Demand Exceeding Supply: Parking Professionals Wanted! by L. Dennis Burns, CAPP

Normally when I contemplate parking supply vs. demand, it is for a client trying to document the adequacy of their existing parking resources compared to current or projected needs. This is a fundamental type of parking analysis. Lately however, a new dimension of parking supply/demand has had me scratching my head.

More than ever, I have been actively engaged in helping communities either developing or updating strategic plans for their programs. Another trend has been to help communities that have never developed a formal parking program begin that process from scratch. It is great testament to the growth and maturity of our industry that more and more communities are realizing the importance of having a strong parking program to support nearly all other aspects of healthy urban or campus environments. The message that Parking Matters® has definitely made it to primetime!

It is rewarding and exciting to see this level of appreciation and understanding of the complexity and value of parking and the larger realm of access management, but it is also leading to new challenges and opportunities. Along with this growing understanding of the importance of having strong and well-managed parking systems comes the need for strong and experienced parking professionals to run these programs. There is clearly a growing need for more parking professionals to meet the demand that is emerging. I know of at least 10 communities that are actively searching for top level candidates and know of another half-dozen will be doing so in the coming year.

Exacerbating this issue is a growing tide of existing parking professionals who are considering retirement! Several of my closest friends and colleagues are beginning to map out their plans to leave their parking executive positions. And while there are many talented younger professionals in the pipeline, the demand for this level of top-level talent, at least from my perspective, is far exceeding the demand.

This may be an interesting challenge for IPI to consider in coming years. In the meantime, if anyone is looking for new opportunities, please drop me a line!

2 thoughts on “Demand Exceeding Supply: Parking Professionals Wanted! by L. Dennis Burns, CAPP

  1. Dennis, this is an important and often overlooked issue. Because there is no university I know of with a master’s degree in parking management, there is really no “pipeline” into the profession. If you want to be a city planner, there are many academic options. Likewise, if you want to be a city manager, urban designer, engineer or architect, academic programs are abundant. The CAPP program is great for those already in parking, but should IPI consider working with a university (Virginia Tach perhaps?) to create a specialization in parking? I know a few universities have specializations in transportation, but they tend to focus more on broad issues. One way we can give parking the prestige it deserves as a profession is to ally with the academic community, and get young people interested while they are in college.

  2. Dave is right on track with the way to develop an academic role in the parking profession. My view, however, is more real world minded. In the municipal and healthcare environment, the expectations focus around urban and transportation planning. In the academic and airport roles, they focus on the very essence of revenue controls and high volume transportation. There is much to be gained by following the academic track of urban planning and transportation. But without real life exposure from which one can draw valuable and practical operational experiences, understanding the formula for price elasticities or understanding trip generation charts, and turnover ratios, etc., means nothing if one overlooks the nuances of quality services and facility performance. Those functions are what makes the difference between an average parking system and a great one.
    Here’s an idea. In a big way, we need to engage the use of college interns and spread the wealth of knowledge about how parking IS a wonderful profession to invest one’s life. People becoming exposed to the never boring business we operate will develop interest.

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