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International Parking Institute recognizes University of Maryland's permit-less parking system, sustainability efforts, and exemplary customer service programs
(PHOENIX, Ariz - June 12, 2012) The International Parking Institute (IPI) awarded the University of Maryland, College Park's Department of Transportation Services (DOTS) the Parking Organization of the Year Award at the 2012 International Parking Institute Conference & Expo in Phoenix, Ariz., June 10-13.
The award is given annually to organizations that exceed expectations and meet extremely high standards for customer service. Nominations are accepted on an annual basis and judged by a select committee of industry peers appointed by IPI Board of Directors Chair Casey Jones, CAPP. Recipients are selected by the Professional Recognition Committee.
In announcing the award, IPI's Executive Director, Shawn Conrad, CAE, said, "the University of Maryland's Department of Transportation Services has instituted a number of initiatives that increase efficiency, promote sustainability, and enhance the customer parking experience. Their goal was to make it easy and convenient to be green while commuting, and they have certainly done that and much more."
The University of Maryland's DOTS last year instituted a completely permit-less parking system that utilizes license plate recognition (LPR) technology on truck-mounted cameras, eliminating the need for nearly 18,000 plastic hangtags. In addition to a cost savings of nearly $100,000 per year, the system eliminates the problem of altered or stolen permits and long registration lines before the first day of class. Creative messages crafted by DOTS marketing and communications staff and professional design team informed students of the new system.
DOTS is also a leader in sustainability efforts and eco-friendly advancements, creating the TerpRider Carpool program with premium parking access and reduced cost through its Green Registration program. Customers who register certain hybrid vehicles receive discounts; those who use mass transit enjoy pre-tax transit payroll deductions through the Smart Benefits program. Most recently, DOTS installed electric vehicle charging stations that registered customers can use at no cost - plus they receive a 50 percent reduction in their parking rates.
To further improve customer service, the DOTS main office underwent a massive renovation that removed barriers for personal communication and added a reception area staffed by undergraduate students, who are trained to ensure engaging and positive customer interactions 24 hours a day. The university counseling center trains the DOTS front-line student supervisors to identify students in distress, recognize when they may need help with non-parking-related issues, and refer them to appropriate professionals.
"We salute the DOTS for going beyond what is expected to help students and the environment," Conrad said. "The department truly exemplifies what is best in the parking profession."
International Parking Institute is the largest association representing parking professionals and the parking industry worldwide. Learn more at www.parking.org
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International Parking Institute