What If?

The International Parking Institute

By Ron Steedly, CAPP

Published: February, 2017

As you read through this issue of The Parking Professional, you may have done a double take and closed it to be sure you were not actually reading a new parking journal called The Parking Progressional. All this progressive thinking surrounding transportation modes and infrastructure sure does spark a lot of “what if”s regarding the effects of what we are doing today and what we need to do to plan for tomorrow.

We have all at some time or another been exposed to things that, at the time, were concept or futuristic and seemed really cool, but we thought they would never happen. The fact is some of them eventually did happen. And it seems with the exponential capabilities of technology, the eventually happening has a better chance of actually happening—and more quickly than we thought, for that matter. We need to embrace this concept, adapt, and work on becoming change agents for our organizations and industry, guiding the change rather than reacting to it.


A lot of this progressive thinking is culturally based and resource driven. Decisions in the past created the culture we experience today regarding the transportation system. The resources are people, planet, and profit (the three Ps of sustainability, commonly referred to as the triple bottom line). So why all this progressive thinking today? Well, the answer is simple: We need to create a culture change that facilitates wise stewardship of our resources. Where do we fit in? Your personal answer can be found somewhere in the Rogers Adoption Curve. It essentially describes how new innovations/ideas are accepted/adopted by groups and cultures. As new ideas are introduced into society, they are accepted through five stages of adopters:

  • Innovators.
  • Early adopters.
  • Early majority.
  • Late majority.
  • Laggards.

The stages work from left to right. As we move across the x-axis from innovators to laggards, the acceptance of the innovation/idea works its way to being 100 percent. People do not need to be at the same stage every time.

The Stages

Innovators (2.5 percent). Innovators seem obsessed with new innovations or ideas and are willing to invest time and money regardless of the possibility of failure. Early adopters (13.5 percent). Early adopters jump on the innovation/idea early on in the lifecycle and give it initial traction. They typically have influence and push the innovation/idea to the next stage.

Early majority (34 percent). Early majority adopters like to collect more information about an innovation/idea, evaluate the pros and cons, and listen to the early adopters and group consensus before making a decision.

Late majority (34 percent). Late majority adopters are the skeptics. They typically adopt the new innovation/ idea after and because their friends all have and they feel the need to conform. Word of mouth is typically more influential than mass media.

Laggards (16 percent). Laggards are the ones who finally adopt something when there is no other choice. They are the ones who are stuck in their ways.

It is important not to forget all of these stages are present in all of us. I am sure more than one of you reading this has participated in someone’s innovative crowdfunding campaigns but still has a flip phone or tube television.

I will suggest when looking at innovation/ideas moving the transportation industry forward that we do our best to get our heads and hearts behind the initiatives no later than the beginning of the early majority stage. In my opinion, not doing so will put you into a reactionary position from which you may not recover.

Together we can support each other in smart parking planning and take action to lead the way in shaping transportation for the people, planet, and profit.

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