bottom line (profit), but people seem to fall into a gray area of our understanding.

Providing great customer service is something everyone strives to achieve. Customers are an obvious group of people who can see how sustainability programs will directly affect parking operations and create a better service. For example, installing a wayfinding system in a parking garage will help reduce carbon emissions by reducing the amount of time needed to find an open space and reducing the dreaded space-search circle through the structure.

This clearly provides the customer with a better experience in the garage, making it easier to enter, find an open space, and exit.

Proximity near bus routes or offering bike programs is another way to provide good customer service while giving you an edge over other parking providers. Vanpool and carpool parking areas help promote your services to a variety of potential customers while you help promote sustainability. Appearance may also help provide a better customer experience. Changing the lighting to be more energy efficient will help your bottom line and create a more customer-friendly environment. Along with lighting, paint and wayfinding signage also help create a space that is aesthetically pleasing.

Employees are a resource that can make or break an operation. Providing professional development opportunities for employees benefits the employee as well as the employer; the employee will be satisfied with his job, which leads to increased productivity. You will also likely recruit better employees, creating a more positive and effective work environment. Retention of good employees helps save time by not having to constantly work through the hiring process and saves money because resources aren’t used constantly training new employees.

There are plenty of sustainability-focused training opportunities, including the Green Garage Certification training administered by the Green Parking Council (GPC, an affiliate of IPI). This training helps your employees better understand the parking industry and how they can help your business operate more efficiently and sustainably. Webinars and IPI’s Online Courses and Training are an affordable training option; employees do not have to travel and can receive training in a conference room or even at their desks or at home.

State and regional conferences are a great way for your employees to receive regionally specific training and to connect with peers to help share ideas and concepts (of course, the IPI Conference & Expo is an outstanding development opportunity for parking professionals at all experience levels). All of these courses, learning opportunities, and certification programs are a great investment in your business, as they not only help employees feel they are important to the company but also produce more informed employees who will offer better service to the customer.

Using green construction programs reduces a new garage’s carbon footprint by making the most of regional materials and workers and reducing the amount of waste that must be placed in the landfill, which is a help to the people of the planet. Helping reduce emissions of any form also helps the people of the planet. That’s also true when it comes to recycling gray water because drinking water is something we all need to conserve as much as possible. Solar energy also helps reduce the dependence on fossil fuels for producing electricity.

In all of the sustainable actions you implement, do not forget the people portion of the three Ps: people, planet, and profit. It’s all green.

J.C. Porter, CAPP, is assistant director of commuter services, parking, and transit services at Arizona State University and a member of IPI’s Sustainability Committee. He can be reached at j.porter@asu.edu or 480.965.8157.

TPP-2015-02-People the Trio’s Overlooked Segment

Automated Vehicle Storage Retrieval System Update

TPP-2015-02-Automated Vehicle Storage Retrieval System UpdateBy Donald R. Monahan, PE

After completion of the first two fully automated vehicle storage/retrieval systems (AVSRS) in October 2002 (Hoboken, N.J., and Washington, D.C.), it took another five years before the third system was completed in the U.S., in New York City. To date, 14 systems have been completed, and another eight are under construction. Many more are in the negotiating phase.

Current Automated Vehicle Storage Systems in the U.S. as follows: (see image in link)

So what have we learned about these systems during the past 12 years?

The construction cost is competitive with conventional, ramp-access, self-park garages, particularly when they are constructed underground, under a building, or on a site too small for a conventional garage. The same number of stalls can be constructed in an automated garage at half the volume of a conventional garage. The savings in construction costs can then offset the cost of the automated parking machinery. The construction cost just for the automated parking machinery (not the building shell space) is in the range of $15,000 to $20,000 per space for automated garages of up to 500 stalls and four to five levels. Smaller capacity garages and very tall garages can be up to $30,000 per space.

The operating cost is approximately $55 to $75 per month per space, or approximately double the operating cost of a conventional garage. Maintenance is approximately half of the operating cost and ranges from $35 to $45 per month per space. Garages smaller than 100 spaces are at the high end of those ranges, while larger garages are at the low end.

Design Challenges
One of the biggest design challenges is to configure the correct number of entry/exit compartments for the peak hour arrival/departure traffic volume. One entry/exit compartment has an average service rate of approximately 30 vehicles per hour, although the inbound service rate may be somewhat slower and the outbound service rate somewhat faster. The aggregate volume-to-­capacity ratio should not exceed 0.7 to minimize queuing. For example, the peak-hour volume for an office use may be on the order of 40 percent of the capacity for a 500-car garage. The peak-hour volume is then 200 vehicles per hour (the entry/exit compartment can serve both inbound and outbound traffic). The design volume is then 200/0.7 equals 286 vph. The required number of transfer compartments is then 9.5, rounded to 10.

Configuring that many entry/exit compartments at the street level can be a challenge. Therefore, AVSRS garages are more feasible for lower peak-hour traffic volumes than for hotel/residential uses or for small urban infill sites (i.e., less than 100 by 100 feet), where automated parking is the only option that can provide parking under the building.

Another design challenge is to configure the number of transport devices and lifts in the storage compartment to store or deliver a vehicle within two to three minutes. This design is typically left for the manufacturer to determine, while performance testing is provided at commissioning the garage to ensure compliance.
Automated vehicle storage/retrieval systems have come a long way in recent years and are another viable tool to help meet owners’ parking needs.

Donald R. Monahan, PE, is vice president of Walker Parking Consultants/Walker Restoration Consultants and a member of IPI’s Consultants Committee.. He can be reached at don.monahan@walkerparking.com or 303.694.6622.

TPP-2015-02-Automated Vehicle Storage Retrieval System Update