Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Time For Choice from our Parking Conference

For many years I have been going to parking conferences and I look forward to them as well.  In many parts of the world and in many of them I have been astounded at the changing technologies that are shaping how we do things in the parking world, different companies that have come and gone and the wide range of methodologies that have been worked and re-worked (or even re-packaged) in an attempt to do things better. 

The common theme through all of these conferences, admittedly run by professional conference companies, is that they are wide in variety, topics and speakers.  The New Zealand Parking Conference, in Dunedin this year, has to be the narrowest of scope of programmes I have seen in a long time.  This is a programme entirely focussed on Enforcement, while Operations, Technology, Management, Valet, Marketing have been left out in the cold and untouched.

Look at the up coming British Parking association Conference programme on 27th September 2012,

  • The Parking Charges Debate
  • Sustainable Towns
  • Town Teamwork
  • Parking Strategy
  • Understanding Parking Behaviour
  • Innovation and Technology Focus
  • Maximising the Evening and Night Time Economy
  • High Streets of the Future
  • Accessible Towns
  • Understanding and Exceeding Customer Expectations

This is a great programme and it covers all aspects of parking, except Enforcement, which is covered by the speakers they have.

Look at the October 15th National Parking Association convention’s programme.  They run a choice of six tracks to mix and match from,

  • Certified Parking Professional (CPP) - education
  • Peak Performance - Smart Cities: The Next Wave in Transportation and Parking Management
  • Technology - Smart Cities: The Future of Citywide Parking Management.
  • Finance - Driving Performance: The Realities of Revenue Control, People, Process & Technology
  • Valet - How To Deliver White Glove Service to Meet Rising Front Line Service Expectations
  • Management & Operations - The Big 3: Revenue, Maintenance & Management

Nothing in here about Enforcement but they also cover topics in Airport and Hotel parking and have a valet Olympics for fun.

NZPA programme is,

  • WOF & Licensing Enforcing
  • Kerbside Discretions/Interactions/Explanations
  • CCS Disability Action - update on new mobility cards
  • Ministry of Transport Updates
  • History of the Number Plate

I am thinking that the NZPA conference is so narrowly focussed that it has become a Council only jaunt and since Councils have a small market share, in the bigger cities anyway, they ignore the majority of the car parking market.

I hear that there is a Healthcare Parking conference planned for Christchurch in December this year, to coincide with the re-build of Christchurch.  Maybe there will be specialist conferences pop up to fill the large gap left by NZPA.  There is already an airport conference for Australasia that has a parking component in it, as parking is a huge part of airport operations these days.  Other specialist conferences should be welcomed as the topics mentioned above must be covered regularly in New Zealand.

I think there is a need for a Parking conference in New Zealand, that will cover all of the topics of parking, offer some education and give participants, and that means the private sector as well, a well earned choice of topics.  This will only create a closer and better performing sector that will deliver better and more consistent standards to the public of New Zealand.

Kevin Warwood

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