Optimize Park & Pay With Cloud-Based License Plate Recognition

Parking can be a big stressor for anyone driving into the big city for a night out on the town. Finding a parking spot is already a challenge but figuring out how to pay for that parking is another. No one wants to circle around the lot trying to find the payment kiosk and be late to their event or wait in long lines to pay at the gate as they’re heading home for the night. The frustration that drivers feel when paying for parking could lead them to forgo payment altogether or choose not return in the future. However, cloud-based license plate recognition (LPR) software is revolutionizing the park and pay process and making the experience more easy and convenient for customers and owners alike.

Common Methods for Parking Payment

Each parking garage or lot has their own method for collecting and enforcing payment for parking. Here are some of the most common park and pay methods:

  1. Parking Meters: Each parking spot has a physical meter where drivers will insert coins or use a credit/debit card to pay for a specified amount of time. This payment method is simple for customers to figure out, but installing and maintaining meters is costly and time-consuming. Additionally, meters are not effective for turnover because they only track time, not customers. This means that one person can stay parked at a meter all day by renewing payment when the time expires which takes away precious parking from new customers that won’t be able to visit the surrounding businesses.
  2. Pay-and-Display: Drivers pay for parking at a nearby machine and then display a printed ticket or receipt on their dashboard. The main issue with this method is that it requires parking enforcement teams to manually inspect each vehicle which takes up a lot of time. Not only is this tiring for staff members, but it gives people more opportunity to park and leave without paying. The checking process can be sped up with the addition of more enforcers, but this can get expensive, especially if the lot is kept open at all hours.
  3. Park-and-Pay Stations: Payment is collected at a self-service kiosk where drivers will register their designated parking spot number or license plate number. This method doesn’t require as much manpower as pay-and-display, but parking enforcement teams are still needed to match up registered numbers to filled parking spots. In addition, customers might have trouble finding the kiosks to pay or have to wait in long lines during peak hours. The payment stations also require regular maintenance and are at risk of being damaged by reckless drivers.
  4. Automated Payment Gates: Drivers are permitted entry or exit through the automated gates after paying the parking fee. Even though this method is effective for ensuring that every vehicle pays, it only allows the lot to charge one fee, regardless of the amount of time the vehicle has been parked. This flat-rate could be inconvenient for the customer because they’re forced to pay a high all-day fee just to park for a couple of hours. And just like parking meters, this method does not promote turnover because every vehicle can stay parked for the entire day.
  5. Ticketed Parking: The driver receives a paper ticket stamped with the time of entry as they pass through an automated gate. When they leave, they insert this ticket into the exit gate and pay the calculated fee. Unlike the previous method, this ticketing system tracks the entry and exit time so vehicles can be charged by the hour. However, drivers have to hold onto their ticket for the entire time that they’re out and risk losing it. Besides that, long queues can form at the exit gate due to people trying to find misplaced tickets or payment issues.

Cloud-Based LPR Park & Pay

License plate recognition (LPR), also known as automatic license plate recognition (ALPR), is a technology that uses optical character recognition to read and interpret plates on vehicles. Cloud-based LPR takes this technology to the next level by leveraging the power of cloud computing. Instead of processing data locally on dedicated hardware, cloud-based LPR systems use cloud servers. Using cloud-based LPR is far more effective than traditional LPR because the algorithms are able to capture plate numbers faster and read them more accurately. Here’s a brief summary of how the process works:

  1. Image Capture: Cameras equipped with LPR software capture images of vehicles and their license plates as they enter or exit a specific area, such as a parking lot or garage.
  2. Data Extraction: The images are then sent to a cloud server, where powerful algorithms analyze and extract license plate information from the images.
  3. Data Processing: The cloud server processes the extracted data and performs tasks like comparing the license plate number to a database, checking for authorized access, or identifying vehicles of interest.
  4. Alerts and Actions: Based on the analysis results, the system can trigger various actions, such as opening gates for authorized vehicles, sending alerts, or recording vehicle’s entry and exit times.

Cloud-based LPR technology has many uses in the parking industry and one common use is to manage paid parking. In this method, the driver will park and use their mobile device to register their license plate number in the cloud database. Through this online portal, they will be able to select the amount of time they will be parked and pay. Then parking enforcement teams will drive through the area in vehicles mounted with cloud-based LPR-enabled cameras to capture license plates. Each plate number will be analyzed and compared to the database to verify that the vehicle has paid for parking and has not exceeded their time limit. If the vehicle is not registered or has gone past the paid time, a notification will be sent so the enforcer can write a fine or tow the vehicle.

Benefits For the Customer

Compared to the methods discussed earlier, using cloud-based LPR for parking payment is more convenient because it streamlines and simplifies the process. Customers can park and pay through their mobile device so they won’t have to waste time locating a payment kiosk or wait in long lines. Some services even offer customers the option to book a parking spot and register their vehicle ahead of time so they can bypass this process when they arrive. This method also eliminates the need for paper tickets or display permits since all time tracking and payment is done through the software. Not only that, the mobile payment option allows customers to easily extend their parking time if needed but prevents them from going over the maximum time set by the lot.

Benefits For the Owner or Manager

Using cloud-based LPR for parking payment allows the owner to maximize the use of their parking spots and therefore, maximize their revenue. The time tracking ensures that customers don’t stay parked past their limit to give new customers the opportunity to park and visit nearby businesses. Not only that, the parking verification process is much faster than manual inspection so less manpower is needed to catch more violations. Furthermore, cloud-based LPR systems require less maintenance than physical parking meters or self-service machines because all software updates are automatically done through the cloud. And since the data is processed in the cloud, there’s no need for additional dedicated hardware besides a cloud-connected IP camera.

PLACA.AI’s Mobile Park & Pay Service

PLACA.AI is an advanced software that combines license plate recognition (LPR) technology with cloud computing to create an efficient parking management system. The software offers mobile park & pay to provide a simple and convenient payment process for customers and to allow parking lot owners to optimize their operations. There’s no upfront cost to subscribe to a monthly plan, just a 3% fee on every transaction so you have nothing to lose if you try it out. No contract or commitment is needed and you can cancel at any time. To get started or receive more information, contact our sales teams by email at sales@2mtechnology.net or call us +1 (866) 708-5401!

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