Some of us might make the assumption that ALPR (Auto License Plate Recognition) 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.
ALPR in Action
Our team has recently contracted with the City of St. Augustine Florida to provide program and project management services for the City’s new Parking Management Program. This multi-phase program is intended to leverage technology to help improve the utilization of existing parking facilities and to facilitate the use of alternate parking and transportation methods for peak visitation periods. In the first phase, our team installed fixed ALPR cameras mounted to the entrance and exit lanes of the Historic Parking Garage to provide real time occupancy numbers to the management team. This information is currently used to help the city analyze parking habits and patterns but also to identify when the garage reaches capacity so that the entrance can be closed and parkers directed to other facilities.
We also installed mobile ALPR on two parking enforcement vehicles in this first phase. These vehicles are currently used to enforce both on-street spaces and parking lots for scofflaws but will soon be integrated with new and existing Pay Stations in a Pay-by-Plate configuration. This phase also includes the launch of a new Mobile Payment application and online Permit Management portal (January 2019) which will also integrate with the mobile ALPR enforcement vehicles. This integration means that parking customers no longer have to display their receipt on the dashboard, hang a tag from their rearview mirror or apply an adhesive sticker to their window. Their license plate becomes their “permit” and the revenue control system automatically updates the mobile LPR vehicle of invalid permits. When the LPR vehicle scans an expired permit, the officer can then write a citation. This system will make the City’s parking team much more efficient, thereby increasing revenue and improving compliance with parking rules.
These fixed and mobile ALPR solutions also provide the additional benefit of alerting the St. Augustine Police Department to parking customers who may be on state law enforcement watch lists (for outstanding warrants, etc.)
Future phases of the Parking System upgrade will include a new Parking and Revenue Control System (PARCS) for the Historic Parking Garage which will allow the City to implement variable and/or parking rates as opposed to the current $15 all day rate. The PARCS and ALPR systems will also integrate with variable message signage to be installed on the parking garage and on the major roadways leading to the City of St. Augustine. These signs will inform visitors of the parking availability within the city and direct visitors to alternate parking locations when spaces are not available.