The Business of Public-Private Partnerships in Miami
Blog post by Art Noriega, Chief Executive Officer, Miami Parking Authority
Today, I had the pleasure of joining a group distinguished panelists during the Invest: Miami 2018 conference held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown. Our panel was tasked with distilling the uses of Public-Private Partnerships in Miami.
In my view, the marriage between the private and the public sector requires a complete understanding of the role of each. In the public sector, governments are notorious for being risk averse. Their approach is largely conservative and colored by the limited level of risk they are willing to take. It mostly boils down to need. Most governments are asset rich, yet resource poor. The majority of public assets are under-valued and under-purposed. Thus, the importance of having a clear vision of the needs of each entity as well as and iron-clad strategic plan of action.
The success of these public-partnerships is predicated on the ability of both sides to be nimble, flexible, adaptable and ready to embrace new trends.
The parking business as we know it today is unrecognizable. This is a business that has rapidly become technology-based and driven by data and analytics. That is one of the reasons why we, at Miami Parking Authority, have launched an on-street sensor pilot project in Coconut Grove, in an effort to have a clearer vision of consumer preferences, attitudes and behavior that will eventually help us implement an accurate variable pricing structure and glean the best use of the public right-of-way with the ultimate goal of alleviating traffic congestion. The implementation of the pilot program comes at no cost to MPA. Therefore, the return on investment is safe, as we are not paying up front costs until we are able to determine if the project will yield the analytics that we require.
Parking as a Catalyst for Economic Development
In light of the metamorphosis that the parking industry is rapidly undergoing, the MPA is positioning itself to become an engine for economic development in the city of Miami. The use of the public right-of-way will change to the point that it may not exist in years to come. That public space will no longer sit static, with the advent of autonomous vehicles and ride-sharing options available in the marketplace. The multiple modes of transportation that are being embraced by both millennials and Generation Xers alike and shifts in urban demographics will also make a dent in the parking business. With that in mind, some of the existing facilities may need to be repurposed to give way to a wide array of more appropriate uses synchronized with economic development needs and goals.
MPA’s Role as Innovators
Not too long ago, we were in a position to “poach” ideas from other parking organizations in order to keep up with the latest trends in the market. Today, this role has been reversed by the fact that MPA has become a leader in the adoption of parking technology. So much so, that the Authority has become the number one parking entity globally relative to the volume of PayByPhone transactions, placing MPA in a leadership position within the industry. To be ahead of the curve, we examine the European models in terms of sensor technology, GPS, ways to monitor the public right-of-way, analytics and connectivity between the vehicle and parking payment modalities. That helps us view our business from a futuristic prism, allowing us to implement new technology and best practices ahead of other markets.
With that said, technology is shaking every single industry to its core and both public and private organizations must be prepared to anticipate, morph, adapt and embrace new trends, if they are to survive and thrive.