We’re here at the International Parking Institute conference where we had the opportunity to attend two sessions discussing the topics of customer diversity and the intersection between parking and mobility, respectively. Here’s what we learned:
With every two out of three people expected to live in urban areas by 2040, it’s important that parking be prepared to assist a wider and more diverse group of customers—each with different concerns that will need to be weighed and accommodated.
And, as customers’ mobility preferences have changed—opting to choose ride-share over other modes of transportation—this affects how parking will manage the issue of congestion in our growing cities.
The sessions we attended not only tested our understanding of these topics but provided us with tips and examples on how to apply them in innovative ways.
VANESSA CUMMINGS, PROFESSIONAL TRAINING AND PARKING CONSULTANT, SPEAKER FOR PEOPLE AND VEHICLES AND PARKING, OH MY! AN INTERACTIVE DISCUSSION ABOUT DIVERSITY
Think outside of the box when designing your parking program. Keep in mind that there are many types of people with varying needs.
You also need to have the right individuals on your enforcement team to support accessibility initiatives; from different spoken language to language barriers (hearing assistance, sign language, wheelchair accessibility, etc.). All of them need to be considered and accommodated. Design thoughtfully and with empathy: consider taking a non-punitive empathetic approach to enforcement; provide payment plans for those lacking financial means. For example, indigent individuals may not be able to afford to pay for parking violation fees in lump sum.
Providing a payment plan option can make this more manageable. We come from all walks of life and it’s important to make sure that your enforcement fleet is equipped to handle all of these scenarios.
Vanessa Cummings was featured in our parking influencer series last year, sharing her thoughts on parking, mobility, and smart cities.
DIANA ALARCON, DIRECTOR OF TRANSPORTATION AND MOBILITY FOR THE CITY OF FORT LAUDERDALE, SPEAKER FOR SMART AND CONNECTED PARKING AND MOBILITY SYSTEMS: PLANNING AND DESIGNING FOR TOMORROW
Due to the problematic congestion in Fort Lauderdale and its main thoroughfares, we implemented the idea of a “complete street”. A complete street that would encourage the use of alternative transportation modes, better signage, street lights, and other initiatives to attract business. To alleviate congestion, the city struck a deal with UPS to create a bicycle-based delivery service with pods attached to them. When this occurred, it helped to lower the number of trucks in the right of ways that were often stalling traffic.
Fort Lauderdale also established a connection with Transportation Network companies (Uber and Lyft, ride-share), leading to the creation of six parking spaces strategically placed in various high traffic locations. They served as a pick-up and drop-off lane.
In the end, the project was a success and traffic was immediately reduced.
Parking and mobility are rapidly intersecting. This relationship, if explored by professionals, can help parking services not only connect with their customers’ diverse needs, but provide immense benefits for them, too, such as effectively resolving issues of congestion.