ANDROID APP FOR PARKING PERMIT ENFORCEMENT
11 Feb 2015
Twin Falls, Idaho, Feb.10, 2015 — The City of Twin Falls chose gtechna to implement a parking, permit and code management app on a Samsung Galaxy Tab®. Twin Falls, the largest city in a 100-mile radius that includes the Nevada border, is a giant with respect to leading U.S. cities moving toward high tech solutions. The city is the first in North America to embrace a fully integrated Android™ enforcement software app that allows officers to seamlessly move between, not two, but three key areas of municipal enforcement when in the field: parking and permit management as well as code enforcement, in one unified experience.
In addition to standard parking ordinances, officers are responsible for overseeing various municipal codes. Managing both poses unique challenges. Lorie Whitney, Technical Training Coordinator of IT Services for the City of Twin Falls explained, “We wanted our officers to be able to move in and out of different enforcement scenarios as quickly and effortlessly as possible.” Since mobile operating systems such as Android™ have become so ubiquitous, creating a work environment that functions like the apps on personal devices has improved the adoption of the technology by staff.”
The introduction of an enforcement app was aimed at altering work patterns for the better. “The goals we set out to achieve were certainly related to improving productivity,” stated Whitney, “but, to take it step further, our chief concerns lay in building and nurturing the city’s relationship with residents. This means getting data entry out of the way so that staff spends less time under stacks of paperwork or in front of screens and more time working face to face with citizens. With gtechna’s user interface we were able to achieve this kind of agility.” Ms Whitney, continued “Getting out there every day and having dialogue with townsfolk was an important part of our business goals; we want to make sure that they know we are working on their behalf to make Twin Falls a great place to work and live. We are not here to give out tickets. We much rather take the opportunity to explain an ordinance to an individual so that there is an understanding that certain rules are in place for everyone’s benefit. This helps avoid frustrations and ultimately saves in operational costs which directly impact bottom lines. These savings can then be reinvested in city services and infrastructure.”
There are ‘green’ cost savings as well Whitney points out: “Opting for a paperless permitting solution has saved on costs of resources such as the permit media; these convenience benefits translate directly to citizens who can apply and renew online as well as add multiple plates under the same permit”.
Similarly, we see a lighter environmental footprint and less administration with notices of violation (NOV) which are used for water, sanitation and zoning violation management. Mike Bourre, Vice-President of Sales and Marketing at gtechna noted that NOVs were previously paperwork-heavy; “with the app, officers swiftly move through the administrative process. An officer captures all data, attaches photos for evidence to a digital file and sends it wirelessly for processing. The nature of the job is to create a greener environment for citizens but the technology itself is also inherently much more user and eco-friendly allowing officers to spend more time working with citizens rather than ticketing them.”
“We have found that smaller cities take pride in the ability to measure up and in some cases surpass larger urban counterparts as they are often forced to do more with much less. Twin Falls adopted a world class solution” stated Michel Guay, President and CEO at gtechna. “And in concrete terms, this means making sure streets are clean and properties are up to standard and that there is ample parking space with little to no traffic congestion and healthy turnover rates for business patrons to park; it all adds up to a healthy local economy not to mention a lighter carbon footprint since motorists are less likely to continually circle blocks in search of a parking space” Guay stated. “The code management and parking enforcement apps help achieve some of these fundamentally indispensable tenants of a smooth-running city and form part of the overall positive experience residents and visitors have from day to day.”