Rumors Run Wild at PIE and Intertraffic

I spent the last two weeks attending two major trade events, and I’ll tell you, If you want to hear rumors about the Parking Business PIE and Intertraffic were the places to be.  I’ll give you a short summary.

Clyde Wilson and his “Flow” product is receiving $25 million in venture capital from three VC firms, all headquartered in silicon valley. Clyde was reticent to name names as the check hadn’t quite cleared the bank yet, but the influx of cash will mean that his “ticketless” product will hit the streets big time at the IPI next month.

Christine Banning hotly denied that the NPA was in final discussions with the IPI and that they would be taking over the larger organization effective with the close of the IPI’s 2014 annual conference. Board members from both organizations were mum, but off the record conversations gave some credence to the rumors. I had dinner in Amsterdam with NPA Prez Jeff Wolfe and he flatly refused to confirm or deny the rumors. Shawn Conrad was apparently out of the office.  The Leaders of Women in Parking tell me that the response to their first annual convention has been so great that they will be working closely with the distaff leadership of both organizations and changes at every level may be in the offing.

Hub Parking continues its purchasing juggernaut having rolled up DataPark, Zeag, Magnetic Automation, and FAAC. Expect an announcement at the IPI with further purchases on the way.  I noticed folks from Amano, and 3M were in evidence at the Hub Booth at Intertraffic.

Consolidation will continue in the Parking Operator business as Republic and Vinci, both of which are known to be on the block, are in heavy discussions with a medium size parking operator in California. It is unclear whether or not purchasing Vinci will bring along Laz, but if so, the resulting organization will become the largest parking entity on the planet.

There are also unconfirmed rumblings that a certain ticket manufacturer located in the deep south will be expanding its operations internationally, with factories in Latin America, Europe, and India.

Parking Apps are trending and both Google and Amazon are opening their checkbooks to the young software entrepreneurs who are developing the parking location and parking reservation apps, as well as pay by cell phone programs. Expect to see a consolidation in this area in the next few months.

I hear that Don Shoup is leaving UCLA and will take a position as permanent adviser to SF Park. It seems he is keeping the change quiet until the end of the School Year.  You read it first here.

Yes its going to be a fun year in Parking with business activity booming.  Of course if you believe one word of what I wrote above, you are an April Fool




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Big cities, little parking

The folks at have conducted a research project to  identify the worst cities for parking. The results, starting with the worst of them all: Chicago, Oakland, San Francisco, New York, Boston, Honolulu, Washington D.C., Seattle, Philadelphia, and Sacramento.

The analysis was based on daily and monthly parking charges and rates of vehicle theft. Chicago came in first, while Honolulu is a stand out in the most expensive category and Oakland took first for the highest numbers of stolen cars. According to Nerdwallet:

1. Parking garage pricing data was sourced from Collier International’s 2012 Parking Study.  All prices cited are the median unreserved rates.

2. Theft rates are from the FBI’s 2010 data on motor vehicle thefts in each city. We used these to calculate car thefts per capita for each city and an average national rate of car thefts per capita.

Nerdwallet readers had a lot to say about the study, some 1. good, some 2. bad, and some, just 3. trolling for a fight.

1. “Good list. Shows very clearly that difficulty parking and awesomeness of cities are perfectly correlated. Parking in most American burbs is free and abundant. Because most of American suburbia royally sucks.”

2. “I’m surprised that “stolen vehicles” and “off-street rates” were the only considerations here, as they have very little to do with my daily parking experiences on the street.”

3. “Blah, blah blah! Get out of your car and bike, walk or take transit. You’ll save a lot of money and probably lose weight and get healthier, too.”

The best places to park, according to the study, are cities including Boise, ID, Greenville, SC, and Jacksonville, FL.

If only it was all a big April Fools Day joke and parking could be free and plentiful everywhere without destroying the economy or the environment. For myself, I’m just glad I live somewhere that’s not on either list.

Read the article here.

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Women in Parking

Ruth Beaman and Colleen Niese shepherded their Women in Parking group to its first convention following the PIE show in Chicago last week. More than 140 attended their opening dinner and reception, with over 100 staying on the next day for seminar s and networking. It was a super event and I was honored to be given an award, as a person who has given some minor support to the group. I was told that if I wanted to start such a group, all that needed be done was to get a room, invite a bunch of women, and then shut up.  I’m happy to say the plan worked extremely well.

They are, after only a couple of years, reaching fame internationally with a chapter in Australia, and a meeting here this week at Intertraffic.

Way to go women in parking.






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PIE and Intertraffic

Don’t pay the ransom, I have escaped – Its been a fast couple of weeks. Last week we were in Chicago with the Parking Industry Exhibition, and this week its Amsterdam and Intertraffic.

PIE was, by all accounts, extremely successful if you rate it by attendee comments.  Exhibitors felt that it was one of the best ever, taking into consideration leads generated, customers met, and connections made. They seemed to be particularly taken with the “speed networking” event. One told me he got 10 leads in that 60 minutes.  Wow!

The speakers were hot hot hot.  The theme was technology and attendees lined up to get a seat. A number of the sessions were standing room only. Even on Wednesday, traditionally a slow time at these events, rooms were full, and attendees engaged.  It goes to show that good presentations can draw attendance.

We do it differently than many events who do “call for papers.” We ask people what they want to hear, and then find speakers who fill the bill. Attendees this year told us we hit a home run.  Thanks to all, particularly Carol, who gave her ability to walk to the cause. What appeared to be a sprain turned out to be a broken leg.

I got home Thursday, took my clothes to the cleaners and repacked for a flight Saturday night. Many of the folks at PIE who were also attending Intertraffic flew directly from Chicago.

The biggest collection of parking technology on the planet opened on Tuesday.  Over 800 exhibits and 20,000 people flocked to the RA         I convention center on the outskirts of Amsterdam.  The event covers Smart Mobility, Infrastructure, Traffic Management, and Safety, as well as parking. But even so, if you take the parking component separately, there is more square footage here covering parking than anywhere else on earth.

Companies from China, Europe, the UK, as well as the US put just about every kind of parking technology on display.

In the past America has been underrepresented both with exhibit booths and attendees. This year is different.  A large delegation from the US is walking the aisles.  So far I have seen Jeff Wolfe, President of the NPA, Tom Carter from Toledo Ticket, Julie Dixon, Mark Curtis, Paul Ahern, Bob Caplin, and that’s in the first few hours. People with manufacturers include Larry Feuer and Joe Survance (Amano), Mike Bigbee (TIBA), Bob Kane (Designa), Jeff Sparrow (Scheidt and Bachmann), Karen Prudhan (Skidata), Lisa Bahr (IPS), Gorm Tuxen (Nedap). There are more and I will report them after I make my next “walk around.”

More Later







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People Parking Badly

We’ve all seen people who can’t fit their cars into painted parking stalls, and those who can’t take the corners of a parking garage without leaving a trail of paint on the rails, but this parking job is the worst I’ve ever seen.

It’s hard to imagine how the driver got his/her Range Rover into this spot, but it’s a tight fit and had to have taken some manuevering.

As reported by Metro:

The circumstances of the accident, which took place on Saturday, are unclear, but the scenario was made even worse by the fact the car was brand new and only had 500 miles on the clock.

As for the car, it’s totaled; and the driver, uninjured, but hopefully headed to rehab.

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Watch Out for the Man with Jingling Pockets

The criminal mind is a creative place. In Ridgewood, New Jersey, a city employee has admitted to stealing $460,000 in quarters. He has been punished with five years of probation and must pay back $200,000 of the money he stole. According to the Daily News:

Authorities said the thefts occurred over the course of 25 months. They say Rica was not authorized to be in the room but would enter it and fill his pockets with money. They say he deposited the money — more than 1.8 million quarters — in his bank account.

So for two years nobody noticed that Thomas Rica was visiting the city’s parking meter collection room and stuffing his pockets with quarters. Nobody saw him and nobody heard the man jingling. Even his bank did not wonder why Mr. Rica was depositing stacks and piles and bags of quarters into his accounts. Imagine the wear and tear on this guy’s trouser pockets.

Rica was caught in the act last January and is just now receiving his sentencing. His is a precautionary tale for cities everywhere: people often succumb to temptation and take things that are not theirs, so be a little more careful where you store your quarters.

To read the article, click here.

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PIE Breaks All Attendance Records

<![endif]–>Over 1150 people attended the Parking Industry Exhibition held last month in Chicago. This breaks all attendance records for the event.

               “We are extremely pleased with the turnout,” said exhibition director Eric Abel. “It’s gratifying that so many from the parking industry came together to network, learn, share and see the exhibits.”

               More than 110 companies from across the parking spectrum placed their wares on the exhibit hall floor, located this year in the Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency O’Hare.  “PIE hit a home run,” said one exhibitor, “the hall was mobbed. It was difficult to keep up with the traffic.”

               “One of the main reasons for the attendance,” said Abel, “was the quality of the seminars held during PIE. There was standing room only in most of the seminars, and nothing but positive comments.”

               The marketing manager for one exhibiting company, who was looking for a time to hold a private event for his customers said “we had to hold it Sunday. We couldn’t find a time during the conference when there wasn’t an excellent presentation that our customers wanted to attend.”

               “We had to increase the size of the seminar rooms to handle the crowd,” Abel noted. “People were standing in the hall outside the doors, trying to hear. To say we were a tad overwhelmed was an understatement.”

               The seminar on “chip and pin” and its potential to affect our industry seemed to be the biggest draw of the exhibition, with over 350 people attending the session on Tuesday. For a summary of that session, see page 28 in this issue of Parking Today.           

               “This PIE caught us napping,” said John Van Horn, Publisher of Parking Today, the event’s sponsor. “We felt the buzz, but we didn’t think it was as loud as it appeared to be. By noon Monday we were running ahead of last year and the people just kept coming in and registering on site.”

               “Mother Nature smiled on us again this year even though Chicago has had one of the coldest and snowiest winters on record, a few warm days last week melted most of the snow and even though it was cold for the opening day, the day was crystal clear it was free of precipitation and warm by closing. Next year we will be two weeks later, and that should ensure spring weather in Chicago.

               The “Women in Parking’s” first annual conference was held immediately following PIE beginning Wednesday evening. It will be covered in the June, 2014 issue of Parking Today, which will have all its editorial content provided by the women of the parking industry.    

               “2015 will be even bigger. We have contracted for more space here in the hotel, the exhibit hall witl be 50% bigger, and we are planning for a slightly smaller number of presentations, but of a quality and interest that will be appropriate for virtually all attendees.  We will have few that are at the same time, so attendees can see all the events.”

               The Parking Industry Exhibition will be held March 29-April 1, 2015 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont, IL, adjacent to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

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Charlotte Leaders Have Nonsensical Argument Over Airport Parking Rate Increases

At Charlotte Douglas International Airport, a 50 percent increase in parking rates is causing anger – and not from the public. The Charlotte Observer reports that Charlotte City Manager Ron Carlee and former Aviation Director Jerry Orr can’t quite agree on who planned and authorized the rate increase and have exchanged words on the subject publicly.

Carlee passive aggressively reported to the city council that Orr did not create a detailed plan to raise rates to pay for infrastructure improvements at the airport. Orr took offense and produced a pile of documents describing the steps he did indeed take to guarantee the improvements would be properly funded. Orr wrote to the Observer:

“Any idea that I would propose a capital program that would jeopardize the airport’s financial well-being is a complete mis-characterization of my management record as aviation director of Charlotte Douglas since 1989.”

Carlee says he didn’t mean Orr didn’t make any plans for rate increases, but that he didn’t make detailed plans for rate increases. Orr hasn’t made any further comment, yet.

It seems these two do not usually see eye-to-eye, so this episode is just more of the same. According to the Observer:

Orr lost his city job last year in the midst of the still-ongoing fight over whether City Council or a new, independent commission should run Charlotte’s airport. Orr, who supported separating the airport from city control, said he was forced out; Carlee said Orr resigned.

Who ever heard of anybody fighting for credit for raising parking rates? Maybe Orr should have taken the opportunity to lay the blame for a 50 percent parking rate increase on Carlee’s regime. His statement could have gone like this:

“I think the people of our great city need to keep more of their money. I would never authorize a rate increase this dramatic. You all have Mr. Carlee to thank for the hundreds of extra dollars airport parking is going to cost you from now on. And, by the way, I was forced out of my job as aviation director – don’t believe what he says. I want everybody to know what they did to me.”

Maybe these two need to have a sit down with Jerry Springer and sort out their differences, but we can thank them for yet another example of what happens when people start talking out of the wrong orifice.

For the rest of the article, which isn’t really a fun read, click here.


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Bad Policy Hits UK Parking Co. Hard

A parking company in Britain is paying a high price for a bad policy.

Purple Parking, Britain’s largest airport parking provider, has admitted to age discrimination against its employees and has been ordered to make restitution. The company told its employees they could no longer work after the age of 67 because its insurance policy would not cover them. The truth is, Purple Parking asked its insurance company to impose the age limit. Some 21 staff member smelled that fish and took the company to court. They won. According to The Independent:

Now, the company which also runs parking services at dozens of other UK airports, has been ordered to pay up to £78,000 each to the 21 employees who took it to the Tribunal. In total, the awards come to more than £150,000.

We all have concerns about the elderly and their driving and parking habits – and I’m not saying 67 is elderly. A friend of mine once revealed that her 85-year-old grandmother still drove even though she had no peripheral vision in either eye and could not turn her head to the left.

We’ve all seen the worst of it and have reason to worry. But the Purple Parking method is not the way to go about it. Keeping safe drivers on your payroll doesn’t have to be managed through age discrimination, because not all older drivers are bad drivers. Requiring regular evaluations of the drivers and their passengers is a simple policy that can ensure everyone’s safety.

Mistakes like these happen. Sometimes a questionable idea turns in to a devastating action. In this case, 21 employees lost their jobs. But Purple Parking made sure to safeguard the insurance of its 67 and older management and their spouses by asking its insurance provider to exclude them from the “new” policy. That makes this “mistake” seem a lot more like really bad business.

Read the rest of the article here.

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New Parking Regulations Have Political Impact in UK District

I’ve said before, the English have an interesting way of putting things. Their political system is just as quirky to me as their language, and when you put the two together you get a government made up of Whips and Tories, councillors and rebels.

In the Rochford District in Essex, England, a second Tory councillor has left his party because of a decision to charge for parking on Saturdays. According to the article on

“Dave Sperring, councillor for Trinity ward, in Rayleigh, will no longer be voting with the Conservative group on the council and says he will stand in May as an independent Conservative.”

It’s not that he was so mad about the parking charges, it’s that he was mad his party required him to vote for the parking charges:

“The controversial measure was passed by a full council meeting in January after Tories were ordered to back it and support group leader Terry Cutmore.”

Sperring didn’t like the way the vote was handled and isn’t going to be put in the same position again. So he left his party and is the second Tory to do so this week.

His decision means the council is now made up of 29 Conservatives, four Lib Dem, two independent Conservatives, two Greens and two Rochford District Resident representatives.

I don’t know what any of that means, but I like Mr. Sperring’s spunk. And I’m fascinated by the way a 1-pound per hour parking charge has reshaped a municipal government.

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