Recent Posts


PIE 2017 will stop you dead in your tracks and make you think, “I can’t believe what I just saw and heard!”  pieshow.parkingtoday.com



Social Share Toolbar
Leave a comment

Parking and Transportation Through Omaha’s Eyes

PIE 2017 presents on Monday:

Parking Policy is often viewed as a separate component of the broader transportation program in a city. It’s clear that mobile payments and mobile platforms are on the rise, but how can cities combine payment initiatives to improve the downtown experience? Smart phones, smart cards, and the like work in some cities to pay all transportation fees, but can they work in yours? Presented by : Khristian J. Gutierrez, Chief Business Development Officer, Passport, Inc. and Ken Smith, Parking Director, City of Omaha, Nebraska

Khristian received his M.S. in Finance from the Hough Graduate School of Business at the University of Florida and his B.S. in Business Administration, also at UF. After graduation, Khristian excelled in Investment Banking at Wells Fargo Securities (WFS). He left WFS in 2011 to start Passport, guiding the company to the closing of its first funding round of $6M in 2013. As Chief Business Development Officer, he crafts and leads Passport’s strategy to achieve market leadership and manages major projects, including the implementation of Toronto Parking Authority’s mobile payment platform, the largest municipal deployment in North America.

Ken Smith is the City of Omaha’s first Parking Manager and as such was tasked with restructuring and establishing a consolidated entity as a enterprise fund for the City. Prior to Omaha, he worked in a similar role with the City of Lincoln and developed a successful program which was nominated for “Parking Program of the Year” by the International Parking Institute. Ken’s earlier roles included planning administration with the City of Council Bluffs and as a consultant with the architecture and engineering firm of JEO Consulting Group.

Ken is a Certified Administrator of Public Parking and co-chairs the International Parking Institute’s Intelligent Transportation System & Parking Task Force.

PIE 2017 – full info here

Social Share Toolbar
Leave a comment

100 Pages of Parking and Four Days of Information

I just saw the final proofs for the February Issue of Parking Today. Its 100 pages has more parking information in its stories, promotions, and ads than any issue we have produced. PLUS Eric has provided the complete program for PIE 2017 with speakers, seminars, exhibitors and schedules included in the issue.

We have come a long way from that first Parking Industry Exhibition held back in 1999. This year we are hosting the largest exhibition evah, with 148 booths with parking vendors from all over the world.

But most exciting for me, are our keynote speakers, pictured on PT’s February Cover you see nearby. These three come at you from all points of the compass, parking, psychological, and marketing to bring you the most well rounded program we could devise.  Singapore’s Paul Barter brings an international look at parking, Dr. Mark Goulson tells us about “Talking to Crazy” and even channels Steve Jobs. Michael Houlihan will keep you laughing as he takes everything you thought you knew about business apart and leaves you wondering. These are world class keynoters.

If you attend no other parking event this year, you need to make PIE 2017 a destination. Parking Today February is big, PIE 2017 is bigger.  View PT February on Friday at parkingtoday.com







Social Share Toolbar
Leave a comment

There are Nooks and Crannies…

A friend once told me that he thought most of the action at trade shows was in the lobby of the hotel.  That is why  PIE 2017 is at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare. This hotel was designed for a trade event. It has the ballrooms and seminar rooms convenient to the lobby and rooms. But there is more.

The open lobby around the central elevators has large comfortable seating areas where attendees and vendors can network. The “Red Bar” is large, inviting and open. Attendees can grab a bite, or a drink, and chat about the happenings.

Everywhere you look there is a nook or cranny where you can sit, talk and yes, even make deals. And all this is beside the exhibit hall, seminar areas, and theaters.

This is a world class facility and PIE 2017 is extremely happy to be back.  Join us.

pieshow.parkingtoday. com


Social Share Toolbar
Leave a comment

Numbers Don’t Lie

On Parknews.biz, it’s reported that parkbytext users in Ireland used the service for 900,000 parking transactions in 2016. The company also reached a happy milestone: 100,000 registered users.

The great thing about mobile payment applications and technologies is that the numbers keep track of themselves, almost. Usage is easily recorded and details about users can be quantified through the registration process.

Other parkbytext stats include:

The biggest adopters to parkbytext is Irish Rail customers, with an average of 44% choosing to pay through parkbytext over traditional ‘pay and display’ machines. On average 22% of customers choose parkbytext as their preferred payment method, over traditional ‘pay and display’ machines, with 50% of parkbytext transactions originating from the app.

I still use cash and cards to pay for parking, and I’m not big on registering for anything, because I don’t believe in giving away my data for free – unless it has real benefits for me. But I’m impressed by the way mobile pay technology supports itself. So many transactions are passive – for the user and provider.

Information on the busiest day, busiest venue and duration of stay are just a few of the numbers that have been gathered by the company. Though there are a lot of people paying with credit cards and cash, the data gathered by parkbytext shows, without question, that its users are adopting mobile pay options. It’s got to be encouraging for company officials.

Read the release here.

Social Share Toolbar
Leave a comment

And not a Parking Guy in sight

As Astrid noted last week on parknews.biz, the LA Times has commented on parking issues –you can read it here 

On balance the city of Los Angeles is saying that it can’t cut parking ticket rates, because…wait for it…they have a shortfall in the city’s budget. So this means that the city of Angels sees parking citations as a revenue source and not as a way to change the way people live in the city.

My experience is that parking folks see fines as a way to adjust behavior.  The revenue is secondary.

It seems the Mayor of our fair city empaneled a commission to study parking a couple of years ago and has received a report recommending many changes to how parking is handled. Its pretty comprehensive and has some good ideas, but what I found most distressing was that when you get to the end and the list of the 30 or 40 on the commission, not one was a full fledged member of the parking profession.

Its not that they don’t exist in Los Angeles.  We have consultants, parking operators, experts who run parking on and off street in a hundred cities within a stone’s throw of LA. There are equipment manufacturers, software engineers, and even the odd editor. But not one was asked to serve on a commission that was planning the future of parking for the city.

Most were politicians, a few restaurant owners, gadflys who ran local commissions and ‘represented’ neighborhoods. Granted their input was needed. But as the Times noted in the editorial, the technology used in LA is decades out of date.  Who on the commission knew diddly about parking technology, where it worked, where it doesn’t, and how to apply it.

I know I don’t play well with politicians. But I’m sure there are many in our business who do.

In the mean time we will continue with a Pay by Cell program no one knows about, having enforcement follow street sweepers and write tickets, signage that is so complex a lawyer would run away screaming, and $150 million generated for the general fund.

All is right with the world.


Social Share Toolbar
Leave a comment

These Guys (See picture below) are famous

I reprise this post from last week to introduce the three fellows on the preview of the cover of February PT posted yesterday.  To see Cover Picture, click here
Scan down a bit and you will see them. Art Director Shelly did her magic after communicating with Paul in Singapore, Michael in the Napa Wine Country and Mark here in LA. Not bad, huh?

Barter, Houlihan, Goulston. What a terrific group of speakers we have lined up for PIE 2017. I’m going to tell you what makes them terrific, but you may not like it.

These three have attained the zenith in their respective fields. They know what they are talking about. They are going to tell you about parking, your employees, and your organization. And its very possible you will find what they say unnerving. I have met all three and they take control of the room. Look closely at their pictures. There are some serious dudes behind those smiles.

Paul Barter is a professor in transportation and parking policy in Singapore. He has a number of blogs he updates daily and its original material. Whereas I read something by Paul and then comment on it, he comes up with the real thing. When you hear his two talks at PIE, you will be hearing years of experience trekking through some of the largest and not so large cities on earth, looking at their parking operations, and determining what’s good and what isn’t. You might be surprised as how your parking issues in Mid America relate to those in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and Oceania. Be prepared to think outside your parochial box and get great ideas on solving your parking issues.

Michael Houlihan is the founder of Barefoot Winery. We had a skype chat with him and he immediately understood what we wanted and began to form a presentation for us. His experience comes from founding and growing one of the best know wine brands in the world and he now travels the globe sharing his success with anyone who will listen. He talked about marketing. Everything we do is marketing, he says. Whether you own a parking operation, are a city or university with parking, or manufacturer or supply parking equipment, you probably approach your market from a traditional direction. And that direction is most likely wrong. He said that he would like to title his presentation “You can sell more if you wear a funny hat.” It reminded me of a car dealership in LA, ‘Cal Worthington and his Dog Spot.’ Michael is funny, dynamic, and will give you advice that may just change how you look at your business.

Dr. Mark Goulston called us after he read the review that Astrid did of his book, “Just Listen.” He said he wanted to meet “the gang” at Parking Today. We had lunch with him in our conference room. After an hour my head was spinning. When he walked in he looked like Steve Jobs, wire rimmed glasses and black turtleneck. He said he just came from a presentation when he channeled the famous entrepreneur giving his audience an overview of just how Jobs took Apple to its present level, and why it may not continue is meteoric rise. He taught us about Job’s “Whoa, Wow, Hmmm, Yes”– and now I can’t get it out of my head. Mark is a ‘people hacker.’ In an hour he pretty much had the four of us present down pat. That hour is going to make a huge difference in Parking Today Media over the next year. His talk will make a ‘yuge’ difference in your lives, guaranteed.

I am so proud to have these three with us in March. Join us and find out why. pieshow.parkingtoday.com

Social Share Toolbar
Leave a comment

Who The Heck are These Guys

Answer Tomorrow



Social Share Toolbar
Leave a comment

Parking Finds its Way into Art, Religion

I think it’s fascinating the way parking issues and experiences cross all kinds of political, cultural and social borders. On the same day I read about a reincarnated Druid king objecting to parking charges at Stonehenge, I also come across a description of an art display made up of paint scrapings left on parking structure walls by bad drivers.

In England, King Arthur Pendragon is taking English Heritage to court over parking charges applied to visitors of Stonehenge during the Summer Solstice, reports heatst.com.

Mr. Pendragon, whose real name is John Rothwell, appeared at Salisbury County Court this week to argue that parking should be free because people have a right to pray without hindrance.

Parking is free throughout the year, despite enormous increases in tourism at the site, except during the busy month of June. Mr. Pendragon will have an entire day in April to argue his case before the Salisbury Crown court. He’s taken his stand under the umbrella of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Read the article here.

The art exhibit, sponsored by Nissan, is called “Parking is Not an Art.” According to the article, published on mediapost.com, Nissan’s technology saves people the trouble of parking for themselves, but shouldn’t necessarily replace the skill of parking. Either way, the streaks of paint left all over parking garages, barriers and columns are somewhat beautiful, but totally avoidable.

With Nissan’s Around View Monitor technology, you might not have left your own Picasso at your local parking lot.

Read the article about the art exhibit here.

If there was ever any question about what a huge role parking plays in the lives of every day people, the way it transcends the every day and becomes art or a platform for human rights answers that question loud and clear.


Social Share Toolbar
Leave a comment

Parking – Such a Boring Topic — NOT!

Paul Barter is Keynoting at PIE — His ideas are so important he’s giving two talks. Here are his comments about his presentations:

If I had my way, on-street parking management would be boring. It would be one of those worthy but unsexy topics, like sewers, that we can take for granted so long as they are working. Boring on-street parking management means getting the job done, free of drama, devoid of conflict, quietly efficient. Give thanks if you already have boring on-street parking management!

We will also see how sadly non-boring on-street parking can be. Many cities around the world have epic on-street parking crises. In certain Indonesian cities, organized crime has fingers in the on-street parking, making parking reform an ‘interesting’ exercise. Cars parked all over the sidewalks are commonplace in urban China. Of course, even in the US, local elected officials see parking policy as a career-threatening ‘third rail’.

But, more importantly, weak parking management plays a leading role in a slow-motion but epic tragedy. For most of its eight or so decades in existence, on-street parking management has been limited, much hated by motorists, and deployed with great reluctance. To avoid the pain, most municipalities try instead to promote plentiful off-street parking, usually via on-site parking requirements with buildings.

It seemed like a good idea at the time but we now know this strategy has been causing a slow-motion tsunami of high cost, eroding tax bases, unaffordable housing, automobile dependence, and is just hugely wasteful.

But here’s the good news. Things don’t have to be like that anymore.

Today, there is no technical reason for any city not to have excellent parking management in any street that needs it. This is the fruit of hard-won experience and of the exploding technical possibilities we will take a look at, including on parking data, price setting, fee collection, enforcement and for keeping key stakeholders happy (or at least happier than they used to be).

One of these opportunities is to escape the parking excess tragedy I mentioned just now. We should take the chance for all the reasons mentioned above, not to mention because of how silly we will feel if certain scenarios for plummeting parking demand come true. And don’t forget that even today most cities are needlessly creating way more parking supply than is justified.

Do I hear you protest that there has to be more to avoiding parking excess than better on-street parking management? Yes indeed. A Mayor can’t just snap his or her fingers and make parking demand disappear.

It is easy say “let’s avoid parking excess” but how do we also get the “success” part?

I will share some answers to that question in my second session. One answer involves some parking policy mental jujitsu. Stop even trying to prevent spillover parking. Instead adopt a “Walkable Parking” mindset in which spillover is nothing to be scared of at all. In fact, it is meaningless in this mindset.

So come along to my sessions to learn how to make your on-street parking management as boring as possible. It is a key step towards a vision of wider parking success that will allow us to wean ourselves from our addiction to parking excess.


Social Share Toolbar
Leave a comment