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Bringing the Metered Parking System Into the 21st Century


By David Cummins


One of the best movies of all time just might be “Cool Hand Luke,” the 1967 Paul Newman classic, perhaps best


known for one of the ultimate movie lines: “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.” But what you might not remember about that movie is that it


opens with Newman’s character cutting the heads off parking meters. While people might like to complain about parking meters,


they serve a vital purpose and can create economic development when used effectively. Innovative parking services improve traf- fic flow by making it easier to find a spot and optimize space turnover, benefitting local businesses.Amodernized parking sys- tem also reduces pollution and traffic congestion by enabling people to find a spot faster.


The average motorist’s parking experience can be frustrat-


ing:Adriver comes in to a city, finds it difficult to locate an avail- able meter, and becomes aggravated if he or she doesn’t have the correct coins to put into the meter. Many cities see the potential that exists by upgrading the parking experience, but in these dif- ficult economic times, cities can be too overburdened and under- funded to make a change on their own. Long used in other government functions, the public-private


partnership (3P) model, is an emerging strategy that offers a modernized and more convenient parking operation for motorists and businesses. At its most basic level, the 3Pmodel is a contract between a public-sector authority and a private party, in which the latter


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