By: Victor Hill, CAPP, Account Manager
Photo courtesy of Genetec and University of British Columbia
Today’s parking landscape is characterized by a plethora of parking technologies and models. This diversity can be attributed to two fundamental factors: consumers looking for ways to make payment faster and more convenient so they can move on to their destination quickly, and parking operators trying to leverage technology to drive growth in their top line and extract further efficiencies to improve their bottom line. Each successive generation of parking technology has attempted to improve the parking experience for these two groups.
License plate recognition (LPR) is not just the next mainstay in the evolution of parking operations – it is arguably the single largest productivity enhancement for parking operators in the last 20 years. LPR brings a staggering level of efficiency to an operation, provided you plan for it and deploy it properly. Below are four ways that you can implement LPR into your parking operation.
Parking operations that use license plates as credentials can often see a dramatic increase in efficiencies. Printed permits essentially become obsolete, and complex permit rights can be programmed in the software and safety tucked away so that seemingly complex rules are all located in the cloud. Customers only need to know where they’re allowed to park and how many vehicles they can have present at one time. Frontline staff and officers only need to know how the software works to determine if someone is authorized to park or has a permit for a specific location. Proper programming means the system tells the team whether the vehicle is in compliance.
Permitting can be as simple or complicated as required relative to the parking options provided. Mobile operations can help make staffing more efficient with one or two person operations, in several instances, allowing for a more streamlined approach that limits personnel costs and maximizes revenue potential.
Mobile LPR Enforcement
LPR is an easy, efficient way to ensure optimized parking enforcement. Mobile LPR solutions consist of an enforcement vehicle outfitted with LPR cameras, a software system, and a handheld device or smartphone app. As the enforcement vehicle drives up and down the street, the LPR cameras scan license plates, and the software cross-references the plate readings with paid time and any time limits. Whenever the software comes across a vehicle that has not paid for parking or has overstayed its time, it will prompt staff to issue a citation via their handheld device or smartphone.
Mobile LPR increases efficiency up to 20-fold, as officers no longer have to walk their streets or lots by foot and manually check tickets and permits. Additionally, it eliminates the hassle associated with paper ticket books, and the information is available in real time, minimizing the possibility for incorrectly issued citations.
Fixed LPR solutions can provide enhanced access and revenue control while improving the overall customer experience for your parking patrons. In a garage or covered facility with fixed LPR, cameras capture a vehicle’s license plate as it enters the facility and tie the plate to a transaction or time stamp. Upon exiting, cameras again capture the vehicle’s plate and either let the vehicle out if they are a permitted parker, or send the proper fee down to the lane. This solution can easily be incorporated into enforcement as an initial check for later follow up by officers.
Fixed LPR can easily serve as a standalone solution, especially in facilities where monitoring occupancy comes into play, as all cars that come in and out are accounted for in real time. Additionally, fixed LPR solutions prevent revenue fraud by calculating parking fees based on the license plate, addressing both lost ticket and switched ticket scenarios. For operations with smaller staffs or personnel limitations, fixed LPR can help reduce expenses associated with extra personnel and printed permits.
A gateless garage is exactly what it sounds like – a garage (or lot) without gates. Gateless garages utilize fixed LPR at the entrances and exits to capture vehicle identification and pay-on-foot machines or pay stations for payments. Instead of paying in the lane upon exiting, patrons pay at a pay station – typically located at an entrance or near a stairwell – using their license plate number before returning to their car. Upon departure, the back-end system reconciles the payment information from the pay stations with the LPR data, and citations are issued for vehicles that did not pay or did not purchase enough time.
Gateless garages are a cost-effective alternative to using gates for a parking structure or surface lot where limiting access is not required. It provides similar levels of revenue control and facility security as gates do, while reducing delays at entries and exits, improving the parker experience, and reducing environmental impact.
T2 can help you implement any of these LPR solutions into your operation. We partner with industry-leading LPR equipment providers, and our unified parking management platform ensures that your data and technologies from T2 and third-party solutions work together seamlessly. Interested in utilizing T2’s decades of expertise to get the most out of this powerful technology? If you are already a T2 customer, you can reach out to your Account Manager for more information. If you’re not yet a part of the T2 Community, contact us here and get started.