Welcome Back to the PIE Parking Resource Forum (IN PERSON)


Welcome Back to the PIE Parking Resource Forum (IN PERSON)

The Impact of COVID-19 on Consumer Behavior
and the Future of the Parking Industry 

As parking transaction volume begins to return to pre-COVID levels, the key questions remain:

• How will COVID change long-term consumer behavior? 

• What does the future of parking look like?

Join us as ParkMobile’s Jeff Perkins, Chief Marketing and Product Officer; and Brad Goldman, VP Marketing Insights & Analytics, discuss the data trends that the company has observed over the past year. We’ll also share the results from a recent consumer research study about expected changes to consumer mobility habits in the future.

COVID-19 has had a major impact on the parking industry. In March 2020, as the pandemic came to America, the nation shut down and parking volumes declined by 80 percent in only a few weeks. In April, transactions began to gradually increase as the recovery began. For several months in the middle of 2020, it appeared that parking transactions were trending back to pre-COVID levels. In the late fall, COVID-19 cases started to spike and continued rising through the end of 2020 and into 2021. Data shows that as COVID-19 cases grew, people were going out less often, and parking transactions started to trend back down. As we enter 2021, volumes have yet to reach their pre-COVID levels.

However, as the number of fully vaccinated people in the U.S. increases, according to the experts, we expect to be on the other side of the virus by fall 2021. As the COVID-19 vaccine gets distributed, we will see a return to normalcy. We will have to wait and see when parking volumes return to pre-COVID levels. But after almost a year in the darkness, we are now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Offices will re-open. Commuters will return to cities. The parking industry will be back.

And there’s good reason to believe it will be bigger and better than ever before. In a 2020 research study, we asked consumers how they believe COVID will change their future behavior. The respondents said they expect to use public transportation much less often and use their personal vehicle more often. That means more cars on the road and more demand for parking.

To prepare for this upcoming influx of cars hitting urban areas, our team has been busy creating innovative new solutions, making it easier to find and pay for parking than ever before.

Learning Objectives: 

1- RECENT COVID-19 PARKING TRENDS: What ParkMobile has observed regarding parking transaction volume, including what areas have seen an uptick in light of states reopening.

2- COVID-19 CONSUMER SURVEY RESULTS: How consumers are thinking about mobility and parking now, and how they expect their behavior and mobility use to change.

3- FUTURE PREDICTIONS: Based on research and data, we will provide parking predictions for the next few years.

Marketing in the 21st Century

No doubt, marketing is one of your organization’s most important priorities. Are you a public agency trying to keep the public informed about services, policies, or procedures? Are you an equipment provider looking to reach new customers? Are you a consultant hoping to find new clients and strategic partners? It doesn’t matter what type of organization you are, every agency, company, and consultancy needs to constantly be communicating with key constituencies to let them know what they do, how they do it, and why it’s important. 

There are numerous elements to any marketing program, and two of the most effective are public relations and digital marketing. PR has always been the most effective way to reach large numbers of people. An article in an industry publication can reach tens of thousands of people with an interest in your project or expertise; a story in a local media outlet can reach hundreds of thousands; and a national placement can reach millions. When you want to demonstrate the superiority of your products, your people, or your services, PR has always been the effective and cost-effective strategy.

Now, technology is raising the bar when it comes to business development and marketing, as digital marketing has become ubiquitous. The advent of social media and emailings and other digital tactics, allow parking organizations to reach stakeholders directly and can dramatically increase the effectiveness of their public relations and marketing programs. By posting coverage on LinkedIn, Facebook, twitter, and other social media platforms, you can reach people in numbers that were unimaginable just a few short years ago. And by using emailings, you can send strategically crafted messages to your most important audiences. 

PR guru Bill Smith, and digital marketing practitioner Craig Wilson, both from Smith Phillips Strategic Communications, will offer a presentation titled Getting the Word Out: Leveraging PR and Digital Marketing to Promote Your Organization. In their presentation, Bill and Craig will discuss how public relations and digital marketing can combine to maximize the impact of any parking organization’s marketing effort. They will offer best practice advice on how to create an effective public relations campaign, how to build a robust digital marketing strategy, and how to combine the two to increase the effectiveness of both. 

Parking Structure Maintenance – Tips for Reducing Repair Costs

Scott L Weiland PE, SE, PCC, shares professional insight into why the owners of some of the largest real estate portfolios in the country are proactively inspecting their parking garage structures, and how routine maintenance keeps maintenance costs low and protects the market value of these facilities. Most people see the rugged look of a parking structure and assume they don’t require much maintenance; unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. Review the advantages and disadvantages of commonly encountered parking structural systems, including lifecycle and maintenance costs, common deficiencies and repairs, and the importance and elements of a good maintenance program. 

Structural problems of each type will be shown and explained, including how to correct the problems, the latest in innovative repair technology, and a case study and video of a parking structure collapse, will be presented and discussed. Given the harsh environment in which parking structures exist, and the accelerated rate of deterioration compared to other buildings, maintenance and repairs done early are ultimately less expensive. Deferred maintenance in parking structures can lead to serious and expensive structural deficiencies. Therefore, the session will provide reference to a maintenance program for facility managers and owners to implement once back in the office to protect their Return on Investment (ROI), as well as what you need to know about how to hire a qualified consultant and contractor. 

What  Should Normal Look Like?

The current, nearly unprecedented, but certainly self-inflicted, disruption of the U.S. economy will, in fact, come to an end starting this year, and the parking market will also return. An obvious question is how will that happen or how do we know it is happening?

This is not a forecast about ‘when do we get back to the 2019 economy,’ even though there are relevant parts of that picture to know. More fundamentally, much longer-term factors are in play which emerge in the form of indicators showing that parking demand is alive and well. Important questions include:

What are the essential benchmarks signaling a normalized market and growth in the parking industry?

What do the Demographics of Population Growth really tell us?

How important is the growth of Multiple Vehicle Households, and what will the new car population numbers be?

What does expansion of Parking Inventory (parking garage construction) tell us?

And what about bad news? (Are we even at a point to know if there is bad news?)

But the issue is how these factors will play out in the short-term – what will conditions at the street level look like and will a normalized market be recognizable?

Looking through the lens of parking garage construction for answers, we pick up seven scenarios across the country where parking fits in, or should fit in, and where sometimes there’s pushback. 

There’s a notion that parking industry can be channeled, curtailed, or daily car-use can otherwise be separated from the household or business establishment. The findings don’t support that perspective, if for no other reason than it’s clear that no alternative modes of transportation, at scale, are even being seriously discussed by those who would move away from a private car-based economy.

Dale Denda, Research Director, Parking Market Research Co./PMRC


Everywhere & Nowhere –
Customer Experience Delivered in the Real World

Technology and the digital transformation of parking is transforming the customer experience, and at the same time, leaving parking operators with difficult decisions. With the ever-increasing preference for mobile functionality and a “touchless” journey, it is important to consider which tech will work best for your customers, and choose a system that is designed with them in mind. The idea is for your full parking tech stack to work together to satisfy the greatest number of people.

However, with the rise of technological advancement, the gap between humans’ ability to adapt to new and changing technologies is ever increasing. When the technology works well, many people would prefer this to be an entirely automated process. However, when someone encounters an issue while using technology, they expect help instantly. This is why operators are challenged to deliver customer service that is “everywhere and nowhere” all at once, and why building in human “safety nets” is so crucial.

The Customer Experience is an essential component to any parking organization’s success. As parking creates the first and last experience for most everyone in a city, on a campus, at an airport or in a hospital, the parking professional is relied upon to provide a level of service, under a withering spotlight of social media, on a daily basis.

In this session, Brandy Stanley, Parking Services Manager for City of Las Vegas, and Brian Wolff, President & CEO of Parker Technology, will team up to provide the big picture implications of why attaining this CX balance is so important, while weaving in real-life parking examples and best practices for applying this to your parking organization.

Welcome Back to the PIE Parking Resource Forum

Hosted by Julie Dixon, Dixon Resources Unlimited

The Parking Resource Forum has consistently met throughout California for the last 8 years. We expanded our interactive conversation to include PIE several years ago and we were on track to incorporate several more regions, and then COVID happened! The success of this event has always relied upon the interaction of the participants and attendees. We tried to have an online event in California, and while it was considered successful and well attended, it just was not same. 

Now we come to Texas.

The Parking Resource Forum is a trusted safe environment for you to ask questions and share your parking experiences and challenges. We are so excited to reignite the conversation in Dallas and cannot wait to hear from each of you who attend. One thing that proved effective throughout the pandemic was the reliable peer network that has developed directly from the Parking Resource Forum. In California, our industry colleagues who met at the west coast events called upon each other for information about changing policies and reached out to compare decisions for when a city was turning back on or staying turned off. It was these connections and a dynamic support group that provide a tremendous resource in a time of crisis. While we were all struggling, the network that has been formed as a result of the Parking Resource Forum is a group that myself and others have come to rely upon.

If you have attended a Parking Resource Forum in the past, PIE is your chance to get engaged. There is no fixed agenda, in fact, you bring the topics. We will chat as a group and share experiences and lessons learned (and there is certainly a lot to talk about this year as we catch up with each other). One of the aspects that I think will prove most beneficial is the opportunity to hear how other agencies are managing policies relating to enforcement restrictions, on street dining, vehicle habitation impacts, and so much more. Do not expect to be a wallflower, everyone participates because we each have something to share that will likely benefit another. This is a chance to discuss the need for consistency among our programs and operational policies, since we can all appreciate the challenges with messaging, education and outreach.  

We are the first session on Wednesday, so get a coffee and grab a seat. You won’t be disappointed because the agenda and discussion will be driven by you. Bring your questions and share your stories, this is how we will move forward together as an industry by learning from each other.

Looking forward to seeing everyone at PIE 2021!

Innovative Solutions to Merge On-street and Off-street Parking Technologies

According to Forrester Research, 77 percent of people say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service. Consumers are no longer willing to tolerate poor experiences.  

Join Peter Elliott from City of Fort Worth and Connor Owen from ParkMobile as they discuss how smart cities can best align their parking technology with customer needs. We’ll take a look at the city’s journey to modernize its parking program by successfully integrating on-street and off-street technology parking strategies with the right user-friendly technology. Their operation bridges on and off-street business and municipality parking, aiming to create a better place to visit by reducing traveler frustration, congestion, and automotive exhaust emissions. We’ll cover their experience delivering an innovative, branded solution that drives city revenue and creates a happier parking customer, from the decision-making process through implementation.

As a parking and mobility solutions provider to 23+ million users in over 450 cities across the country, ParkMobile cares about providing its customers with an easy, convenient experience. As more cities across the country become “smart cities,” smart mobility solutions are needed to make this vision a reality for both customers and clients who operate parking. When implementing a parking program, providers need to focus on not only selling parking spots, but also providing an engaging experience to their customers so that they keep coming back. We’ll discuss how the City of Forth Worth is achieving just that, through expanding the contactless options available to its consumers: 

• Pay by App: The full-featured app provides the most complete parking experience for users. 

• Pay with Google Pay: Users can start and pay for parking sessions directly from the Google Pay app.  

• Pay by Web: New lightweight mobile web experience lets a user quickly pay for parking without downloading the full app. 

• Pay by Text: A user can text the number posted on the signs to quickly start a parking session without downloading the full app. 

• Pay by Guest Checkout: Users can purchase parking without starting a user account, removing friction from the user flow. 

Three learning objectives for this session: 

1- Explain how the partnership between City of Fort Worth and ParkMobile bridges the gap between on-street and off-street parking.

2- Provide insights into how the Fort Worth parking operation is designed to enhance the user experience and provide choices to users when parking. 

3- How the City of Fort Worth, Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum, Fort Worth Convention Center, and ParkMobile partnership will allow parkers to view and reserve parking for events and therefore reduce congestion in downtown areas.  

I have PARCS; Do I Need to Audit?

Who knew Internal and External Audits were simply not enough? Just because operators utilize PARCS equipment, or employ some form of automation, or offer contactless platforms, does not mean auditing is unnecessary. With these systems in place, there is a tendency to believe all is well, as theoretically nobody can steal from you anymore. 

While automation can greatly reduce the risk of fraud, no system is 100 percent foolproof. Every system has vulnerabilities that can be exploited. Never forget that humans can be quite ingenious, and there are multiple hours in a day to apply their ingenuity for good or bad purposes. It is simply not possible to account for all types of this “ingenious” fraud via automated systems, unfortunately, as evidenced disproportionately in our industry. 

The significance of understanding the operational process in combating fraud is paramount. Historically, many work streams were manual and decentralized, which limited the ability of fraudsters to scale up fraudulent activity. However, as many business processes have become centralized, with more and more powerful technology, the ability to scale up fraudulent activity has become a more compelling prize.  

Typically, operators consider internal and external auditors pivotal tools for uncovering fraud and taking preventive measures to minimize the risk of loss incurred due to fraud. This implies that those auditors are often identifying fraud, when in fact, the opposite is true in many cases. Case and point, the 2019 Association of Certified Fraud Examiner’s (ACFE’s) Report to the Nations stated that auditors rarely find fraud, with internal audits detecting fraud 15 percent of the time, while external audits merely 4 percent. With internal and external audits only making up 19 percent of how fraud is identified within an organization, what makes up the other 81 percent?

In this presentation, you will learn:

• How frauds are detected

• Who is reporting fraud?

• Does the size of an organization matter?

• Who is committing fraud?

• How much is fraud costing your organization

• How long the average fraud goes on unnoticed

• What to look for

• Where is the greatest risk?

What you should take away from this discussion goes well beyond internal and external audits. It is what can be done to mitigate your exposure to fraud, and when (how to expose fraud as soon as possible). It is important to remember that while automation provides many advantages to a given operation, that automation should not be working autonomously. And, as fraud techniques evolve and escalate, we still need real-life experts. We need a trained human-eye, and sometimes multiple pairs of eyes, seeing and analyzing the same data, to assist in the perpetual fight against fraud.

The Municipal Parking Tutorial: A How-to Guide
& Things You Should Consider

This session is a comprehensive review of the experiences of several municipal agencies. Hear from the experts themselves as they share their path to progressive parking management, as well as the challenges they have overcome throughout the pandemic. 

We will begin our interactive discussion with the City of Paso Robles (CA) as they share how the Police Department managed parking through 2020 into 2021. Paso Robles is a popular California Wine Country tourist destination with a vibrant downtown. With a parking program managed by the Police Department, 2020 was the ultimate lesson in managing priorities from public safety, political unrest, and, of course, ensuring a successful parking program. Learn how the City adjusted its parking program due to COVID-19, recent expansions to the program based upon data-driven decision, and the hands-on approach to education, outreach, and customer service that made the program updates possible. 

The discussion will transition to the City of McKinney (TX) and we will hear firsthand from the frontline parking enforcement officer and a City Planner who have incorporated the City’s motto, “Unique by Nature,” as they implement mobility solutions that were customized for their community while focused on not detracting from the City’s historic charm. McKinney is one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation, and the community’s willingness to work collaboratively has allowed the City to customize solutions that will support a vibrant and ever-changing downtown environment. Parking expert Brett Wood will join the conversation and discuss the significance of community engagement and will identify that there might be cookie cutter problems and trends that exist in most communities, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. We will explore the importance of adaptability and incremental change and how the City will measure and monitor the ongoing impacts as the transformation is under way.

From there, the discussion will accelerate to the City of Beverly Hills and discuss the transition to virtual parking permits. The overview will include not only the significance of automation and efficiencies within the program, but also the transformation of parking management within the City as a result of department shifts that began well before COVID. We will discuss the importance of LPR throughout this change and provide insights into data security and storage. The Police Department will be on hand to provide a summary of the challenges and successes associated with their recent procurements that included updating and deploying new integrated parking technology and how to communicate those updates within such a high-profile community. 

 You will not want this engaging conversation to end, therefore, if you are drowning in data, we will end the conversation by throwing you a lifesaver! We will highlight how the programs that were shared leveraged data to influence real change within their operations. From traditional parking studies to meter and permit management systems, to license plate recognition cameras, the panelists will share examples of operational adjustments, policy changes, and stakeholder outreach that benefited directly from data-driven decisions, and their creative strategies to work with existing or limited resources.

We have stacked this session with the municipal personnel who are making the changes happen. This will be a candid conversation and the panelists may not have all the answers, but they can certainly explain their experiences and we can learn from each other. Bring your questions and be prepared to share your challenges. You will not want this session to end because we will cover a spectrum of topics including some things that you might not have considered. 

Tutorial Panelists:

Julie Dixon, Dixon Resources Unlimited

Brett Wood, Wood Solutions Group

Commander Caleb Davis, City of Paso Robles Police Department

Parking Manager Donna King, City of Paso Robles Police Department

Sgt Dave Tomlin, City of Beverly Hills Police Department

Alek Miller, Planner, City of McKinney

Eric Davis, Marshall’s Office, City of McKinney

Michael Tinglof, Data Analyst, Dixon Resources Unlimited

Article contributed by the Parking PT team.
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