International Conferences Fill the Fall in Manila, Abu Dhabi and Sao PauloPhilippine International Parking Expo
The first-ever parking conference in the Philippines took place in late October in Manila. More than 100 delegates signed up for the ground-breaking event. The Philippine International Parking Expo venue, part of the SM Mall of Asia, which claims to be the third-biggest shopping mall in the world, hosted both the conference and an associated exhibition.
The Filipinos certainly offered a novel approach to running a conference. The opening event had traditional dancers and the singing of the national anthem, a doxology (a hymn to you and me) calling down blessings on the assembled participants. On the second day, the delegates were treated to more traditional dance routines, and at one point the show did seem in danger of turning into a karaoke night. However, all in all, it was a good show.
The keynote presentation was given by Bayani Fernando, Chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and a candidate in the upcoming Presidential Election. He talked about the role of parking in the context of the development of Manila.
Although we provide the same basic service, the differences between working in the UK / U.S. and locally were highlighted by Eduardo Fulgencio, a speaker from the local security community. He noted one of the constraints his industry worked under is the police insistence on limiting the calibre and type of weapons that his people could carry.
For those of you who have not been to the Philippines, just about every store and door has an armed guard; indeed, even the local baker’s shop has a man behind the door with a shotgun. (The cakes were good, but not that good.) For a person from Britain, where no one has a gun, to see a gun at every turn is a bit of a culture shock.
There does seem to be a much less clear division between the private and public sectors in the Philippines than elsewhere in the world, and even the government role seems unusual. For example, city of Makati in metro Manila has its own traffic code that sets out rules of the road and so on. It must be very confusing for a driver if each time they cross a boundary the rules of the road change.
Erickberth Calupe from Ayala Land – the Ayala family is probably the biggest landowners in Manila – described how the company was at the stage of evaluating the pros and cons of in-house versus outsourced operations. After the conference, they looked at one of their own operations a bit more closely. U.S. Parking Consultant Dennis Cunning had given some pointers on how to spot where you may have a problem; using these, Ayala removed suspect staff from one of its facilities. The result was dramatic: Average daily income went from about $40 to about $450 overnight. Not big numbers day by day, but it looks as if the security staff were making more than $100,000 a year.
The two-day Philippine parking expo and conference closed with a sign of greater things to come, with key local people getting together to begin the process of establishing a Philippine National Parking Association.
Middle East Parking Symposium
he Middle East is rapidly growing its parking industry, and locating a symposium on parking in the capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, was most appropriate. The city is embroiled in the beginnings of a new program, bringing on-street parking under control.
More than 150 attendees and sponsors discussed all aspects of parking during the three-day Middle East Parking Symposium in November. It’s estimated that $2 billion will be spent on parking controls in the region in the next few years, and vendors lined up to show their wares to prospective clients at the symposium.
For the past four years, Abu Dhabi has been planning to institute the largest parking program on Earth, bringing order to its 60,000 parking spaces. The plan involves the installation of pay-and-display equipment and then policing the populace – who up until now had simply parked wherever there was room, whether it was in an intersection, in the middle of the street or blocking a driveway.
The symposium, opened by Abdullah Rashid Al Otaiba, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Transport, began with an international array of presenters from the U.S., Britain, South Africa and Australia. Led by moderator John Van Horn, Publisher of Parking Today and Parking World magazines, they spoke on parking planning and technology.
They included, from the U.S., Mary Smith of Walker Parking; Tim Haas of Tim Haas and Associates; Barbara Chance of Chance Management Advisors; parking consultant Peter Guest from the UK; Paul Vorster, CEO of ITS, South Africa; and Declan Ryan, CEO of Database Consultants Australia.
Technology was the focus of Guest and Ryan’s presentation, with a review of on- and off-street equipment that would be appropriate in the emerging parking marketplaces. Ryan also spoke on the importance of collecting data and using those data to better plan parking regulations in central cities.
Appropriate design was the highlight of Smith’s paper, which provided information on the evolution of parking structures worldwide and the necessity of taking local requirements into consideration when planning parking facilities. Chance focused on the planning necessary for citywide parking operations, citing work done in Beirut and the results of a five-year program to bring parking controls to the Lebanese capital.
Haas spoke of issues involving transforming parking into a holistic concept, using it to adjust the quantity and quality of life in the central city. And Vorster revealed the issues and problems with providing parking for the upcoming World Cup matches in South Africa.
The second day narrowed the focus of the symposium, with Najib al Zarooni, General Manager of Parking at Abu Dhabi’s Department of Transport, and Rasin Mufti, VP and Technical Director with the Parsons Corp., speaking on the capital’s citywide project. Husam Musharbash of Traffic Tech Group (Middle East / Gulf) brought the current parking situation in Qatar to the conference, and Kadir Gurbetci of ISPark Turkey spoke on sustainable transport in Istanbul.
Shirley Smith, Car Park Manager for Abu Dhabi airport, and Younts Ahmed, Duty Manager of Car Parks at Dubai airport, reported on their respective operations. Car park expansion plans for Sharjah, UAE, airport and the new car park project were reviewed by Ma’Ally Al Abd Esbaitah, architect for the project.
John Awad and Brett Mathews of Secure Parking presented case studies on the Mall of the Emirates and the Deira City Centre shopping mall projects in Dubai, while Omar Bin Omair Al Muhark, Director of Public Works in Ajman, UAE, reviewed the latest parking developments in that emirate.
Car park management was the focus of the symposium’s third day, with Marc Peters of Herrenknecht in Germany and Mehdi Taze of Skidata (Middle East / Northern Africa) speaking on centralized management of car parks. Service-level agreements and revenue control brought Parking Consultant Dennis Cunning from the U.S. and Nick Jolmers of Apcoa (MENA) to the podium.
The event finished with technology. Cristina Lynn from Parking Consultants International, Australia spoke on individual parking bay sensors and wayfinding technology, and Neil Walmsley of Arup (UAE) and Nigel Williams of Parking Matters (UK) brought 11 questions one needs to ask before buying an automated car park.
The next Middle East Parking Symposium will be in Abu Dhabi on Oct. 10-12, 2010. For more information, contact organizer Davyd Farrell at Davyd.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peter Guest, Andy Van Horn and John Van Horn contributed to these articles.