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148 Guidebook for Evaluating Airport Parking Strategies and Supporting Technologies staff identified a lack of prior coordination as one of the primary causes for unsatisfactory or delayed implementation of a strategy. The interviews also identified the importance of having parking operations staff (or a similar group) function as the "owner" or "customer" for the strategy. As the owner, these staff accept responsibility for arbitrating conflicting recommendations, avoiding scope and budget "creep" and maintaining the original schedule and focus. Airport staff described instances of strategies having been implemented unsatisfactorily or having the final product not meet expectations because the parking staff did not "own" implementation of the strategy. Examples included (1) expansion of the complexity and cost of a proposed revenue control system beyond the original purpose and need because of the desire of an IT department to add unneeded "bells and whistles," and (2) an audit department belatedly requiring that the system produce seldom-used reports that were not included in the original plans or specifications and that were never used. Airport staff described the need to work cooperatively with other departments as no single group has all of the skills and experience needed to implement a strategy successfully. Implement the Strategy Implementation typically implies award of a contract, installation of new equipment, or adoption of a policy. It is suggested that, when feasible, consideration be given to phased roll- out (or soft opening) of a new system or use of a pilot program. For example, it is suggested that a new parking technology first be installed and tested at a low-volume parking facility before it is implemented at the largest, most heavily used facilities. Similarly, it is suggested that new programs be initiated during off-peak periods rather than during the busiest months of the year. Use of such soft openings or pilot programs allows the parking staff to determine that all aspects of a technology or systems are operating as planned, that customers understand how to use a new program, and/or that a contractor has adequate time to mobilize and transition into a new role. Airport operators cautioned about difficulties resulting from opening a new facility or service before it was ready and lingering effects of the resulting negative publicity or poor first impression. Staff training is an important part of the implementation of new technologies, equipment, or procedures. Training should be provided for the staff who will be using the equipment on a day- to-day basis (e.g., cashiers), as well as the supervisory and maintenance staff. Prior to "opening day," it is recommended that airport operators make customers aware of the new procedures or services by conducting a public relations or outreach program/market- ing effort/educational campaign. It is helpful to alert customers to the new procedures (e.g., enter or exit via new paths, use new equipment, or pay in a different manner) before they arrive at the airport. Conduct Follow-On Review and Evaluation It is recommended that airport staff gather data before and after implementing a new parking strategy, and continue to monitor the data described in Chapter 3. Analyzing the trends in these data can enable the airport operator to determine if the new strategy is achieving the expected benefits, and if its costs are in line with those projected. Conducting before-and-after analyses also can be very useful. One of the challenges encoun- tered during the conduct of this research was the lack of such data, and thus the inability of
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Key Implementation Steps 149 airport staff to quantify the benefits resulting from implementation of a new strategy. For example, airport staff can readily compare year-to-year monthly revenues, but it is difficult to determine what proportion of any change is the result of a new strategy. Similarly, changes in customer service or operating expenses may not be documented, or not documented well enough to allow others to determine what proportion of any resulting benefits are the result of a new strategy. In summary, these steps can facilitate the implementation of the strategies presented in pre- vious chapters, and then evaluated with a preferred strategy selected considering the suggested metric presented in this guidebook.