Parking thy name is Mobility


Parking thy name is Mobility

I have been musing about name changes and when I did my daily review of I noted that a large number of the stories focus on “Mobility” in their headlines and leading paragraphs. In some cases parking isn’t mentioned until halfway through the story. Every one of the companies mentioned is in the parking business. What? Are they ashamed of it?

When asked what he did for a living, Lee Iacocca, the famed automobile guru, said “I’m in the car business.”  He didn’t mince words. He wasn’t in transportation, or manufacturing, or mobility. He was in the CAR business. And very successful he was, too.

Iacocca was clear about what he did. He built and sold cars. He understood his market, listened to his customers, and gave them what they wanted. He didn’t have a lot of time for fancy names. He talked straight.

I noted in an earlier blog that maybe the reason our industry’s name is seemingly being changed by our betters is that our industry is too busy doing what the name says, parking cars, than to worry about semantics. Parking millions and millions of cars each day. Providing a place for people to safely leave their cars while they work or play.

I understand that the term “Parking” isn’t sexy. When you tell someone at a party you are in parking they wonder when you are going to get a real job. But if you want to clearly, succinctly, describe what we do, “Mobility” doesn’t’ hack it. We park cars.

Remember, 85% of all commuters drive their own cars to work each day. Someone has to put them somewhere. That’s what we do. We Park Cars.


By the way – if you ever want to find out if someone is full of baloney, ask them to tell you what they do in one sentence, two at the most. Can you describe your organization, job, or product in one Sentence? Give it a try.

Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

3 Responses

  1. Well put John: We have become an industry full of Buzzwords and a certain segment of our industry may be happy that the Buzzwords came along to save them from the realization they are in the “Parking Business”. Blocking and tackling wins championships. In the parking business blocking and tackling is “getting the cars off the street, tickets on the cars, and the money in the bank”. We have always been a part of the Mobility infrastructure but not for long if we forget our real job and who we are.

  2. No offense John, but Lee Iacocca hasn’t been relevant in 30 years. Many professionals in our industry weren’t even born when he retired in 1992. While I agree that changing names on whims and trends isn’t always the smartest course of action, living in the past isn’t either.

    Iacocca also knew when trends were changing and adapted Chrysler to meet consumer demands. His introduction of the minivan saved Chrysler – he was an innovator. That same minivan concept was rejected by Henry Ford II because it wasn’t what was traditional – a move he regretted.

    So maybe instead of fighting to maintain the old… embrace the new and be an industry leader.

  3. How about “transient demobilitization”. It adds a bit of military flavor for those weary road warriors who have survived city gridlock long enough to find resting places for their vehicles. That allows them to say they’ve scored a ‘td’!

    No, – all the new, fancy labels and acronyms have done little to solve underlying challenges. ‘Parking’ should still cover it for the foreseeable…

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