Gone are the days when college and university campuses functioned as closed communities onto themselves. These days, many are spread over large areas of land and serve tens of thousands of students each year, most of whom live off campus.
To meet the commuting needs of their students, faculty, and staff, some colleges and universities offer thousands of parking spaces across numerous campus lots. Parking enforcement at these locations are often performed using traditional permit management systems that include physical permits and manual identification.
Each new semester begins with the time-consuming process of issuing physical permits. Then, during the semester, parking enforcement officers walk through lots and garages to visually ensure that the proper permits are in place and to identify vehicles with unpaid fines.
This manual enforcement process has proven to be inefficient, causing administrative backlogs and loss of revenue. Now, in a move to increase parking compliance and simplify the enforcement process, many colleges and universities are building new license plate-enabled parking systems (LEP) using automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) solutions.
An APLR system allows campuses to move away from printing and issuing physical permits. With these new systems, members of the college or university community simply use their license plate numbers when registering for a permit at the beginning of each semester. This streamlines the process and significantly reduces administration costs.
Then, during the semester, the university or college parking enforcement officers use vehicles equipped with ALPR technology and simply drive up and down lanes in a lot or garage and allow the license plate recognition cameras to scan license plates. The ALPR system automatically notifies the operators of unpermitted or scofflaw vehicles. And the officers can easily issue citations using handheld computers.
One of the main advantages of APLR-based systems is that operators can cover more campus lots in less time and with greater enforcement accuracy. Many colleges and universities have found that using license plate recognition to implement a LEP system is money well spent. By reducing administrative overhead, encouraging better compliance, and getting people to pay for parking permits, institutions can realize a quick return on investment, often in less than 6 months.