The Gift of Mobility


The Gift of Mobility

October, 2023

Jeff Pinyot


I appreciate the determination of our industry to recognize mobility beyond just parking. Our parking issues so often distract us from the basic mobility issues developing nations struggle with daily. 


Globally, various cultures have embraced alternative methods of transportation with great success. Case in point: Bicycles. Bicycles are a part of life and a part of the culture in the Netherlands and many European and Asian nations. In those nations, bicycles outnumber cars. Massive bicycle parking areas showcase traditional peddle power bicycles all the way to fully powered electric bikes. It also seems that every major U.S. city has repurposed unused railroads into paved recreational highways. 


Years ago, I wrote about FK Day, the CEO of SRAM in Chicago. If you are a biking enthusiast, you know who SRAM is. While FK and his company are recognized masters of two-wheeled engineering, it’s his vision for the least that impressed me. FK also developed a rugged bike that could be used in the forgotten places like small villages throughout the continent of Africa. 


One of my friends is involved with a ministry called Walk for Water. Every year, they host an event in downtown Indianapolis where individuals raise support for a walk that they take while carrying a 5-gallon bucket of water. This walk simulates the plight of many women and children in African villages who daily walk miles upon miles to collect filthy water to take back to their village. Many of us complain that it takes too long for our shower water to heat up. 


Some years ago, I made a commitment to fund a mission trip to Costa Rica for our family of 6. We weren’t there for ziplines or monkeys in the rain forest, we were there to build a new home for a desperate family in one of the most dangerous drug-infested cities in the world, Alajuelita, Costa Rica. I had two goals in mind for the trip. The first was to help a needy family to improve their life, and second, to improve our lives by showing my family how the rest of the world lives and to use that experience to ground our lives. 


One of the highlights of our mission trip was getting an opportunity to use a specially made vehicle called the BUV (Basic Utility Vehicle). The BUV is a rugged three wheeled powered vehicle specifically designed for use in Third World nations where roads are horrible or non-existent, and where having access to a vehicle like this could improve the quality of life for the community. It did in this case, for sure. We used the BUV to transport material, garbage, people, and supplies as we built a very modest, but clean and dry, “home” for a multigenerational family literally moving them from dirt floors with open running sewage to concrete floors, windows, electricity, and a roof that wasn’t draped with torn plastic. 


Ironically, I had no idea ahead of time that we would have access to this BUV and was pleasantly surprised to see it. See, I served on the Advisory Board of the Institute for Affordable Transportation in Indianapolis and the mission of the organization is to build and deliver these exact vehicles into villages and communities that could benefit from having them. 


The vehicle was made by our organization in a little rented Storage Facility in Indianapolis before it was sponsored and shipped to Costa Rica. Will Austin is the visionary who chose to use his brilliant engineering mind to serve others rather than himself. Will could make stupid money using his skills and talents elsewhere, but instead, he chose Mobility that has a life changing impact. 


ECO Parking Technologies has been serving the Mobility Community since 2007. Our friends have graciously accepted us and the technologies that we have created, like Will creating a three-wheeled vehicle while living in a four-wheeled world by ignoring conventional wisdom. So, too, has ECO chosen that path by leading the parking world with the only true Center Run parking lighting fixture that replaces two fixtures with one. ECO also leads the technology battle with the world’s only integrated camera-based parking guidance system within a light fixture, Falcon Vision. 


As a way to thank our Mobility Community for supporting us, we have chosen, on behalf of the Parking Industry family to “Pay it Forward” and fully fund the manufacturing and shipping of a new BUV to ship into the village of Sawagongo, Kenya so that the community can use it to improve the quality of their lives. Today in parts of Sawagongo, water is collected in the nearest river or stream by women and children and carried to their dwellings. Also, ECO is providing 50 Filters of Hope, one for each family in the village, so that once the water is delivered in the BUV to the collection point, it can be filtered without the need to boil the water first before consuming it. This will dramatically improve the quality of the lives of the beautiful people of Sawagongo.


ECO, along with John Van Horn and the visionaries of PIE, have invited Will Austin to be a part of the PIE show in the spring of 2024 to be part of a special session called, “Parking Gives Back.” You won’t want to miss this panel discussion that showcases a few of our parking partners and their efforts to give back to their communities and the communities and villages of the world. There will also be a BUV showcased at the PIE show for attendees to experience. 


Sometimes it’s beneficial for all of us to be reminded of how really good we have it. ECO has made a commitment to send a second vehicle into Kenya in 2024 to help a second village with their needs, as well. At the PIE show, no financial ask will be made regarding this expression of outreach, but anyone may contribute to sending a third BUV into Africa as we endeavor to continue to address the mobility issues of these wonderful citizens of the world. 


It is truly an honor to be a part of such a kind, giving, and sincere community like the Mobility Community. Most of us never in a million years dreamed of being in an industry like this and now, not in a million years, would we ever leave it, or leave our lifelong friends. 


We look forward to celebrating with you the far reaches of what Mobility truly is to the ends of the earth and for the least of these. 


With humility and sincerity, all of us at ECO Parking Technologies thank you for your partnership in parking mobility.


Jeff Pinyot is President of ECO Parking Technologies. He can be reached at

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