Ask the Experts - What are the most important safety and security issues impacting the parking industry?

What are the most important safety and security issues impacting the parking industry?


Mary Smith, P.E.
Senior Vice President
Walker Parking Consultants

Nearly 75 percent of insurance claims to parking structure owners are slips and falls. Liability has recently been complicated by the publication of ASTM F1637, which makes recommendations for Safe Walking Surfaces. Basically, it recommends compliance with the same requirements of the ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG) for changes in level and NO wheel stops and speed bumps. Failure to meet this standard will likely increase liability in the event of slips and falls.


Timothy Haahs, P.E.
Timothy Haahs & Associates Inc.

Women are driving and parking at garages in ever-increasing numbers. The Department of Education reported that 58 percent of college students will be female by 2012. Furthermore, "The Extreme Future," a popular book with the aim of briefing readers on trends of the future, predicts that by 2025 the ratio of women to men in the workplace will reach 2:1. This statistic indicates a staggering increase in the number of female students and workers driving and parking their cars. This significant demographic change will impact our perspective on providing security and safety. Garages can no longer be designed "as usual." Enhancing security, both inside and around parking facilities, will become more and more critical. One of the most effective methods to increase security is to achieve increased levels of pedestrian activity, by creating active spaces with a sense of place and community.


Ron Stehman
Stehman Consulting LLC

Ensuring personal safety is the major safety and security issue confronting the parking industry. Parking operators must ensure that users can walk within the parking facility without significant concern about crime, safety or traffic hazards. This is particularly important in a garage where ensuring safety involves many aspects of garage operations including construction, maintenance, lighting, active and passive safety operations and devices, and even public relations. If steps are continually taken to ensure security, user complaints will be reduced and also the potential for a major security breach will be reduced.


Roamy Valera, CAPP
Vice President / Regional Manager
Standard Parking Corporation

Pedestrian mobility and the security of patrons has become a major concern in parking facilities (an issue created at times by poorly designed structures). Such concerns deal with vehicles making blind turns, walking in drive aisles, exiting into active sidewalks, tripping hazards, blind/dark areas like stairwells and elevator lobbies. In addition, we must be diligent with the concern of potential crime activities and threat to our parking facilities.


Lenny Bier, CAPP
Executive Director & General Council
New Jersey Parking Institute

The public sector of the industry as a whole strives to provide safe, secure and affordable parking for the public. We try to accomplish this objective with passive security features built into our facilities -- glass stair towers, adequate lighting, open expanses, etc. I don't believe that the events of 9/11 , although heightening the general public's awareness, has resulted in greater safety and security systems being installed in most parking facilities. Obviously, parking facilities attached to federal and state government, agencies and institutions may have increased security precautions, such as human security patrols, active and passive CCTV systems, video recording of patrons, license plate recognition and recording, to name a few.


Derek J. Kiley
President & Managing Director
WPS North America, Inc.

It was simply a matter of time before the PCI credit card standards would be imposed on the parking lot owners and operators. Initial credit card use began in the late 90s and became a standard practice and accepted expense for lot owners by 2003 with increased use exceeding 50 percent of transactions. The ever-changing regulations governing use, storage and control of credit card data has created much higher awareness for vendors and operators, along with very costly penalties for non-compliance. This security issue will now always have tremendous impact within our industry.


John Nolan, CAPP
Director of Transportation Services
Harvard University

There are a number of safety and security issues that impact the parking industry - however the two which I believe to be most important are lighting levels within and outside parking facilities and an understanding of how to determine each facility's risk level.  Always ensure that your facility meets the minimum IES (Illuminating Engineering Society) lighting standard. This standard, however, may not be adequate based on the "risk level" that is assigned by your security consultant based on a "facility risk profile." Always make sure as part of determining your facility risk level with your security consultant (low, medium or high) that you incorporate the surrounding city area as part of this assessment. Many courts have ruled that an owner needs to know not just the incidents that have happened at or near the facility but also in the general area. A "CAP Index" is one tool that can be used to get this information as well as working with your local police department to receive local crime statistics.