License Plate Reading for revenue control and more!
Can this Revenue Control System Provide Security, too?
Revenue control has long been a key concern in the parking industry. Recording of license plate numbers -- either on entry or through overnight inventories -- have proven to be a powerful tool in the battle against revenue shrinkage.
Systems have successfully demonstrated that automatic License Plate Reading (LPR) technology could work outside the laboratory in the harsh, unconstrained environments of parking garages and outdoor lots. Automatic LPR systems have made LPR a reality in parking. It has become a de facto standard at airports and will likely see increased deployment in public and private parking facilities.
Revenue control, however, is not the only preoccupation. Security concerns are at an all-time high. Car theft is also an ongoing problem that must be addressed. Building owners are looking for cost-effective security solutions and ways to contain ever increasing building insurance premiums. Patrons are spending good dollars to park and they expect an increased level of service and more for their money.
The question is whether traditional parking revenue and access control systems (PARCS) can provide the level of security that is required in this age and time. The answer, of course, depends on each particular application. However, when used in conjunction with an automatic LPR system any PARCS system can provide a high level of security as well as revenue control.
Traditional access control systems such as card access systems track cards but not vehicles or drivers. Access cards can be lost or stolen. To increase the level of security, an effective PARCS system should be able to automatically link a vehicle's license plate together with the card number being used and perhaps also a picture of the driver's face. Since the events of September 11, 2001, it is not uncommon to see building owners using security guards to reinforce access control to parking facilities; however this is expensive. An LPR-based system is a more practical and cost-effective solution and it provides a full audit trail.
In non-gated facilities, LPR systems can be used to flag (in real time) vehicles that do not have access privileges or vehicles that are on a special list such as scofflaws, stolen vehicles etc.
Digital Video Recording
Deployment of digital video recording (DVR) systems is on the rise in the parking industry. A good example of this is at large car rental depots. Car rental operators are looking for an effective means by which to protect their significant fleet investment. DVR systems record the transaction details for every vehicle leaving the parking facility. Records can be searched manually whenever a vehicle is missing. In some locations several cameras positioned around the vehicle are used to record its damage condition before and after a rental.
LPR provides a unique and effective way to retrieve the video recording data based on license plate number thereby eliminating the need to review days of recorded data. LPR can be used to automatically retrieve evidence data for a vehicle at the time it was rented and returned. The system can be also configured such that untagged vehicles will not be allowed to leave the facility.
LPR based revenue control systems provide an effective means to identify and control exception situations such as lost tickets or swapped tickets and to reduce fraud by patrons and employees. When configured with patron facial capture, such systems can be an effective deterrent to reduce car theft. With access to a database of stolen vehicles, stolen vehicles can also be identified in real time.
As demonstrated in the examples above, security and access control systems that utilize LPR can bridge the gap from today's traditional parking and/or access control systems and bring security and access control practices to a new level. LPR systems can be deployed on a stand-alone basis. Alternatively they can be provided as part of an LPR based Parking Access and Revenue Control System (PARCS) or as an add-on to a traditional PARCS.
In the parking industry, LPR has finally come of age. We invite you to explore how LPR can enhance the security and revenue controls of your parking operations.
Pierre Hubert is president & CEO of AutoVu Technologies.
He can be contacted through the company's web site at www.autovu.com
Article Abstract from January, 2003