University of British Columbia Goes Gateless
The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC is a global center for research and education. With almost 50,000 students, the university constantly strives to better manage its population of commuters that includes students, faculty, and visitors—especially at high profile events where traffic surges for short periods of time.
Parking at UBC is primarily managed with six garages spread around campus that had been utilizing a PARCS solution with gates at entrances and exits. UBC also utilizes the integration of T2’s Digital Luke® II Pay Stations operating in Pay-by-License Plate (PBL) mode, and Genetec’s AutoVu LPR to manage enforcement for surface lots and on-street parking.
UBC’s gated facilities were causing significant traffic problems within the garages and on the surrounding streets—making a 45-minute wait to park or leave a common occurrence. These delays resulted in countless customer complaints and a massive carbon footprint.
Data showed the average wait time at UBC’s garages was 40 seconds at entry and exit (80 seconds total) with an average of 7,500 vehicles coming in and out of their garages every day. That equated to over 166 hours of idling—burning 175 gallons (660L) of fuel and producing 900 lbs (402kg) of CO2 every day.
In early 2014, UBC’s PARCS equipment was approaching its end of life and maintenance costs began to pile up. Brian Jones, Director for Parking & Access Services, was tasked with finding a solution that not only reduces entry and exit times, but also promotes community engagement and draws the public to campus for its world-class attractions.
Jones and his team determined their best option was to employ a gateless solution—removing the gates and utilizing additional pay station and LPR equipment UBC had already employed for on-street and surface lots. Fixed LPR cameras were installed to monitor traffic entering and exiting the garages, and a virtual permit program now allows customers to purchase yearly, monthly, and individual event permits by entering their license plate information via UBC’s online portal.
UBC also addressed the pedestrian bottlenecking that forms at pay stations before large events by building a movable platform that holds several pay stations. This allows customers to bypass the meter in the garage if it’s busy, and just walk to the venue where one of the mobile stations is available.
The new gateless solution has drastically reduced or eliminated idling at garage entry and exit points—improving customer service and decreasing UBC’s carbon footprint. “Customers keep telling us, ‘Wow, I can’t believe how easy this is,’” Jones said.
Going gateless also meant a capital savings of over $4 million dollars—without any lost revenue. In fact, Jones believes UBC is likely to see a small uptick going forward. “I think people are willing to pay for a little more time than they need to avoid any chance of getting a ticket,” he said.