Innovation Drives the Parking Industry

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Innovation Drives the Parking Industry

 Industry “disruptors” such as autonomous vehicles, car-sharing and online education mean that being innovative is more important than ever to today’s parking pros. During the NPA Convention & Exposition 2015 in Miami Beach, the leading innovators of our profession were recognized for their contributions to the industry. 
Innovator of the Year: Chandrea Frantz, Parking Guidance Systems LLC
The NPA’s highest honor, Innovator of the Year, went to Chandrea “Shawn” Frantz, Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Parking Guidance Systems (PGS). A busy working mother, she had found herself wasting inordinate amounts of time looking for parking spaces at crowded malls, and at airports and hotels when she traveled. Instead of letting it get the best of her, Frantz turned her frustration into innovation and created PGS, a leading distributor of advanced parking technology. 
Her vision for PGS is rooted in innovation, customer service and filling a void in the parking industry. 
“Although women represent the largest segment of parking customers, they had no voice when it came to parking guidance,” said Dale Fowler of Indect U.S.A., who nominated Frantz for the honor. 
“Chandrea believed that, as a representative of the largest segment of parking customers, she was more sensitive and aware of what customers were looking for when searching for an open space in a parking garage or lot. 
“High on her list of criteria were speed and efficiency of locating a parking space, safety, security and environmental friendliness,” he said.
For more NPA information on Frantz and her company, please go to http://weareparking.org/?page=Innovation_Winners.
Innovative Organization of the Year: the University of British Columbia
When the University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada, was faced with significant traffic problems caused by its gated facilities, Brian Jones, its Director of Parking & Access Services, took action. He was charged with not only reducing parking wait times, which were as high as 45 minutes, but also reducing the university’s growing carbon footprint. 
With 7,500 cars entering and exiting its garages every day, UBC parkers were racking up 166 hours of idling per day. That led to the burning of 175 gallons of fuel, producing 900 lbs. of CO2 every day. 
To solve this massive problem, Jones and his team began a major overhaul of UBC’s parking operations. They moved to a gateless solution, installed LPR cameras and introduced a virtual permit program. 
UBC utilizes the integration of T2’s Digital Luke II paystations operating in pay-by-license Plate mode, and Genetec’s AutoVu LPR to manage enforcement for surface lots and on-street parking. These solutions reportedly have not only increased parker satisfaction, but saved the university over $4 million. 
For more information on the UBC project, please go to http://weareparking.org/?page=Innovation_Winners. 
Innovative Facility of the Year: Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
 Late this year, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International (FLL) became the first airport in the U.S. to deploy a camera-based parking guidance system (PGS). (See article elsewhere in this issue of Parking Today.)Park Assist installed its new Model M4 camera-based system in the facility’s two garages. 
Travelers flying in and out of FLL will benefit from an effortless parking experience with guidance to more than 5,500 spaces throughout the two garages, and then back to their vehicle using the company’s proprietary Find-Your-Car feature.
The camera-based PGS also is projected to reduce search time and, thus, CO2 emissions by about 44%. FLL also expects the system to increase security and provide data on parker behavior, preferences and experiences. 
Additionally, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International was to introduce premium parking products, employing HUB Technology’s revenue control platform along with Park Assist’s Park Select-Rate software. 
For more information on the award-winning facility, please go to http://weareparking.org/?page=Innovation_Winners.
Innovative Sustainability Project of the Year: the University of California, Irvine
For Transportation and Distribution Services (T&DS) at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), being “green” is good business. For 65% of its 38,000 “affiliates,” sustainable transportation is the No. 1 choice for moving through campus. As a result, more than 108 million vehicle miles traveled and nearly 44,000 megatons of greenhouse gas emissions are eliminated annually, according to UCI. 
The UCI department utilizes an abundance of innovative programs, including but not limited to permitless parking, mobile EV-charging, bike-share and adaptive street lighting. Its MyCommute parking system is designed to gauge predictable availability and give the parker control of their options. 
Also, the maintenance unit uses green processes for repairs, realizing cost savings of 88%; reduces parking interruptions; and keeps about 600,000 square feet of asphalt out of landfills each year, UCI says. 
The department also takes an innovative approach to engaging the student body in the process. Conceptual designs for on-campus transportation facilities, for example, begin with student engineers who gain real-world experience, an expansive portfolio and a head start into the job market, while providing T&DS with quality design documents, financial savings and a “snapshot of the future,” UCI says.
For more about the Innovative Sustainability Project winner, please go to http://weareparking.org/?page=Innovation_Winners.
Learn more about these innovative parking professionals and organizations online at the NPA website WeAreParking.org/Innovations.
Christina Garneski, CAE, is VP Marketing, Communications and Events for the National Parking Association. Contact her at christinagarneski@weareparking.org. 
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Christina Garneski
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