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University of Minnesota Bike Center Wins Award of Excellence from International Parking Institute

June 12, 2012

The University of Minnesota was recognized today with an Award of Excellence from the International Parking Institute (IPI). The Award of Excellence is the highest recognition offered in this annual competition with seven categories.

“It’s an honor to be recognized for the innovative and forward-thinking projects born at the U,” remarked Parking and Transportation Services Executive Director Bob Baker. “This global recognition means a great deal to a dedicated group of my staff who strongly believed in the power of alternative transportation and are dedicated to changing commuting patterns in the Twin Cities.”

The University Bike Center is located in a former bus-waiting area of the University’s Oak Street Parking Ramp on the East Bank campus. It gathers in one place those things that make bike commuting practical: professional and do-it-yourself repair stations; retail accessory store; card-accessed 24-hour bike parking; restrooms/showers, clothing lockers; electronic trip-planning kiosk to facilitate transit/cycling connections; gathering space for outreach/classes; and an RFID (radio-frequency identification) commuter validation benefits center.

As a first-in-the-nation program of this magnitude, the university’s RFID program has the opportunity to break new ground in the promotion and encouragement of bicycle commuting. The program consists of small tags affixed to registered users’ bicycles. RFID receivers installed at strategic locations around campus read and wirelessly transmit the tag information to a server accessible to users and the institution. This system solves the longstanding problem of bicycle commute trip validation and enables employers to offer incentives to bicyclists.

One of the major barriers to increased bicycle commuting is the disparity between the world of automobile infrastructure and that of the bicycle. “An unsurprising result is that people don’t see themselves as bicycle commuters, despite the well-understood health and environmental benefits,” explains Baker.

The University of Minnesota–with 51,000 students, 16,000 staff/faculty, and 15,000 daily visitors¬–has the potential to change this. “This program can serve as a blueprint for campuses around the nation,” said Baker.

The International Parking Institute (IPI) is a trade organization that was founded in 1962 to represent the marketing, economic and political concerns of its members, made up of parking professionals worldwide. IPI provides leadership, information and education to a diverse membership from major municipal authorities, airports, hospitals and universities to industry suppliers and consultants and commercial operators.

To acknowledge the contributions of individuals to the industry, IPI conducts an annual Professional Recognition Program. This year’s Awards of Excellence presentation took place on Monday, June 11, 2012 in the Phoenix Convention Center at the IPI Conference & Expo in Phoenix, Arizona.

The U of M won in Category IV–Innovation in a Parking Operation/Program.

The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus is the third largest traffic generator in Minnesota and sees more than 7,000 bicyclists on campus daily. University of Minnesota Parking and Transportation Services is committed to establishing, maintaining and improving a comprehensive transportation system that reduces congestion, eases accessibility and enhances a friendly university community.

Twin Cities Campus: