I, like you, have spent a disproportionate percentage of my life on college campuses. Through my work, I have spent time on literally hundreds of campuses around the country and even abroad. Each campus is unique, each has its own personality, each has things that make it special and set it apart from the crowd. But one thing remains constant across virtually every campus I have visited … parking is a pain.
Enrollments have grown, more students bring a car to school, and more commuter students attend our universities. Parking expansion has not kept pace with this growth, and, in some ways, we should be grateful that it has not. Parking lots and gargages are not exactly attractive, they take up already scarce campus property, and they are costly to build and maintain. Nonetheless, I curse their scarcity as I hunt for a “legal” space when visiting a campus.
In this issue, a look at the use of campus cards in the battle to control parking shortages is presented. Great strides have been made to control access to parking facilities and use parking payments as a means to limit the number of people fighting for space, recoup costs for facilities, and generate revenue.
Somewhere along the line, parking became viewed as a student entitlement. It became viewed as a core mission of an educational institution. It became a recruitment tool. More and more campuses, it seems, have turned to construction before exhausting the gains to be had via alternatives solutions. Mass transit, urban planning techniques, and innovative technology can all play a part. And our card systems fit squarely into this equation.