Lancaster Parking Authority
The City of Lancaster is a historical city in central Pennsylvania surrounded by Amish country and is home to nearly 60,000 residents. A popular tourist destination with Old New England bucolic flavor, the City hosts a busy downtown that is rich in the arts and business.
The Lancaster Parking Authority (LPA) is an independent municipal unit that was established in 1966. LPA operates Lancaster’s parking garages, off-street parking lots, and approximately 1,200 on-street parking spaces.
“We pride ourselves as an organization for being proactive in looking ahead and sharing best practices within the industry. That’s in everything we do, day-to-day. T2 has shown us they’re a best-in-practice partner that has the experience and depth to pull off something very complicated to assist in our mission to bring a variety of complex systems together.”
Larry J. Cohen, CAPP
Executive Director, Lancaster Parking Authority
Larry J. Cohen, CAPP, and Executive Director of Lancaster Parking Authority, takes things in great stride. The steps he took in 2017 were especially big, when the City of Lancaster and its police handed over residential parking permit and parking enforcement responsibilities to LPA. The parking system was received in dire straits, and it needed to be repaired.
Lancaster used fragmented parking management software that was essentially ineffective. “We ran seven or eight different software programs throughout our operation—billing, on-street, off-street, kiosks, mobile pay, credit card, security systems, camera systems,” states Cohen. “We needed to make it more manageable and efficient for our staff, and provide a more user-friendly experience for our customers.”
The path became clear for Cohen: LPA needed an all-in-one, system-wide solution for enforcement and permit management that included a powerful backend office to manage all the real-time data and capabilities to support various integrations. It was only a matter of finding the right partner to step up with the right system.
“We understood we would basically have to face an open-heart transplant – ripping the guts out of our back-office operation, installing new PARCS, software, and retraining staff. For this once-in-every-15-to-20-year event, pre-planning for the future would have to be done right.”
—Larry J. Cohen
Skipping ahead, Cohen wanted to take the next steps towards modernizing the City and LPA. His vision was to empower Lancaster parkers with more autonomy to manage their own parking from start to finish, while decentralizing how the City traditionally did business. He also wanted to enhance revenue integrity and increase staff safety with a cashless system that was easy to use for both administrators and customers.
“We were hopeful for a solution that would be revenue-enhancing and support a cashless environment for us, anticipating the use of license plate recognition (LPR) technology with a modern PARCS system for all seven of our garages and a strong back-office software system like Flex,” Cohen said. “We understood we would basically have to face an open-heart transplant – ripping the guts out of our back-office operation, installing new PARCS, software, and retraining staff. For this once-in-every-15-to-20-year event, pre-planning for the future would have to be done right.”
Cohen was drawn to UPsafety as the vendor to help replace the Authority’s fragmented parking management system. The UPsafety PE Solution has the capacity for multiple, seamless integrations, with real-time and secure cloud-based data management for more informed decision-making and efficiency. With continual, customer-driven feature enhancements made throughout the year to enrich the functionality of the management portal, mobile enforcement platform, and patron portal, Cohen was certain he found the right solution for LPA. “It also didn’t take very long to be convinced that we’d be working with the right team.”
The power of the UPsafety PE Solution continues to check every box for LPA. “The depth and years of experience of its database management has allowed us to keep really strong records of customer histories – their violations, how they acted – and easily supports the functions of what we do, every day,” he said. “The UPsafety PE Solution does a really great job helping us manage our revenue, legal, and audit process. T2 solutions provide the technology and documentation to support what we do day to day.”
It’s clear that T2’s solutions and service have made a strong impression on Cohen. In May 2023, LPA worked with T2 to swiftly upgrade its first municipal garage in a busy eight-garage system by installing T2 PARCS Logan equipment. LPA plans to modernize other locations with this solution throughout 2023. This was the first step in their systemwide upgrade and the first example of a municipal garage system smoothly integrating the UPsafety PE management platform with T2 PARCS.
“Using T2 gave us the autonomy to move very quickly and get things done.”
Parking management in any setting—municipal, hospital, university, independent—can be very complex, usually involving several separate systems. To simplify and consolidate the management of all aspects of their municipal parking, LPA found the UPsafety PE and T2 PARCS solutions to be the cure-all, one-stop shop for their operational needs.
Cohen chose T2 solutions not only for their capabilities to resolve issues, but for their potential to support the future of LPA.
“[We’re] very excited to take advantage of the benefits that come along with T2 products. These are built for scalability, including access and payment that’s so critically important to us – and any parking organization. We’re very pleased that T2 systems can support our operation now and into the future.”
LPA plans to add more functionalities and integrations to their T2 solutions to further optimize operations, expand capabilities, and plan for growth.
Technology aside, Cohen is impressed with the T2 customer experience and level of support. In larger parking technology companies, customers can sometimes feel lost in the mix. With a single, dedicated point of contact account manager for all aspects of a project, a thriving and supportive online and in-person customer community of more than 9,000 professionals, and timely, supportive customer service, T2 stands apart from the rest.
“T2 is a big organization with a lot of employees, but at the end of the day, when I raise an issue, it’s going to be dealt with–whether it’s something that can be handled quickly–or more complex—I trust it’ll be dealt with.”
T2 continues to work with LPA in its mission to remain a progressive municipal operation that centers customer experience to provide a smooth transit experience in the City of Lancaster.Back