License to bill in parking facilities

Although ALPR is established today, it is capable of being put to far greater use.
parkeon_uk_press_article-3.150.jpgParkeon has developed a system for off-street parking that integrates ALPR with Pay & display (P&d) schemes, designed to automate enforcement. At the heart of the solution is the e-Gateway module within the companys Parkfolio Neo centralized management system. One of the functions of the module is to act as a portal to enable the ALPR/enforcement server to communicate with Parkfolio Neo using Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) requests.

Vehicle license plate details are scanned and captured by a camera as drivers enter a car park. The information is then sent to an ALPR/enforcement server. Motorists then have a predetermined period (five to 10 minutes, for instance) in which to enter their license plate on a P&d terminal using an alphanumeric interface on the screen. They then pay for parking with coins or a credit card in the usual way. Details of parking transactions (i.e. date, time, amount paid, duration, license plate data) are transmitted by the P&d terminals via a GPRS wireless network to the financial database within Parkfolio Neo, which runs on a PC in the operators office.

The next step in terms of developing integrated ALPR/ parking solutions is to use the existing technology to do more. Parkeons geomarket director, Bob Barnes, is exploring ways to diversify the applications the company can offer. As with many issues in the parking industry, the hurdles to progression are political rather than technical. Local Authorities are eager to show their green credentials and it would be possible to use ALPR to charge parking related to emissions, he explains. Political will is needed to take this step but theres also a dilemma if you charge high- emission vehicles more for parking, then theyll park for less time. Forcing drivers away is bad for local businesses and parking operators.

Instead, Barnes believes that strategies to improve the end-user experience are more valuable. Cashless parking is very much on his radar right now: were moving there,
but it is dependent on the customers desire to do it. He regards the rise of contactless credit cards as the way forward in encouraging operators to make life easier for their patrons, describing parking as a killer application for the technology. Parkeon is already getting a slice of the action: we are working on an upgrade kit to incorporate contactless credit card technology and chip-and-pin into existing P&d machines, and are working on trials in westminster, London.

The way contactless credit cards have been set up in the Uk is to have a 50 credit on the contactless side, where you dont have to verify your presence. If you go over that limit something that is easily done when parking then you have to do a chip-and-pin transaction. If you had to run and ind an ATM, you could receive a parking violation before you get back, which is why we are incorporating chip-and-pin with contactless machines, so if a user does get their contactless side rejected, they can still pay on their card.

Going green is also where Parkeon is heading. An entire London boroughs equipment was recently replaced with solar-powered P&d machines that also accept credit card and chip-and-pin transactions.
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