Parking in OZ

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Parking in OZ

Parking Australia, the professional organization for parking pros here in OZ, really has its act together. Beside picking me to speak before their “outlook” conference this week, they put on a hell of an event.  More than 160 people attended the two day affair, with networking, speakers, lunches, awards dinner, all done professionally and well. Kudos to CEO Lorraine Duffy, President Christina Lynn and their staff.

I was impressed by the quality of the speakers, with sometimes technical, sometimes self serving but always interesting talks about what is happening in parking in the land of Kangaroos and Koalas.

It appears that this is a go to place when you want to discuss technology. In the awards ceremony, there were one or two participants in the ‘new garage’ category or the ‘pr and media’ list, but seven in the technology category.

I guess it comes from being far, far away, but it seems to me that people here invent their own solutions, rather than buying one from someone else. Cities, Universities, Shopping centers, and operators all have designed tech solutions from scratch to solve unique problems. And the solutions seem to be well thought out and working.

It seems they identify a problem, put together a team to work out solutions, then hire the technology they need. The turn around time is light speed when considering what most public sponsored projects take. In a year or so a local university completely revamped its permit program and found many empty parking spaces and greatly improved their relationship with students and staff. A city worked out a program to combine a number of disparate programs under one overall service and maintenance program that saves time, money, and gets the job done quickly.

A local shopping center ‘reinvented’ parking and is building brand and loyalty with parking guidance and ticketless parking.  Most impressive was an operator that developed its own reservation system.  Its complex, its easy for the parker, and seemingly extremely successful — I’ll report separately about it.

For a small country, population wise, Australia seems to lead the pack in technology both in innovation and independence. Plus is a great place to visit.

Hat tip to old friends Glen Holdsworth, retired and now looking to get back into the game, Leyon Parker, Retired but still with a toe in the Parking Australia pond, consultant Christina Lynn, who tells me that parking business here is booming, and from Perth, Larry Schneider, recent President of Parking Australia and someone who is in the middle of most things parking down under. Great to see you all again.

Next year, the Parking Australia meeting will be in Perth, which for your geographically challenged readers is on the west coast. Australia is about the same size of the continental US with most of  its 23 million population living within 50 miles of the coast in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, and Perth.

Its a super place to visit, the folks are friendly, the weather temperate (but don’t forget that the seasons are opposite here, its cold and rainy now, winter) and covered with bold vistas and wonderful beaches.

Grueling plane ride but worth it.

JVH

Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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