Moving to the Curb

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PARKING MRNRGEMENT "Fortunatel , b working with an advanced parking management S stem that collects and correlates data From multiple sources, cities can now generate actionable information in almost real time that can be used to implement more effective parking and mobilit policies." pricing changes. Be re making any adjustments, they first need ed to understand how the spots were being used, which involved commissioning a study to look at parking trends. This meant set ting up various traffic counters r an extended period. Then, they analyzed all of the data and came up with a pro posal to present to City Council. Since the entire process could take upwards of two years, pricing modifications designed to help change people's behavior lagged well behind a city's need. Now that cities can collect and analyze data through a parking management system, optimizing parking usage through pricing can be achieved in an impactful and timely manner. These systems enable cities to quickly assess current parking trends, determine whether or not pricing should be changed, and then implement those changes as required. They also allow cities to determine if the changes are working to improve traffic flow and whether ad ditional changes are required to further modify people's behavior. MOVING AWAY FROM TRADITIONAL PARKING ENFORCEMENT Parking en rcement itself is also evolving. Cities are moving away om a traditional en rcement model that uses physical permits, pay and display meters, and paper tickets to a more ef ficient model of in rmation-driven en rcement that uses license plates as virtual permits. Instead of having officers driving around looking r in ac tions, cities can use the data collected in their parking manage ment system to direct officers where to go when en rcement is required. The traditional approach has officers driving along streets and double parking to investigate possible in actions. Officers have to get out and walk to the vehicle in question, manually key in the informa tion into a handheld device, and then print and place the ticket on the car's windshield. In addition to exposing officers to potentially abusive ce-to- ce encounters with members of the public, this approach also disrupts traffic flow while their vehicles are double-parked. The increasing digitization of parking now allows cities to provide a safer work environment r their parking officers and reduce traffic congestion. The workflow begins with the system receiving a notification about a possible infraction om either parking sensors on the street or patrol cars with license plate rec ognition (LPR) technology per rming plate reads. Next, the system analyzes the notification to determine if an in action has occurred. All verified in actions are then sent to a desk officer r review with the citation sent via mail to the parker or dispatched to a field officer r validation and generation of physical ticket. Because en rcement officers no longer have to drive daily routes or double park their cars, their job is made safer and the flow of traffic around the city is eased. Automating the en rcement process using a parking manage- 58 ment system also significantly increases compliance. It makes it easy r a city to en rce an in action in part because, once an in action is verified, the system can simply send the ticket to the driver by mail. The resulting increase in efficiency over parking en rcement officers walking or driving around is more than 50%. And the in crease in compliance is even greater. In the first 12 months a er implementing a parking management system, one city saw an in crease om 14% of people paying r parking to a staggering 88%. IMPROVING PUBLIC TRANSPOR ION Curb management can also help with public transportation. Across cities, ridership on public transportation is down. To in crease ridership, cities are using some of their curbside real estate to create dedicated bus lanes. These lanes improve time per r mance, lower fuel costs, and reduce CO2 emissions. Un rtunately, illegal parking can be a major obstacle to re alizing the many benefits of dedicated bus lanes. Illegally parked vehicles rce buses to stop and move out into the regular flow of traffic. This stopping and starting increases emissions creates safe ty concerns and slows down both car and bus traffic. Having park ing en rcement officers issue a physical ticket r these vehicles and place them on their windshield only compounds the problem. Automatic License Plater Recognition (ALPR) integrated en rcement makes it possible to en rce illegal parking in bus lanes using the same workflow developed r curbside parking. After a patrol car captures the vehicle's license plate, the data is uploaded to the central parking management system r analysis. A desk officer then reviews the in action and, if verified, can en rce the traffic violation via mail. This process minimizes any additional traffic congestion re sulting om issuing a physical ticket and also encourages drivers to stay out of bus lanes during designated times. VALID ING RKING POLICY CHANGES For a city's elected officials, the ability to measure the results of a policy change is crucial. They must be able to demonstrate that their policies are having a positive impact on their city and its citizens. In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, many cities have made quick policy changes around parking to support busi nesses and protect people. Some cities, r example, experimented with ee parking in their downtown core to mitigate against the challenges businesses were cing due to shutdowns and other re strictive measures. In particular, they provided ee parking dur ing the Christmas Holiday season to encourage shopping. To evaluate the success of this type of policy, a city could use its parking management system to produce weekly occupancy surveys. The data collected in these surveys would allow a city to accurately determine whether or not its ee parking initiative is encouraging people to visit the city's core. In the future, city officials could continue to use this data to make other in rmed decisions around parking to support businesses and tourism with the goal of improving access and revenue. Making the curb real more accessible to more users can improve the flow of traffic and reduce congestion. Ultimately, taking parking management digital is an important step in moving a city in the right direction. i chael Brac/ er is the product manager at Genetec Inc. JULY/AUGUST 2021 I SECURITY TODAY

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