Parking Management Systems: A History of Digital Chalking | Part 2
21 Feb 2013
The Impact of License Plate Recognition (LPR) Technology on eChalking
Many managers today are asked to do more with less. Mobile License Plate Recognition (LPR) technology revolutionized eChalking practices and performance improving efficiency, lowering cost and, increasing revenues. Given a conservative estimate of 400 working minutes in an enforcement day and given that a parking officer on foot does more than just eChalking, it is reasonable to say that an officer spending half a day on eChalking will mark 200 vehicles in a day at 1 vehicle per minute. Proven performance of vehicle mounted LPR camera systems are showing statistics of 4000 vehicle plates scanned in an enforcement work shift. It would take roughly 20 on-foot officers in the same period of time to enforce time limit zones as a single LPR vehicle. In addition to performance, there is the added value of vehicle and license plate images captured and stored as well as GPS coordinates converted to civic addresses to mark the location of the parked vehicle. Further, evidence displaying the violation is also made available to the parker on web portals deterring potential requests for a hearing. Should a parking ticket be challenged, adjudicators have web access to the LPR event data including images of each observation, and GPS coordinates with GIS mapped addresses of the location at which the citation was issued.
The Impact of License Plate Recognition on City Ordinances
City Administrators must consider reshaping parking ordinances created in an era prior to the advent of handheld computers and License Plate Recognition cameras. As much as technology needs to support the law, lawmakers must also consider the efficiency of technology.
The need to prove a vehicle has not moved from the parking space goes back to the chalk mark on the tire. Time limit zones were used to encourage turnover of parking in spaces provided for a merchant’s customers. Chalking the tire, either through a captured image or drawing a chalk mark on a tire, implies the need to prove that the vehicle might have moved and returned to the same parking space. However, the need for chalking for these purposes has far outlived its utility. As technology evolves and populations grow, we are seeing a change in ordinance that does not allow the vehicle to park on the same city block for more than the designated time limit or re-park on the same block, the same day. Promoting circulation helps sustain commerce and support local economy. GPS tracking and standard digital photos captured by License Plate Recognition cameras are the only evidence needed. This type of ordinance, education of the public, and increased enforcement with LPR efficiency ensures the turnover of those short-term parking spaces and the continued growth and prosperity integral to the social and economic fabric of the city.
Simultaneous Enforcement Processes – The Added Value of License Plate Recognition
With LPR technology you can enforce multiple items not just chalking. LPR is a force multiplier creating many benefits when applied to time limit enforcement: Hotlist
- Stolen vehicle
- Vehicles of interest (example home land security)
- Scofflaws (outstanding fines)
- No registration (could be dispatched to police)
- Permit enforcement
- Pay by plate enforcement
- Pay by Phone enforcement
The license plate is the unique identifier for all parking enforcement processes – the barcode of parking. Using it effectively not only increases enforcement performance but also helps in the organization of all data applied to enforcement, fine collections, and adjudication. Essentially, the bar code acts as a means for keeping tight control over data inventory tied to vehicle plate numbers.
Parking agencies today must think outside the box and see ways to share information with other agencies like homeland security and police such as covert alerts of wanted vehicles without putting the parking officer in danger and without distracting the parking officer from the parking beat. There is still unexplored value in the investment of LPR technology and the license plate as a bar code which represents to cities an opportunity for a new beginning.