Charles Billows II and the City of Chicago win IPMI innovation award 

The Professional Excellence Award for Innovation was conferred upon Deputy Director Charles Billows II and the City of Chicago Department of Finance by the International Parking & Mobility Institute (IPMI) during the June 2024 Parking and Mobility Conference and Expo in Columbus, Ohio. 

Billows received recognition for his endeavors aimed at enhancing curbside equity, leading the City’s pioneering initiatives to promote fair citation issuance and dismantle systemic barriers like parking ticket debt hindering progress in working-class communities. Collaborating with Trellint and its team of data scientists, Billows implemented several strategies to foster fairness: 

  • Initially, the team revamped the City’s enforcement zones and their prioritization, enabling Billows and his team of parking enforcement officers to concentrate on infractions most likely to pose hazards and worsen congestion. This initiative also aimed at reducing fines and fees burdens on marginalized motorists. Consequently, the percentage of citations issued in disadvantaged neighborhoods decreased from 17.2% in 2021 to 15.9% in 2023, while the share of tickets in majority black, indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC) communities declined from 14.9% to 12.9%. 
  • Chicago utilized Trellint’s citation issuance software to enhance awareness of payment plans and forgiveness programs. Whenever an eligible motorist received a ticket, the handheld device automatically generated an additional form outlining relevant assistance programs and participation prerequisites. This approach also notified ticketed motorists of their boot eligibility, informing them to either promptly pay or enroll in a payment plan. Nearly 47% of motorists complied immediately after receiving such a notification.
  • The City also reimagined scofflaw enforcement. Despite vehicles registered outside Chicago receiving nearly twice as many parking tickets as their Chicago-resident counterparts, marginalized communities bore a disproportionate brunt of booting. Through rethinking enforcement zones and reallocating personnel, Chicago enhanced productivity while minimizing the impact on disadvantaged communities. The percentage of vehicles booted in disadvantaged neighborhoods decreased from 24% in 2021 to 17.1% in 2023, and in majority BIPOC communities, booting declined from 34.3% to 26.9%. In affluent neighborhoods frequented by non-resident drivers, however, the percentage of booting increased from 12.8% to 21.9%.  

“Charles’ dedication to improving curbside management and promoting equity within the City of Chicago is truly commendable,” City of Chicago Comptroller Chasse Rehwinkel said. “These innovative solutions benefit our communities, enhance fairness, and reflect the spirit of collaboration and progress that defines our city.” 

To mitigate potential bias, Chicago’s strategy incorporated a diverse array of data beyond historical citation issuance. The team incorporated new data sources into its issuance strategy, including road miles, meter usage, bike collisions, 911 and 311 complaints, and curb regulations. 

Chicago’s achievements were grounded in a broader, multi-year agenda aimed at rethinking parking enforcement in the city. This agenda included capping storage fees for impounded vehicles, expanding payment plan options, and discontinuing the practice of doubling certain fines. 

To address systemic inequity in parking enforcement, the team needed to challenge assumptions, exercise patience, and leverage extensive data. Jim Vaca, General Manager of Trellint, concurred. “Too often, disadvantaged motorists are overlooked in policy discussions regarding the curb. Analyzing data provided the insights needed to view parking through a social equity lens and achieve Chicago’s vision of more inclusive curbside management.” 

About IPMI and the Parking and Mobility Conference 

IPMI is the world’s largest association of professionals in parking, transportation, and mobility, and the IPMI Parking and Mobility Conference brings together professionals representing every level of experience and segment of the parking, transportation, and mobility industry. This annual event advances the parking industry by providing networking, education, and industry recognition, along with the largest display of parking and mobility technologies. 

About Trellint 

Trellint delivers comprehensive parking and curbside management solutions that make the curb easy to use and accessible to all. Our vision is to enhance the value of every curb. To accomplish this, we are leading the transformation of the industry with intelligent curbside management solutions that promote equitable access to the curb, conquer congestion, and improve safety. 

We are also proud to be part of Modaxo – a global collective of technology companies focused on moving the world’s people. We share Modaxo’s philosophy of moving people in all forms and getting people to the places they need to go and want to be, safely.