APO and Iterative Design (Part I)

IPI_Generic_APO_Logo_FinalBy Casey Jones, CAPP

In my last blog I introduced many of you to IPI’s Accredited Parking Organization (APO) program. In my next few posts, I’d like to cover some of the essential components that have been built into the APO program.

Iterative design is a methodology based on a cyclic process of prototyping, testing, analyzing, and refining a product or process. Iterative designs evolve over time and are required by APO because what is considered a best practice today may not be in the future. Consider sustainability: Sustainable parking has only become mainstream in the last few years but would likely have been absent had APO existed a decade ago.

In the early stages of APO, a group of parking experts assembled the first list of standards. A handful of organizations volunteered to beta test the standards and an extensive process of refining followed, concluding just about a month ago. Some standards were excluded, some were moved to “Accreditation with Distinction,” and others became required items.

As the world continues to change, how will the APO keep up? For starters, APO status is earned for three years. To earn three more years, an abbreviated review will be required. When that three-year period is completed, a full review will be needed and the process will begin again. This approach accepts that our standards will be very different six years from now.

APO will also evolve through a feedback process where professionals from our industry provide input on what new standards they think are needed. Suggestions will be solicited, collected, and evaluated and the APO will be adjusted as needed. A technical advisory committee has also been appointed; part of their role will be to advise the APO board on needed changes. Though it’s only a guess, I’d predict an updated set of standards every three to six years.

Anything built for the long run must also be built to adapt. Our industry has experienced monumental changes in technology, marketing and communications, and sustainability in the recent past and there’s no reason to expect the pace of change to abate. The APO was designed to keep up with these changes and remain, over time, the industry’s gold standard.

Casey Jones, CAPP, is vice president, institutional services, with SP+.

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