Chelsea, Massachusetts uses Radix Handheld Computers for Parking Enforcement

Radix is an established world leader in the mobile computing market. The company designs and manufactures feature rich, flexible and rugged handheld computers for organisations who depend on the integrity of their mobility solutions. Radix products add significant value wherever users operate in a potentially harsh environment such as outdoors in all weathers, and where the frequency of use is high, for example, mission critical applications.
The City of Chelsea, Massachusetts, is using Radix FW500 mobile computers with the integrated FWP-30 thermal printers to issue parking violations and help collect the $4.5 million owed to the city in unpaid parking tickets.

One Handed Solution

In February 2002, the City of Chelsea began using the Radix Rx1 handheld computer with the integrated FWP-30 printer to produce parking violations as with approximately 60,000 parking tickets issued annually it required a more advanced system to cope with the workload. The project to move to the Radix system was spearheaded by Municipal Management Associates, Inc. of Marlborough, MA, a Radix VAR (value added reseller). The City of Chelsea and Municipal Management were very pleased with the results achieved with the Rx1 units as parking tickets were processed faster and more accurately. With this new system tickets were transferred to the host computer within minutes of the last shift being completed, instead of the 3-4 days that it would take to send the handwritten tickets to the processing center for manual data entry and verification.
With the introduction of the new handheld system revenues also increased over $200,000 annually from $1.6 million in FY 2001 to $1.8 million in FY 2002 in part because tickets were more accurate. There was no longer the problem of trying to decipher poor penmanship and revenue increased. The motoring public received a professional looking parking ticket, printed on poly-thermal paper that was placed inside an orange waterproof envelope which offered three advantages. Firstly, the envelope copied the orange look that manual tickets had already been using, so the public had no doubt when a parking ticket had been placed on their windshield. Secondly, the waterproof envelope offered protection to the ticket inside on days when the weather was poor, and thirdly, it served as an envelope to mail the payment to City Hall.

While the Rx1 units processed tickets faster, with fewer errors, and produced more revenue, the City still had to tackle the $4.5 million owed to the city in overdue fines and penalty fees.

The Next Generation

Municipal Management Associates, Inc., aided by the Radix Corporation set out to improve its Citation 2000® parking enforcement software by developing TicketWrite. The Radix FW500 unit was selected as the handheld of choice because of its ruggedness and durability. The Radix Rx1 units had already proved they could withstand the harsh snowy winter months and the rainy wet spring months of the Northeast. The FW500 units continued to use the integrated 3” thermal printers and had the added benefit of utilizing the most advanced technology available. From the very beginning, it was Municipal Management’s goal to take advantage of the new Windows CETM operating system that made electronic ticketing easier and faster.

In February 2003, TicketWrite 1.0 was put into operation with the new FW500 units and the new ticket writing software. PEOs (parking enforcement officers) loved the new system. In September 2003, Municipal Management Associates upgraded TicketWrite to version 2.0. The new release contained a scofflaw module that permitted the PEOs to quickly check if a vehicle had 5 or more outstanding parking violations. In Massachusetts, vehicles with 5 or more outstanding tickets are subject to being towed away and/or impounded until their tickets are paid.

Benefits

In addition to scofflaw search, TicketWrite 2.0 automatically printed the number of unpaid tickets and their past due balance below the new violation and added the two together to show a Total Amount Due in big bold characters. PEOs were alerted visually and audibly whenever a parking violation was issued to a vehicle registration with arrears. PEOs were excited to hear the Radix unit continuously beep whenever a “hit” was made on a scofflaw. One PEO described the new system as “like hitting a jackpot on the slot machine.”

In the first month of operation, over $40,000.00 in past due fines had been collected due to TicketWite 2.0 and its scofflaw features. Not only were scofflaws identified (motorists that owed 5 tickets), all motorists who had outstanding parking violations were being notified of their arrears on newly issued tickets. TicketWrite 2.0 offers groundbreaking advances in the field of parking ticket automation with the purpose of helping its users collect more US dollars.
To our knowledge, there is no other parking enforcement software that prints the arrears on newly issued tickets. With TicketWrite 2.0 able to store the history of over 65,000 vehicle registrations and identify a “hit” within 3 seconds, Chelsea had no problem downloading its entire past due file of violations to each of its eight FW500 TicketWrite units on a daily basis.
Plans are already underway for the enhancement of TicketWrite. It is planned that version 3.0 will capture and store images. Municipal Management Associates will be integrating the Radix image capture device, the FWC-10 with its FW500 TicketWrite units. The parking clerk/attendant will be able to retrieve and visually display on their personal computer the visual image of the rear of the vehicle that will clearly show the vehicle make, model, year and license plate. The PEO will also be able to capture an image of the expired parking meter or No Parking sign or any other image that will assist the parking clerk/attendant in resolving appeals and complaints.

Radix works with a global network of specialist system integrators who are able to provide mobile computing solutions tailored to the needs of the customers.

Radix is a total mobile computing solution provider for demanding environments. With proven technical expertise in the design and manufacture of sophisticated yet durable and reliable mobile computers. Radix products are the ideal complement in the field.
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Radix Corporation
Website
www.radix-intl.com
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