Melina Morokhovich, Regional Sales Manager – Permits and Enforcement
The parking, mobility and transportation industry is always adapting to the ever-changing environment, but who knew what was headed our way in 2020? The impact of COVID-19 on the parking industry has been widespread and devastating: empty offices, hotels, stadiums and entertainment venues; lost revenue; reduced staff; and drop off and pick up congestion; just to name a few. As organizations come out of the pandemic and leave 2020 behind, they will be looking for ways to maximize revenue and increase operational efficiency. One way to do so is by upgrading and improving parking enforcement.
Organizations can adapt to budget cuts and reduced staffing by increasing automation wherever possible.
Automated Citation Issuance
Do you currently issue handwritten tickets? Automated citation issuance – whether using an app-based solution paired with a Bluetooth printer or an all-in-one handheld ticket writer with built-in printer – provides huge time and cost savings. Citations take seconds to issue and manual data entry is completely eliminated.
Integrated Parking Systems
Do you currently have a handheld ticket writer of some sort but still have to upload citations at the end of each shift? Or is there a delay between when citations are issued and when they upload to your parking management system? Can your enforcement staff see on their handheld whether a vehicle has paid for a permit, bought a ticket at a pay station, or paid for their parking through a mobile payment solution?
True real-time integration between your handheld ticket writers, online customer-facing portal, backend parking management software, pay stations, and mobile payment options can save you valuable time and improve customer service. Seamless communication between systems allows your parkers to view, pay, and/or appeal their citations online the second they are issued, and enables your parking office to answer questions about that citation if the parker calls the office the second they are issued. Integrations you can count on to work in real-time without delay reduce appeals and voided citations, dramatically improving customer service and operational efficiency.
Future-proofing your enforcement technology so that it is scalable and can accommodate growth and progression can save you money and prevent you from having to reinvent the wheel every time something changes within your organization. Taking advantage of new and improved technological advancements in enforcement can also improve operational efficiency.
Digital Tire Chalking
Are you chalking tires manually? Handheld mobile enforcement devices provide the ability to digitally chalk tires without physically marking them, avoiding any violation of people’s constitutional rights against unwarranted searches and seizures (according to the US Court of Appeals ruling in 2019). In addition, electronically chalking a vehicle by tracking tire valve locations eliminates the inefficiencies of physical chalk marks, such as washing away in the rain and snow or parkers helping that process along themselves.
License Plate Recognition
Dealing with reduced enforcement staff? Have a large area to cover? The efficiencies of license plate recognition are undisputed and well-known. LPR technology uses cameras to capture images of license plates, translates the image into text data, and then compares that with all modes of parking payment (such as pay stations, mobile payment solutions, and permit sales) to determine whether that vehicle has parking privileges for that space.
Using handheld ALPR technology is a cost-effective way to increase the speed and efficiency of your enforcement staff without large capital expenditure. Whether you have one officer in the field or many, handheld ALPR puts full, car-mounted LPR technology in the palm of their hands. Officers don’t even have to stop to take a photo or type in the license plate number. By simply pointing the camera at the vehicle while walking by, handheld ALPR will capture the plate number and alert the officer if the vehicle is in violation.
Vehicle-mounted mobile LPR technology uses cameras that are strategically mounted on an enforcement vehicle to capture images of license plates on each parked vehicle it passes, without needing to stop or even slow down. Each time the system identifies a vehicle that has not paid for parking through any of the available means, it will generate a violation “hit”, which will then be disseminated to the handheld devices of your enforcement officers so that they may follow along to issue the necessary citations. This enables your LPR vehicle to continue to move through your parking inventory and capture parking infractions, rather than stopping to issue citations.
Further efficiencies in enforcement can be realized with fixed LPR technology. Using fixed LPR cameras at the entrances and exits of a parking facility, the system captures vehicle identification as parkers enter and exit, tracking real-time occupancy and identifying potential enforcement actions. Fixed LPR allows you to direct your enforcement staff to areas of greatest concern, allowing you to prioritize your efforts and maximize effectiveness.
Whether the goal of your enforcement program is to financially support your parking operation or to ensure compliance of parking regulations, making a citation as easy to pay as possible can help you achieve those goals. Even when managing that delicate balance between enforcement and compliance, an increase in efficiency can improve your bottom line – with or without increased issuance of citations – helping fast-track your path to recovery from the past year.
Offering a customer-friendly and easy-to-use online e-commerce portal for your parkers to pay for their citations online is a great way to encourage payment. When your parkers can pay right away, you improve citation revenue and customer service, making getting a ticket a “non-event”. Allow your parkers to review photo evidence, as well as all ticket data recorded at the time of issuance and make a payment safely and securely.
Use your parking management software to its fullest by sending out reminder letters to your parkers that they have unpaid citations. Schedule those reminder letters to be generated overnight so that they are ready to be printed in the morning. A proven plan of letters and emails can greatly increase your citation payment rates.
Employing a full-service, certified collection agency that specializes in collecting parking debt allows your operation to increase revenue and focus on other areas of your operation. By deploying a trusted and reliable service that protects the relationship between you and your parker while providing above industry standard collection rates, you can rest easy knowing your unpaid citations are being taken care of.
This past year has been difficult for all of us, both personally and professionally. There have been painful moments and struggles, but also a lot of lessons learned. By taking steps to increase automation, improve technology, and encourage payment, we can all move towards a healthier year.
Interested in implementing any of the solutions or capabilities recommended in this post? T2 can help with all of them. From our robust Mobile Enforcement App to easy online payments to our in-house Citation Services department, T2 offers parking operations one centralized system to manage not only their enforcement, but their entire operation. For more information, contact us today.
Melina joined T2 Systems in 2016 as an Account Manager, Inside Sales Representative for T2 Pay Stations. In her current role as Regional Sales Manager – Permits & Enforcement, she works to understand the parking technology needs of prospective customers and what solutions from T2 can help meet those needs, both today and in the future. She is a parking enthusiast, bringing many years of sales and account management experience to the role.
Header photo by Monica Bourgeau on Unsplash