Archived Blog - June 22, 2018

Measuring for Success

June 22, 2018

 “What gets measured gets done,” a quote often attributed to management expert Peter Drucker, is an adage the Parking Authority firmly believes and follows.  We set high standards for ourselves and the programs we manage for the City, and we then measure our work against those metrics.

It’s Not All About Money

Unfortunately, some think our only metric is making money. Although we do collect a lot of revenue on behalf of the City, and that revenue has grown significantly over time, for most of our programs, our goals are not financial in nature. Our goals correspond with our mission, which is to find, or create, and implement parking solutions for Baltimore City. Our mission is not to simply and blindly earn the City of Baltimore as much money as possible.

Our Metrics Match Program Goals

The metric we track for each division corresponds with the goal of that program and is not simply the result or output that is easiest to measure. In some cases, we had to develop a tool to be able to measure what mattered most. In others, we were already tracking what was critical for a program’s success.

Which Metrics Do We Use?

We use the following metrics to measure our success. We evaluate ourselves monthly and report our findings to the PABC Board of Directors. It’s a helpful tool to maintain excellence, especially as we set our sights higher, adding new technology to accomplish our mission.


Department, Division or Section



Off-Street Parking

Net Operating Income (Revenues minus operating expenses)

1.5% above previous fiscal year-to-date

Residential Permit Parking

Customer Satisfaction

Average Satisfaction Rate of 1.0 or higher (0=Not Satisfied, 1=Satisfied, 

2=Extremely Satisfied)

Parking Meters

Percent of Demand-Based Parking Meter Rate blocks that are within target occupancy range (75-85% occupancy)


Parking Meters

Parking meter uptime (the percent of time meters are working properly)


Residential Reserved Disabled Parking

Percent of completed applications reviewed and responded to within 30 days


Valet Regulations

Number of complaints about valet operators/operations

10 or fewer per month


Percent of tasks and projects closed/completed on time



Team turnover rate

10% or less


Overtime hours as a percent of total hours worked

0.5% or less


Percent of invoices paid within 30 days of receipt



Operating at or below budget


Why each metric matters:

Off-Street Parking

Metric - Net Operating Income 

Garages and Lots Must Maximize Financial Return

Baltimore City and its residents have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the development of parking garages and lots.  It is important that residents realize the fullest possible financial return on those investments

Residential Permit Parking (RPP)

Metric - Customer Satisfaction

We Want Satisfied Customers

PABC distributes over 30,000 residential parking permits annually.  But, we do not enforce RPP restrictions– that is done by the Baltimore City Department of Transportation.  So, the most important metric for the RPP program is the satisfaction of RPP residents in our distribution of those permits (Are we professional, courteous, and efficient?).

Parking Meters

Metric - Percent of Demand-Based Parking Meter Rate Blocks within the target occupancy range 

Parking Meters Create Available Parking

The purpose of parking meters is to create availability of parking in commercial areas that need it.  The target occupancy range is 75-85% (on average, there should be one or two spaces available on each block). 

We Want One or Two Available Parking Spaces Per Block

We introduced Demand-Based Parking Meter Rate Setting Downtown in the summer of 2017.  Only 16% of the blocks Downtown were in the target occupancy range before we started.  On blocks where the occupancy is too low (i.e. where too few cars are parked), we lower the rate by 25¢ to encourage more people to park there.  On blocks where the occupancy is too high (i.e. where too few spaces are regularly available), we increase the rate by 25¢ to encourage people to park where it is less expensive (either on a nearby block with a cheaper rate, or in an off-street parking garage or lot). 

Adjustments Are Making a Difference

So far, we have adjusted Downtown parking meter rates twice (we collect data and make adjustments every six months), and the percent of blocks with occupancy in the target range has risen to 21%.  Our goal is for 75% of the blocks to be within the target occupancy range, so we still have work to do.

Metric - Parking Meter Uptime 

Meters Need to Be Working

The parking meters need to be operating in order to do their job (of creating available parking spaces) and to not frustrate parkers.  Our goal is for parking meters to be operating and in good working condition throughout the entire City nearly 100% of the time (98% is the goal).

Residential Reserved Disabled Parking

Metric - Percent of Completed Applications reviewed and responded to within 30 days 

Stringent Qualifications Exist for the Service

The eligibility requirements for this service are set in City Code, are stringent, and are rather lengthy.  An applicant must prove they have a mobility-restricting disability, that they have no accessible off-street parking at their residence, and that there are no accessible transit options available near their home.  It takes significant time and effort by PABC team members to review each application, and we receive over 150 new applications annually for this service. 

Applications Must Be Processed Quickly

Before PABC took over the administration of this service, applicants would often have to wait for a year or more before receiving a response.  We recognized that, if a resident qualifies for this service, they need the accommodation as soon as reasonably possible.  That is why we established 30 days as our goal for reviewing completed applications for the service and, except for periods when we receive an inordinate number of applications, we have met and expect to continue to meet that goal.

Valet Regulations

Metric - Number of complaints about valet operators/operations 

Before Regulation, Our Phone Rang Off the Hook

Before regulation of valet services was set in City Code, the City had no control over valet operators.  Because there were no controls, valet operators did as they pleased, and we received hundreds of complaints a year about valet operations.  Valets parked cars in front of residences and other businesses, and not in off-street garages or lots.  When valet operators damaged customers’ vehicles, we found that they were uninsured or under-insured and the parkers had little recourse to get their vehicles repaired.  Valet operations were insufficiently staffed, causing cars to clog the streets in front of those venues, backing up traffic, and causing significant safety concerns.

After Regulation, Complaints Dropped Dramatically

 With regulation of valet, those abuses have been controlled.  And our best measure of the success of the program is the number of complaints about valet operators and operations, which have dropped dramatically and have remained extremely low.


Metric - Percent of tasks and projects closed/completed on time 

Planning Involves Many Varied Tasks

PABC’s Planning Division has tasks that vary in complexity - from as simple as marking in new spots for parking meters, to more complicated tasks such as investigating requests for truck loading zones and passenger loading zones, to very complex projects like conducting parking studies for entire neighborhoods. 

Each Task Must Be Completed Within Established Timeframe

We have established reasonable timeframes for the completion of these tasks and projects.  The measure for Planning is the percentage of those tasks and projects that are completed within those timeframes.


Metric - Team turnover rate 

We Want to Retain Good Team Members

To accomplish our mission, we need to attract and retain good, highly qualified team members.  High staff turnover rates lead to lost time and resources in attracting, hiring, and training new team members to get the job done.  If our turnover rate is too high, we must look at what we are doing - compensation, benefits, work environment, workload, etc. – and ask ourselves why an excessive number of team members are leaving and take action to counter-act the problem.  

Turnover Rate Must Be Low

Recognizing that there will always be some team members who retire, pursue other careers outside parking, or be offered advancement opportunities elsewhere that are not available at PABC at the time, our turnover goal is 10% or less annually.

Metric - Overtime hours as a percent of total hours worked

Overtime Must Be Low

PABC team members work hard.  But, we don’t want team members to regularly work beyond 40 hours per week.  We don’t want team members to “burn out” and leave the team due to that stress.  If there is regularly more work to do than can be done by team members working regular hours, that’s an indication to us that we need to hire more team members.  Typically, overtime pay is not an efficient use of financial resources.  So, we have established an aggressively low goal for overtime hours as a percent of total hours worked by the team.

Metric - Percent of invoices paid within 30 days of receipt

Vendors Must Be Paid Quickly

Promptly paying firms that supply you with goods and services is the right thing to do (just like you expect to get your paycheck on time), but paying vendors promptly also benefits the City in other ways.  The best vendors will continue to work with you if they are paid within a reasonable period.  Also, you tend to get better pricing on goods and services if you pay for them quickly.

Metric Operating at or below budget 

We Must Be Good Stewards of Taxpayer Dollars

It’s important to operate within the financial resources provided.  We need to be good stewards of the funds provided to us for the programs we administer.  PABC is proud of the fact that we have operated within budget for 13 straight years.

Pete Little, Executive Director, PABC

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