There is a good chance most people have heard or have had personal experience with Automatic License Plate Recognition, or ALPR for short. ALPR is technology that uses optical character recognition (OCR) to automatically read license plate characters. There are many applications that utilize ALPR. Law enforcement, toll roads, and parking control are a few of the better known applications.
There are two general categories of ALPR:
Stationary – Uses infrared (IR) cameras at high fixed points. Stationary cameras can be mounted on signs, highway overpasses, lights, or buildings as a cost-effective way to monitor moving and parked vehicles twenty-four hours a day.
Mobile – Uses vehicle-mounted IR cameras. These cameras are installed on vehicles and are able to read license plates at high speeds.
Automated License Plate Recognition has many uses including:
- Recovery of stolen cars
- Identification of drivers with an open warrant for arrest
- Catching speeders by comparing the average time it takes to get from stationary camera A to stationary camera B
- Determining what cars do and do not belong in a parking garage
- Expediting parking by eliminating the need for human confirmation of parking passes
Some of us might make the mistake of thinking that ALPR is only beneficial to law enforcement within various counties and cities. While ALPR does help law enforcement expand security and protect our communities, it can also serve as a valuable parking enforcement tool.
Managing parking at a hospital, university, or commercial campus is not an easy task. ALPR simplifies parking enforcement and improves overall operations for management and customers. This technology enables facilities to maximize resources and cut costs, move to virtual permits (also known as “Pay by Plate”), enforce time limits, track off-street violations in real time, and use data to improve parking services.