Should You Hire a Parking Consultant?
For over 30 years, I have been involved in the parking industry on both the consulting and the operations side, respectively. As a parking consultant, my role is to help clients understand how to make their new or existing parking facilities a better place to park.
Cost and efficiency are major factors that all clients expect from their parking consultant when designing a parking facility
Oftentimes, the keys to an efficient and profitable parking facility are factors that can be overlooked during the planning and design phases. To identify workable solutions that lead to a successful design, an owner may ask, “Should I hire a parking consultant?”
The simple answer is “yes.” A parking consultant provides an owner with cost-effective, functionally efficient, creative, and durable parking designs and/or solutions. Furthermore, a parking consultant strives to provide the end user an extraordinary customer experience and a high level of service. As an industry veteran, I understand the specific needs and unique characteristics that most parking projects offer. I also strive to consistently deliver parking designs and facilities that cost less to build, operate, and maintain by leveraging our parking expertise and experiences throughout the lifecycle of a project.
This approach can result in cost savings that are realized through the entire life of the parking facility.
Role of the Consultant
Parking consultants provide owners and design teams extensive knowledge of parking industry standards as well as federal, state, and local codes and regulations. Additionally, a parking consultant can offer creative parking designs and solutions, as well as recommending functional and operationally efficient parking facilities for end users. A parking consultant’s goal is to create synergy between the design team and the owner to deliver a parking facility that is user-friendly, easy to operate and manage, and maximizes the return on investment.
Consultants think outside the proverbial design box and are committed to developing a parking design that provides a high level of service. Of course, getting to a position where a parking design can provide quality service can be the source of lessons on what to and what not to do when consulting for a parking project.
Parking consultants understand what it takes for a facility and operation to be successful and provide a customer-friendly experience for end users. In my opinion, the key to success is to “begin with the end in mind.” This planning approach aligns the design and/or parking study with the owner’s operational goals and expectations for the desired parking facility. I believe that a good functional design is where access,
parking equipment, parking guidance, ramping systems, and wayfinding all interact effectively.
Advances in Technology
With the ongoing advancements in parking technology and the multitude of hardware and software products available on the market today, I believe parking technology plays a significant role in parking planning, studies, and design-related projects.
A parking consultant’s diverse experience with parking facility design and operations provides the knowledge and tools to analyze each project differently and provide owners with the parking technology (e.g. Parking Access and Revenue Control System) most appropriate for the facility and desired operation.
In my experience, the use of appropriate parking technology can increase the efficiency of operations and maximize the revenue collection potential of a parking facility.
Due to the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic, I believe that the role of a parking consultant role may change in the future when we have a better understanding of what the “new normal” will be regarding our work and daily lives.
Prior to reaching a level of normalcy that makes society comfortable, both parking consultants and owners should ask themselves:
• Will businesses become more of a remote workforce thereby reducing parking demand in cities and communities?
• Will an individual’s driving and parking habits change?
• How might parking facility designs and functionalities need to evolve?
• How might parking operations policies and procedures change?
• What parking technology will be required in the future?
• What other parking-related factors could result from a “new normal?”
As parking consultants, we need to be ready and prepared to embrace any changes and provide owners the service and guidance they deserve.
In closing, I believe the role of a parking consultant has changed significantly over the years. Currently, the role requires consultants to be “well rounded” with their overall parking knowledge and experience they provide to clients.
Cost and efficiency are still major factors that all clients expect from their parking consultant when designing a parking facility. However, the best practices for operational procedures, as well as selecting the most appropriate parking technologies for access control, revenue collection, and parking guidance have become even more important for most parking projects. Hiring a parking consultant can help achieve all the above, and more.
David Moore is a senior parking consultant at Walter P Moore. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.