By June Broughton
Published: October 2007
The annual online permit registration process is winding down for another year at
Texas A&M and this has been another record –breaking year.
Over 36,000 parking permits have been automatically processed by Transportation
Services and fulfilled by Weldon Williams and Lick (WW&L) within a 2 week period.
With over 97% of the faculty and staff and 99% of the students renewing online this
year, Transportation Services is celebrating a highly successful annual online registration.
To truly appreciate this new process and the high goals obtained, one must look
back only 4 years:
In 2003, permits were distributed by hand at Reed Arena for 7 days, prior to the
first day of class. This process required over 30 employees per day working 8 hour
shifts. There was also a heavy call volume at the Customer Assistance Center regarding
permit purchases. To add to the demand on personnel, the line at the Customer Assistance
Center was hours long, for those who had not yet purchased a permit.
Moving processes online and the change to lot-specific permits has greatly reduced
the cost of permit registration, both in labor and facilities.
In order to meet these high goals, several units came together with a master plan
for technology needed, the customer assistance that may be required, and the communication
tools which would be required for success.
Associate Director Peter Lange oversees the web registration process which combines
PowerPark Oracle data and our own SQL Server based data warehouse with an in-house
built web front end to register over 36000 permit holders. "Registration traffic
peaks at 20 logins a minute during opening week” comments Lange. Registration
remains open for approximately 14 weeks and permits are assigned on a priority system,
after the close of registration.
Communication efforts included email messages, website, radio, print ads, and bus
banners. A-frame signs posted in lots throughout the campus and parking garage entrances
also played a communication role. Postcards were mailed to faculty, staff and retirees
as an added reminder. "Our communication efforts are comprehensive and structured
to alert various target groups in the most efficient way possible. Our goal is to
effectively reach all of our customer groups”, comments Transportation Services
Director, Rod Weis.
Now into our 4th year of online permit registration, marketing efforts/dollars can
decrease as this has become a new "tradition" among Aggie students, faculty
While each year we will need to communicate it’s time for permit registration,
we will not have the initial expenditures.
Customer Assistance, under the management of Debbie Hoffmann, has also experienced
a great reduction in call volume as a result of online registration.
"Online registration has transformed the climate in our office during August.
We have moved from frantically fulfilling tens of thousands of permit requests by
way of hundreds of hours of overtime plus temporary staff who are unfamiliar with
the process to 4 months of online registration where our involvement simply includes
answering questions as they arise or assisting customers who are unable to submit
the request themselves. Our customers are provided more time to complete the process,
offered more options for parking, can submit multiple parking areas in a prioritized
order, and receive greater service than ever before”, says Hoffmann.