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146 This chapter presents the steps required to implement the selected strategies and suggested follow-on actions. It is assumed at this point that a preferred strategy, supporting technology, andâpotentiallyâa complementary strategy have already been selected using the process described in Chapter 6. Implementation of a parking strategy generally includes the following steps: â¢ Obtain management approval to proceed, â¢ Develop an implementation plan, â¢ Implement the strategy, and â¢ Conduct follow-on review and evaluation. These steps are described in the following sections. Obtain Management Approval to Proceed The first step is to obtain approval from airport management and/or the airport commission or board, if required. Typically, low-cost/low-risk strategies may be approved by airport staff, while higher cost/higher risk strategies require the approval of senior management or the airport board. These approvals may be preceded by a series of actions to obtain the prior approval of management or to âpre-sellâ the concept to management and to identify anticipated questions or concerns. It is also helpful to assure that other airport departments or divisions that may be affected by imple- mentation of the strategy (either during implementation or ongoing operations) support imple- mentation of the strategy. The information needed to provide a compelling argument for implementation of a strategy will vary depending on the selected strategy, managementâs familiarity with the strategy, and the level of information available. The required information typically includes some of the following: â¢ Use by customers and/or the airport parking operatorâThe description should explain to decision makers how the strategy will be used by customers and/or the airport parking operator. â¢ Purpose of the strategyâA description of how implementation will help improve customer service, enhance net parking revenues, improve operational efficiency, reduce operating costs, or achieve other objectives. â¢ Estimated benefits and costsâA key consideration is the estimated costs of implementa- tion, including the capital costs and ongoing operating and maintenance costs. Often the capital and O&M costs are easier to estimate than the value of the resulting benefits (other than changes in gross revenues). For example, it is more difficult to estimate the value of cus- C H A P T E R 7 Key Implementation Steps
tomer time savings, improved customer service, vehicle emission reductions, or certain oper- ating costs. â¢ Estimated implementation scheduleâIt is helpful for management to understand the length of time required to implement the strategy (including obtaining senior management approval) and when the expected benefits may begin to accrue. â¢ Potential risksâSome of the strategies carry greater risk than others in terms of customer acceptance, revenue loss, or disruption to passenger service or airport operations. It is impor- tant for management to be aware of these risks. â¢ Supporting informationâOther information may be useful to management, including the airport or non-airport locations where the strategy has been used. The strategy descriptions provided in Chapter 4 include much of the above information and can be used as a starting point for these presentations to management. Estimates of costs can be developed using the material included in Appendix A, with adjustments made to reflect the local region and airport configuration. Develop an Implementation Plan The actual implementation plan will vary significantly depending on the type of the strategy selected. Implementation may include (1) construction or procurement of equipment, including hardware and software (e.g., revenue control or space guidance systems), (2) award of new busi- ness agreements (e.g., contracts with parking operators, Internet-based reservations, vehicle wash- ing and servicing), or (3) establishment of new airport policies or programs (e.g., coupons, branding, or reserved parking). Each of these strategies may require different implementation actions. â¢ Construction or procurement of equipmentâConstruction of new facilities and procure- ment of equipment can be accomplished using a competitive selection process (e.g., bids or proposals), sole-source award (e.g., purchasing equipment from an approved vendor), design/build, or other processes. Competitive selections typically involve preparing (1) prelim- inary plans, (2) detailed plans, (3) detailed design specifications and cost estimates, (4) requests for bids or proposals, plus issuance, (5) contract award, (6) testing, inspection, and acceptance, (7) staff training, and (8) pubic relations and marketing. â¢ Award of new business agreementsâAward of new business agreements requires preparing and issuing requests for bids or proposals, and then subsequent award of contract and moni- toring for contract compliance. â¢ Establishment of new airport policies or programsâThe procedures for implementing new policies vary among airports and may vary further based on the seniority of the individuals responsible for recommending implementation of the strategy. At a minimum, it is useful to have a formal or informal understanding of the actions required to implement the strategy, the person(s) responsible for each of these actions or tasks, the expected duration of these tasks, and an approved budget for implementation. During the interviews with airport operators conducted as part of this research, the need for internal coordination was repeatedly identified as a key aspect of the successful implementa- tion of a parking strategy. Airport staff discussed the need to form an implementation team that included representatives from each of the affected entities (e.g., parking operations, IT, audit/accounting, public relations/marketing, and engineering/facilities maintenance) and that met on a regular basis throughout the planning and implementation of the strategy. These meetings were conducted to assure that all parties understood how the strategy would affect their organization, to identify and resolve potential concerns, and to resolve unanticipated problems that always occur during implementation of a new program or technology. Airport Key Implementation Steps 147
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 âownerâ or âcustomerâ for the strategy. As the owner, these staff accept responsibility for arbitrating conflicting recommendations, avoiding scope and budget âcreepâ 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 âownâ 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 âbells and whistles,â 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 âopening day,â 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 148 Guidebook for Evaluating Airport Parking Strategies and Supporting Technologies
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. Key Implementation Steps 149