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Leading Research Provides Parking Industry Insights

By Christina Garneski

The parking industry is significant in the revenue, capital investment, cash flows and profits it generates in the private and public sectors. It is becoming more data-oriented at the highest levels of government and corporate America.

Everyone is asking, “What’s the potential return on this parking asset?”

From cities and counties looking to parking revenue to help meet budget shortfalls. To investors in parking assets looking to project parking revenue. The questions everyone is asking are what will the future bring, and how can I plan for reasonable growth and returns?

The National Parking Association (NPA) developed a research agenda three years ago that today brings five major studies that answer questions related to an economic forecast for parking, the market size, parking rates, technology trends and purchasing trends. These related studies help provide a more complete picture of the parking environment. Each study is longitudinal and tracks year-to-year changes in the industry.

This in-depth research provides industry intelligence, best practices and emerging trends to help parking professionals make the most profitable decisions for their organizations.

Projecting the Future of Parking Demand

The NPA’s “2013-2015 Parking Demand Research Report: Fundamental Economic & Market Indicators,” a Denison Parking and NPA Research Partnership project, provides an extensive analysis of the demand fundamentals affecting parking industry growth and forecasts demand in terms of parking revenue.

This groundbreaking research analyzes employment, population density, travel transportation usage, vehicles in service and parking construction to form patterns that signal parking demand in North America.

The report finds that the fundamental growth of U.S. population, ongoing urbanization, growth of vehicle ownership and steady multi-decade trend of a preference for driving and parking all signify strong parking demand for a generation.

The study identifies eight factors driving parking demand – population, employment, commuters, leisure travel, baby boomers, colleges/universities, municipalities and pricing. It also recognizes six risk factors: unemployment, GDP, consumer confidence, government regulation, taxes and fuel prices.

An Economic Forecast for

Revenue Growth

The NPA’s 2013–2015 parking market forecast is an economic prognosis for revenue growth in the parking industry. The first edition of the study, released in early 2013, found that the industry will grow from $18 billion in 2010 to more than $22 billion by 2015. (A second edition will be released in 2015.)

The study highlights the growth curve and factors influencing demand. Parking preferences, vehicles in use and population are all confirmed as fundamentals for parking growth. The study is the first of its kind to assemble substantive research data, analyze the data and draw correlations between market conditions and their relationship to the parking industry.

Buyers Focus on Revenue Control, Supplies and Hardware/Software

As outlined in the NPA’s “2012-2013 Parking Industry Purchasing Power Report,” the top three products and services on the minds of parking industry buyers were revenue control, facilities equipment and supplies, and computer hardware and software.

Survey findings represent a sample from five predominant parking industry sectors: commercial operators, hospital/medical, college/university, valet, and public/municipalities.

The study showed that the top three products and services purchased in 2012 across all segments were at the top of the list again in 2013. The biggest drop in parking purchasing from 2012 was seen by municipalities, with reductions in all categories, as they struggled with budget reductions and looked to hired managed parking services.

 Of all NPA members responding, the report showed that 85% are the purchasing decision-makers for their organizations, and 32% spend between $200,000 and $10 million per year.

Parking Rates on the Rise

The NPA’s “Parking in America: 2013 Annual Rate Survey” is its fifth annual review of parking rates in North America, examining parking industry data from 2012. The study provides an in-depth view of parking rates, industry trends and wages across a variety of parking segments.

This study provides the most comprehensive and detailed snapshots of current and future parking industry trends by examining hourly, daily and monthly rates within a wide range of parking segments. The report explores parking trends throughout Central Business Districts (CBDs) and specialty parking facilities – public and private – that operate both in cities and suburban areas throughout the US.

More than 40% of all survey respondents reported an increased demand for parking services. This level of increase, coupled with the 50% of respondents reporting an increase in the 2012 survey, shows an improving economy playing a compounding role annually in the strengthening parking industry.

Trending Technology

In 2013, the NPA conducted a North American study to analyze trends, purchasing and technology preferences among parking professionals.

The “Parking Industry Technology Trends Report” provides insights into preferences, priorities, responsibilities and trends surrounding parking technology. The report focuses on providing a comprehensive overview of technology adoption and specific information on relevant trends that vary among specific market segments within the industry.

The information in the technology trends report represents survey responses from commercial parking facility operators, municipal parking organizations, colleges and universities, hospitals and valet parking operations. Major technologies explored in the report include, but are not limited to solar, mobile apps, energy-efficient lighting, access control and automation.

Know So You Can Grow

Understanding the market – where it is today and where it’s likely to be tomorrow – is essential to not only maintaining your market share, but growing it.

The NPA believes in the importance of authoritative, statistically valid industry data and analyses that provide economic, industry and trending data. The NPA has developed the most robust research program in the parking industry to provide current, reliable and useful data on the industry, its future and its impact in the marketplace.



Christina Garneski, CAE, is Director of Marketing & Communications at the National Parking Association.

Contact her at ChristinaGarneski@npapark.org.

For more information and to purchase NPA research reports, visit www.npapark.org/research.com.

Article Abstract from January, 2014




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