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PIE 2019 – A Team Effort

The Parking Industry Expo 2019’s success was the result of a team effort. I am gratified how the Parking Today group came together and performed flawlessly.

It was interesting to sit back and watch the 10 members of our team work to present an event that had raves from even the most particular critics. My personal thanks go to Marcy, Astrid, Kelley, Jordan, Paul, Robyn, Andy, Francine, Bob, and Peter who formed a fantastic group and went above and beyond to make this event happen.

We must also thank the sponsors and exhibitors without whom PIE could not exist. Thanks go particularly to the Platinum and Gold sponsors. We hope to see you all back next year at PIE 2020 in San Diego.

But there would be no PIE without the attendees. You brought out the best in our speakers, attended networking events, and yes, even partied a bit at our beach party. Thanks for being there and making PIE the parking event of the year.

With nearly 30 seminars, networking events, PIE’s largest exhibit hall, and a half day smart parking seminar, this year’s event brought new features to parking trade shows. Highlighting the opening was the first annual Parking Today Awards Breakfast honoring outstanding efforts in Parking Garage Design, Sustainability, Customer Service, and Technology.

Headlining the awards ceremony was the presenting of the lifetime achievement award to centenarian Larry Donoghue who brought down the house with his hilarious comments on ‘how to live to be 100.’

Thanks to all. See you next year in San Diego.


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Conference Featuring Israeli Parking Technology

Israel is known for its high-tech sector, and parking is not forgotten. The Israel Conference on Parking, Traffic and Transportation will be held in Jerusalem on May 15 featuring companies from across the country and presentations by leaders in the field.

Conference Organizer Pini Cabessa told Parking Today that the day long event offers an opportunity for distributors, dealers, and OEMs from around the world to be exposed to the finest in Israeli parking technology. More than 30 Israeli companies will have exhibits plus many more will be in attendance.

Although most of the seminars will be held in Hebrew, Israel is a country where virtually everyone speaks English. Manufacturers and tech suppliers present will be able to discuss their products in English.

“Should any visitor wish to meet Israeli technology suppliers, they should contact me in advance and I will be happy to put them together with those companies featuring the technology needed, “ Cabessa said. “Many parking technologies including automatic license plate recognition, payment by cell phone, various parking management systems, and all types of parking apps have manufacturers in Israel. If a company is looking for any of these this is the place to come.”

The seminars will be covering topics familiar to parking professionals around the world:

– Solutions for efficient and intelligent use of parking resources in Israel.

– Parking solutions for malls and commercial centers, hospitals and hotels,

– Electric Vehicle – Charging the electric vehicle in parking lots.

– Automatic parking lots for vehicles and vehicles – private and public.

– Locating parking spaces and using parking and transportation applications.

– The parking branch, as a yielding investment channel and its effects on construction projects

– Valuation of trade in parking lots as an investment channel

– Operation and maintenance of parking lots

– Parking control and parking systems

– Lines for engineering planning for the next generation garages.

– Expert – futuristic design for parking lots in Israel – the next generation.

For more information feel free to contact Pini Cabessa directly at +972 50 5618990 or email Pini@messer1.co.il. The event will be held May 15, 2019 at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Jerusalem. If you have any questions about travelling to Israel, contact PT Editor John Van Horn at jvh@parkingtoday.com.

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Parking Industry Expo 2019 – A Smorgasbord with Dessert

You Must Taste the Entire Event!

I have been looking through the Seminars being presented at this year’s Parking Industry Expo and can’t help but be impressed with the wide variety of presentations. Yes, there are some directed at cities, but also some at airports, universities, and dare I say it, the private sector.

Just looking at the titles from Tuesday can give you a taste of what is to come: Enforcement, Lessons learned from Chicago; Designing Downtowns for Women; Hiring the Best; Solving Parking Availability; Parking Guidance at the UC Sacramento, Understanding Consumer Behavior; Cyber Security; Airport PARCS; Technology, Friend or Foe; Are You losing money collecting money; Why the Parking Market must Grow.

And that’s the short day. Wednesday brings a plethora of topics dealing with Universities, Cities, Parking Operations, and Tech. One seminar even takes you on a trip with Dorothy down the Yellow Brick Road to Oz. Check out all the PIE seminars here.

Like the famous Swedish Buffet, the Parking Industry Expo has something for every taste. And of course, enables you to satisfy your sweet tooth with networking, breakfasts (yes bacon and eggs), and a beach party that will prepare you for PIE’s new location in 2020.

Its not too late to register and spend a couple of days in balmy Chicago (temps will top out at 50 on Wednesday) and satisfy your hunger for all things parking. Our smorgasbord is cooked up just for you.


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Heat Wave Hits Chicago!

All things are relative, right. It’s going to be in the 40s in Chicago during PIE. It looks like another year in the unending record of never snowing on PIE in Chicago. The weather is looking good for parking pros in the windy city.

O’Hare should be running like a well-oiled machine. The exhibitors are shipping and the support companies are receiving. Marcy, Astrid, Jordan, and Kelley are tending to last minute details. Excitement is building.

I am receiving Powerpoint renditions of the seminars and trust me, they are world class. Dale Denda has asked me to craft a story line to go with his presentation, and I am telling the heart rendering saga of George, Gracie, John and Mary.

Jordan tells me that the food and beverage orders are in and parties, breakfasts, exhibit hall lunches, and all, are set. She is ensuring that the food is the best evah.

I just came from a meeting and can assure you that the welcoming ‘newbie’ seminar at 11 on Monday is going to be spectacular. Astrid likens it to the Algonquin round table. It will be fun for all.

New this year are the Parking Today Awards. Over bacon and scrambled eggs, four organizations and one individual will be singled out for their outstanding work in the parking industry. The surprise MC is Andy Van Horn. He was kind enough to volunteer to help out. His boss said OK but told him to be sure we didn’t lure him back into the parking industry. He told me he is looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones.

PIE 2019 will be one for the record books. See you there.


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A Story about George and Gracie

I’m told I’m a story teller. I have been asked to craft a story to go along with the presentation at PIE by PMRC’s Dale Denda in two weeks. He posits that we may be looking at the numbers, or failing to look at numbers,  concerning auto travel from a perspective that could cloud the issue. It’s a fact that 87% of all commuter traffic is using a private vehicle. Fair enough. That number, percentage wise, hasn’t significantly changed in almost a half a century.

But the absolute numbers have changed. Fifty years ago that 79% was 66 million cars, today its 131 million.

George and Gracie live in a community outside of San Diego. It’s a 30 minute commute on a good day, an hour on a bad day. They have a nice home, third of an acre, two kids, and have developed many friends through their church and their kids’ school.

Gracie commutes in the family Prius each day to her job as a lawyer in San Diego. George works as a CPA near home and is tasked with driving the kids to various functions dealing with school, church, and other activities. He drives an SUV.

Between the two of them they make over $200 K a year. They love their lifestyle. Schools are good, neighborhoods are quiet, and its safe.

It should be noted that there is no public transportation that will get Gracie to work in San Diego. Her betters tell her that she should pull up stakes and move downtown, into a four bedroom condo in the heart of the city where she can walk to work, the kids can walk to a high rise school, and George can find work as a CPA.

What exactly is her motivation to do so? Housing is cheaper outside of the metro area. Its safer for her kids. The schools are better. Sure she might save a half hour to 45 minute drive each way a day, but what is she getting in exchange.

John and Mary have just gotten married. They both work for companies in downtown San Diego. They have a two-bedroom apartment within walking distance of shops, clubs, restaurants, their gym and best of all, their work. Together they make $140,000 a year

They have made friends in their building and at the Gym. They don’t own a car but rent one when they want to visit their friends who live near George and Gracie. If they need to get around in the city, Uber and Lyft are there to help. Their betters see them as the perfect family living a perfect life, and saving the world at the same time.

In a few years they begin a family. Mary is now concerned about taking the baby shopping using Lyft (did you ever see all the stuff you have to schlep when you take one child on even a short trip.) They buy their first car. She starts thinking about schools and safety. She and John begin to talk about moving. They have been able to save a few bucks and are eying a house near George and Gracie.

John and Mary’s betters tell them to stay put. City life is great. Its full of excitement and the police are really doing a great job with the crime wave. What possible motivation do they have to stay?

After the kids are out of college will George and Gracie move into the city? Maybe, maybe not. Will John and Mary return? Maybe, Maybe not.

The realities of life in the US are that the same proportion, generally speaking, of people are living in the ‘burbs’ and driving to work in the city every day as they have for 60 years.  And how that’s set to change is not exactly an intuitively answered question, as Dale will explain. 

The problem is that there are just more George and Gracies and John and Marys today than there were back then. Congestion is going to become worse and worse. The need to quickly park these vehicles is going to become more and more apparent. The need to provide for them will become critical.

Our betters would like to say that either George and Gracie move, or they take the train. But there is no train, and there is no one who is proposing a way to pay the literally trillions for the trains that are needed.

At PIE – Dale Denda  will give you the numbers that back up my story. He will tell you about the millions and millions of George and Gracie’s, and go on to question how many John and Marys will factor into the equation over time/or in just a few years]

To help the George and Gracie’s and John and Mary’s of the world we need to think outside the box. We must adapt the parking business. Consider this from Todd Tucker over at Arrive:

Rail was the most popular way to travel for years, but railroad companies experienced a major decline in the 1950s due to the growth of automobiles and air travel. Because they were singularly focused on rail, those companies neglected to see the bigger picture – that they were not just in the railroad business, they were actually in the transportation business. They didn’t innovate. They lost relevance and lost customers. When was the last time you opted to ride a train across the country instead of flying on an airplane?

Similarly, National Cash Register (NCR) was a top 4 powerhouse of a company in the early 1900’s and prevailed in the transactional calculations machine business. In the 1950’s however, despite huge market dominance and what should have been a massive head start on the world, they almost went out of business due to a refusal to acknowledge and embrace the, then-emerging computer industry that is now ubiquitous. NCR barely recovered, but countless firms from the last century no longer exist today due to a failure to adopt technological change. From the list of Fortune 500 companies that existed in the 1950’s, only 12% even exist today

To keep from going the way of NCR or the Railroads, we need to change our story. We need to find ways to reduce that congestion by perhaps moving car short term storage out of central cities and providing shuttle service into town. We need to think about how we can make the parking experience quicker, better, more modern. We need to get those cars off the streets in seconds, not minutes.

We need to enable drivers to find parking quickly and use technology that they already have in their cars and pockets to get them off the streets and into safe, clean parking areas.

We must plan the infrastructure so that it will handle the millions of cars that are going to be driving in and out of our cities daily.

As Dale points out – the numbers are staggering. Parking must be part of the solution.

See you art PIE – Join in the discussion.


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Do I want to Live to be 100?

I suggest that if you consider age as simply marking time and going through the pain of a body not working as well as it did when you were 20, then living ten decades doesn’t look so great.

However, if you look at age as an experience and life as a journey, if age is an attitude rather than a calendar, then the century mark may look better.

What brings this to mind is Larry Donoghue, retired parking consultant (he retired at 95), friend, and bon vivant, who turned 100 this week. Astrid and I spoke to him on his birthday and the first words out of his mouth was about what good physical shape he was in.

I remember a few years ago when Larry was having some balance problems. He told me that he was being forced to slow down. Then he discovered that he could correct the balance issue by doing some exercises, which he did, and all was right with his world. Larry slow down, never.

He speaks of his longevity with almost reverence. He says you must never retire. He was forced to stop consulting at 95 after an “intervention” his children held. They told him that he must retire to take care of his wife and he couldn’t be away at airports, garages, and cities. (She had just fallen and broken something). He agreed and then set about finding what to do.

Larry volunteers helping “old” people who can’t get around so much anymore. He goes shopping for them and sometimes just sits and talks with those who are lonely having lost most of their friends to age. He spends an hour and a half in the gym every other day. On the off days, he walks, a lot. He tells me that when the weather is inclement, he walks in the corridors of his apartment building.

Larry wrote a short biography for PT when he “Retired” in 2014. You can read it here.

We are holding a short event at PIE this year to honor Larry. Everyone is invited. Oh, don’t worry, when you hit 100, we will honor you, too. Larry tells me he will give a short speech on how to live100 years. I told him he had to keep it short – Larry can go on a bit. He said that he would keep the racy parts out and if someone wanted to meet him in the hall afterwards, he would whisper those in your ear. If he went over 10 minutes, he said, I could give him the “hook.”

Do I want to live to be 100? If I can keep my attitude fresh and active like Larry, sure. Its a journey I wouldn’t want to end.

Happy Birthday, Larry, many happy returns. My guess is that there will be.


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The Right Stuff

Wednesday was General Chuck Yeager’s 96th birthday. He is without a doubt the leader in courage when it comes to flight. Being the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound, he cleared the path for test pilots and astronauts that followed.

Tom Wolf coined the term “The Right Stuff” to describe what let the seven Mercury Astronauts to risk everything.

According to Wikipedia, Wolfe wrote that the book was inspired by the desire to find out why the astronauts accepted the danger of space flight. He recounts the enormous risks that test pilots were already taking, and the mental and physical characteristics—the titular “right stuff”—required for and reinforced by their jobs. Wolfe likens the astronauts to “single combat warriors” from an earlier era who received the honor and adoration of their people before going forth to fight on their behalf.

Yeager himself downplayed the theory of “the right stuff”, attributing his survival of potential catastrophes to simply knowing his airplane thoroughly, along with some good luck.

I will tell you one thing – if you ever visited the air and space museum and took a close look at the original Mercury capsule, you would begin to get a bit of a feel for what those heroes risked. The thing looked like it was put together in someone’s garage using spare parts.

Heroes in battle are said to act as they do as a reaction to the moment. Adrenaline charged, they just ‘do’ it, without a lot of thought to their personal safety. Test pilots and astronauts had plenty of time to consider their safety, their families, and their future. They looked at the fragile machines they flew and then decided to go anyway.

Do what you can for as long as you can, and when you finally can’t, do the next best thing. You back up but you don’t give up.

General Chuck Yeager

When we take risks and fail. We can ‘pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start all over again.” The Chuck Yeagers of the world don’t have that luxury in the event of failure.

Happy Birthday Chuck, and all the best to you and the heroes you spawned. You truly have “The Right Stuff.”


h/t: Joe Sciulli and Clyde Wilson

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There Really Is a PIE in the Sky

When we started the Parking Industry Expo nearly two decades ago we didn’t at first realize that the acronym PIE would take on such a life of its own. The second year, we had a cover shot of a giant apple pie hovering over Chicago like an alien space craft (Thank you photoshop.)

NOTE: The Dates are for 1999 – PIE this year is March 11-14, 2019

Today, PIE has become a part of the parking lexicon. Tom Cramer over at Rydin Decal blogged the following:

I started at Rydin as a Print Production Planner. After 6 months, I was asked to attend a local trade show, called PIE! Visions of Peach, Dutch Apple and French Silk danced through my head.

As I translated the acronym in my head, the images of tasty desserts faded away, and my stomach rumbled in protest.

I attended a session aimed at colleges and universities. The presenter oversaw Parking and Transportation for a large university, including a hospital. After a short introduction, he went to a dry erase board and wrote down one word: politics. His message was that he had a lot of other departments to communicate with in order to get things done. I had already worked on plenty of parking related orders, including permits, warning stickers, tow signs and citation forms. But I never thought about the real-world applications of these products, or the policies they meant to support.

You can read all of his thoughts about PIE over at parknews.biz. Thanks Tom. Look me up at PIE and I’ll see what I can do about finding that pastry to help you celebrate.

To join Tom, me and 1000 others for a taste of PIE 2019 click here.


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An Invitation… Midwestern Parking Resource Forum

This is an event where agencies of all sizes can come together and discuss common problems and solutions. Moderated by Julie Dixon, the program mirrors similar extremely successful events that are hosted throughout the year in Northern and Southern California. The informal discussion provides the opportunity to share your experiences and resolve challenges facing your parking operations.

Whether you are a parking manager, enforcement officer, police official in charge of parking, a parking department manager, a meter technician or just someone who is involved with parking, this Forum is for you.

Come with your managers, your senior staff, or attend alone. Take an afternoon and bring your parking experience for this open discussion. It’s a great way to spend a Monday afternoon.

Vendors, you are welcome – but remember, there’s no sales pitch.  This is an opportunity to hear how your resources are experienced by the people who support and operate them.

As a Midwest Parking Forum inaugural offer, along with your registration for this free event, you will be provided a complimentary pass to visit the PIE Exhibit Floor for Tuesday and Wednesday.

For more information about the Parking Industry Expo, log on to pieshow.parkingtoday.com. To register click here.

When registering use the code below — Its easy and its FREE
Select Monday sessions and Exhibits Only options at registration.

Apply the code: PIE2019-DIXON-FORUM (at the REVIEW section) to take advantage of your complimentary registration. Having trouble or questions, call me at 310 625 5724. Want to handle it by email — send your full information and questions to jvh@parkingtoday.com. We will take care of everything.


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PIE 2019 – A Resource to help you Win the Smart Parking Smart City Challenge

You can be the leader in your community in the Smart Parking Smart City arena. The Parking Industry Expo 2019 will give you the tools to make that job easier. Sessions from the Midwest Parking Resource Forum which brings real life solutions to on and off street parking issues, to using algorithms to predict space availability, to the use of a data lake to increase revenue and service, to parking analytics and smart parking will educate and inform.

Plus there is an entire half day with one presentation after another featuring Mobility as a Service, a deep dive into Artificial Intelligence, ways to future proof your smart parking/city infrastructure by Verizon, and a keynote by the US Department of Transportation on just how the DOT manages transportation and parking security and how it is affecting the Smart Parking/Smart City environment.

Smart Parking is more than just a buzzword. It is a way you can raise the relevance of your parking operation in the Smart City environment. At least half the seminars at PIE 2019 are designed to give you a better insight into this complex world and show ways to navigate the mysteries surrounding both technology and management of the “Smart” parking and municipal world.

Check out PIE 2019 at pieshow.parkingtoday.com or click here to register. The Parking Industry Expo is March 11-14 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare adjacent to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.

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