Parking & Mobility magazine, October 2021

Page 70

Jump Start Employee Biking: How It Can Roll By Joshua Cantor, CAPP, and Janet Walker After the tax law changes of December 2017 eliminated the monthly $20 pre-tax bicycling commuting benefit, George Mason University needed to recalibrate its employee biking program, which is an important cog (pun intended) of the transportation program. We needed to find a way to incentivize faculty and staff bicyclists to keep commuting by bike and to persuade others to bike. The university’s transportation department did a top-down assessment, including our cycling stakeholders in focus groups and conducting outreach with cyclists during the drafting process. Besides figuring out what was important to cyclists, we had to involve our payroll department, which now would be involved in processing a taxable benefit. A brand new, threetier incentive system was rolled out in the first quarter of 2019. Employees under the new program could earn benefits such as direct payments, complimentary parking passes, and annual funding for bike maintenance from a local bike shop based on how often and how far they rode to campus. The maximum

benefit annually is more than $1300, compared to $240 annually in the older program when bicycle benefits were pre-tax. A year later, COVID-19 put the program on hold for a bit but gradually, the faculty/staff cyclists are returning. We even added a new introductory tier of support in January 2021 to try to encourage new cyclists who are returning to campus as we progress through the pandemic. With thousands of employees returning to work in person, it is important to keep incentivizing people to bike to work and reduce our single occupancy vehicle demand, especially as Mason plans to grow considerably and is hoping to reduce the amount of parking that is constructed in the future.

JOSHUA CANTOR, CAPP, is director of parking and transportation, and Janet Walker is manager of transportation programs at George

Mason University. They will present on this topic at the 2021 IPMI Parking & Mobility Conference & Expo, Nov. 29 – Dec. 3, in Tampa, Fla.

Parking, Traffic, and Congestion at Special Event Venues By Angel Diaz, Henry Espinosa, and Mike Mckeon Have you been to a large sporting event lately and said, “WOW, that was painless getting to my parking spot?” We didn’t think so, but there is a better way–Free Flow Frictionless Parking. At LoanDepot Park, home of the Miami Marlins, getting to the ballpark just got easier. By leveraging LPR technology, the Miami Parking Authority and the Miami Marlins have eliminated points of friction at the entrances to their four parking garages

and six surface lots. There’s no need to stop to get your prepaid pass scanned or pay by cash or with credit card anymore. Simply proceed to your parking space and your license plate is your parking credential. Reduced ingress times, improved guest experience, and a better bottom line are just a few of the benefits derived from this new mode of parking for stadiums, arenas, and other large event venues. Our parking ecosystem includes many established parking technology companies that worked together to bring to fruition the first stadium in the country using this mode of parking operations to mitigate traffic and congestion and improve on the overall experience of coming to a large venue like LoanDepot Park– 37,000 capacity. And, though we were not thinking about viruses and pandemics in 2019 when we first began developing our Free Flow parking program, in hindsight, it turned out to be the safest and healthiest way to conduct event parking at large event venues. ANGEL DIAZ and Henry Espinosa with the Miami Parking

Authority and Mike Mckeon with Parking Partners LLC, will present on this topic at the 2021 IPMI Parking & Mobility Conference & Expo, Nov. 29 – Dec. 3, in Tampa, Fla.