Enforcement Buyer’s Guide: Transitioning to a Cloud-based Parking Management System
If you’re ready to make the switch to a more efficient parking management system, a mobile, cloud-based software platform can help you streamline your operations, increase revenue and gain better insights into your environment. The beginning stages of the buying process can be overwhelming. Making the transition from handwriting tickets, or using offline handheld devices, to a real-time mobile solution can feel like a big operational shift. But this doesn’t mean it needs to be stressful.
Enforcement can be broken down into four operational pillars: monitoring and issuance; reporting and citation management; payments, and notifications. This Enforcement Buyer’s Guide will help you navigate through those pillars to identify your operational needs and what features will help you meet your goals. This guide will also help you assess the qualities to seek when evaluating a potential parking management vendor partner.
Monitoring and Issuance: License Plate Recognition and Mobile Ticketing
License Plate Recognition (LPR)
License Plate Recognition technology allows operators to reduce manual processes, increase efficiency, and improve accuracy in the monitoring and ticket issuance process. With LPR, parking enforcement officers can quickly scan license plates and gather all pertinent information associated with that license plate number while surveying in their vehicles. The license plate number collected from the vehicle is searched against the agency’s data in real-time for more efficient enforcement. Agencies can also replace manual chalking practices by utilizing electronic chalking with LPR.
How LPR Works:
- LPR camera hardware is mounted on enforcement vehicles, and an in-car tablet connects to the cameras.
- LPR cameras scan license plate numbers for payment and permit status, and digitally chalk vehicles in zones with parking time limits.
- Software on an in-car tablet alerts the parking enforcement officer driving the vehicle of a car in violation.
- Officers can accept or reject the violation and automatically send infractions picked up by the LPR system to on-foot officers’ mobile devices in real-time for printing.
- Scofflaws and allow/deny lists can also be detected.
- A robust back-end system houses all of your data generates reports for administrative staff in real-time, and can automatically send notices to violators.
Real-time, Fully Integrated Enforcement
Digital chalking can be made easy through LPR. Time restrictions or permit regulations are input into the software. As the enforcement vehicle makes its rounds, it records the plate numbers of vehicles that have been parked and alerts officers to vehicles that are not in compliance or parked overtime.
Mobile ticketing makes enforcement more efficient — imagine no longer handwriting tickets and being able to simply print a ticket on the spot with the click of a few buttons. From a mobile app or an in-car system, parking enforcers should be able to:
- Monitor license plate number (LPN) and space-based parking transactions and permits
- Create tickets or warnings
- Look up previous tickets, scofflaws, and allow/deny lists in real-time
- Take photos and report incidents
- Digitally chalk
If your operation has underground garages with limited internet access, it’s also important to identify a vendor partner with offline capabilities, meaning their software can still record LPR data as vehicles drive through spaces with limited connectivity and automatically connect and transfer that data once internet access is restored.
With a mobile platform, you have the flexibility to choose your hardware — mobile devices and printers; there is a variety of options based upon your operational needs.
- Zebra Mobile Devices Zebra mobile devices are modern, high performance, cost-effective and durable. They offer mobile devices for ticket issuance as well as lightweight mobile printers, in addition to accessories like shoulder straps, cases, and charging stations. Zebra also offers excellent customer support in the case of a hardware issue. Common models for ticket issuance are the TC56 mobile computer with a built-in scanner and the ZQ320 printer.
- Panasonic Toughpad The Panasonic Toughpad offers a larger screen that is thin and lightweight but still rugged and is ideal for in-car solutions.
Reporting and Citation Management
For true control over your operation, real-time connections to a back-office system are vital. From a back office, your team should be able to not only manage appeals and adjustments, lookup scofflaws and repeat offenders, and manage violation types and price escalations, you should also be able to have a bird’s-eye view of what is going on in the field. Reports and features to consider include:
- Live Officer Tracking Live officer tracking allows you to better manage and oversee your enforcement officers’ day-today activities. Monitoring an officer’s actions out in the field can uncover issues in daily routes. Ask whether you will have the option to view an officer’s live route via GPS tracking, as well as a report of the day’s activities. This administrative tool is important because it ensures that everyone on the team is staying on track, and officer beats are planned efficiently. Furthermore, officer safety is enhanced as system administrators will always know where their officers are.
- Violation Type Reporting Being able to dive deep into specific areas of your operations will help uncover important patterns and trends. See which violations are issued most frequently so you can better quantify operational decisions.
- Audit Trail Reporting Audit trail reporting gives your agency the ability to view each citation’s audit trail, letting you see every action taken on a citation from the time of issuance to final disposition.
- Ticket Density Heat Map Seeing a high-level overview of where you have the most ticket density can produce insights into where you may have parking signage issues, a higher density of officers, or other variables that might impact the distribution of tickets being issued, so you can address potential problems in the field.
- Financial Reports Reporting on the appropriate items will be important for streamlining your operations — daily total revenue, transactions, and summary-by-location reports are vital to your daily operations
- Custom Reports Every operation has its own nuances, and having a customer-reporting option allows administrators to filter the information they need to get the information they want.
Different roles in your organization will likey require different levels of user access within your parking management system. Look for a vendor partner that can provide multiple levels of access so all of your users get the information they need, when they need it.
Real-time Citation Payment
Real-time violation payment is key to increase payment compliance and revenue. Allowing violators to immediately pay their citations online through web based portals makes the payment process convenient and simple, and increases the likelihood that citations will be paid. In-app citation payment is another great addition to your agency’s payment options. In-app citation payment allows violators to pay citations from your agency’s mobile parking payment app. This further increases citation payment compliance.
If a ticket remains unpaid after a certain period of time, the ticket will increase in price and be considered delinquent. Once a citation becomes delinquent, our platform automatically makes violator notification incredibly efficient in just a few easy steps:
- Queue violations Search and filter through violation types based on operation-specific rules and policies for delinquent notification.
- Request data Request registered owner information from the DMV to obtain violator contact information based on LPN.
- Generate letters Once address information is returned, letters tailored to your specifications are automatically generated and sent to the violator.
- Escalation of unpaid citations Automatic escalation fees of unpaid citations, paired with a letter campaign, are easy ways to encourage timely payment of violations and can streamline your revenue collection process.
Delinquent Revenue Recovery
If you have a backlog of dated and unpaid citations, Passport can pull registered owner information for these unpaid citations to generate delinquent payment notices so you can recover lost revenue. The process is easy:
- Send data Send your unpaid citations to Passport.
- Access owner information Passport sifts through these delinquent citations to pull current registered owner information.
- Letter generation Passport generates and mails notifications of payment delinquency to the registered owners.