Focus on Pay and Display - Camera Tracks Violators in Uncontrolled Surface Lots
By John Van Horn
Steve Webb of Sunset Parking in San Diego was talking about the installation of a new system of Pay and Display installed in the location his parking company, Sunset Parking, runs on the corner of Fifth and Sixth Streets. But this wasn't a typical P-and-D installation.
This system included an "eye in the sky" which tracked each vehicle that entered the lot and told his Pay-and-Display machine just which vehicle was in violation.
"Within an hour of turning the system on, we caught four people who parked and didn't pay. I knew there was some cheating going on, but I never thought it was this prevalent."
The system includes a Pay-and-Display machine, a camera that can see the entire lot connected to a computer, which tracks each vehicle and each empty space. The computer is located in the P-and-D machine.
When a vehicle enters the lot, it is picked up by the camera and the system notes where and when the vehicle parked. The system then waits for the Pay-and-Display machine to notify it that the driver has paid his fee.
In the event the driver does not pay, the system notifies enforcement personnel who go to the lot and ticket or tow the vehicle. In the event of Pay and Display, the system can tell the attendant within one or two spaces which vehicle hasn't paid. The attendant simply checks the vehicles and tickets the proper one.
In the case of Pay by Space, the system can tell the attendant exactly which space is in violation. The attendant is also notified when a vehicle that has paid goes into violation or if the credit card is invalid.
At the owner's request, the system can be set so that it doesn't notify the attendant until a specific number of violations are on the lot. (Perhaps they don't want to respond until there are three violators.)
"There was some tweaking in the beginning," said Webb, "but the system frankly runs very well. We can sit in our office and with a laptop or desktop computer actually watch what's happening at the location. It's fantastic.
"Our revenues have increased to the point that we will pay for the system in less than a year, plus we have much better control."
According to Brett Turner, president of Parking Eye, the equipment's manufacturer, the system can also deal with monthlies on uncontrolled locations. The parking operator supplies the vehicle owner with an automatic vehicle identification tag. When the vehicle enters the location, the system senses the tag and marks that vehicle as a monthly.
When there is a violation, the attendant is notified by a message on his or her pager. The attendant then reports to the site and tickets the offending vehicle.
Parking Eye has partnered with Guardian Technologies in the U.S. and Dominion Self Park System in Canada.
John Van Horn is editor and publisher of Parking Today. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Article Abstract from April, 2002