Modern parking lots focus on security, convenience

Modern parking lots focus on security, convenience

Modern public parking has become more intelligent, thanks to various security devices that help lots become safer and more manageable.

“Two primary benefits of using these technologies are security – protection of vehicles, personnel, and drivers from intruders and criminals – and convenience,” said Larry Reed, CEO at ZKAccess.

In terms of security, automatic numeric plate recognition (ANPR) has gained importance. “It allows access only to authorized parties,” Reed said. “It can also be programmed with ‘blast lists of suspicious plates,’ which will then send a notification to a designated authority.”

When combined with biometrics, ANPR provides far greater security than today’s card-based systems, he said.

“Few will argue when compared to biometric technology, RFID is the fastest regarding recognition. But RFID only matches the ‘card’ and not the person or vehicle. The card can be lent out to unauthorized parties or worse yet, stolen and misused to gain access,” Reed said. “Conversely, biometrics matches people. With biometric readers, there is no doubt who is actually requesting access. And while possible, it’s unlikely motorists will share their license plate with an authorized party.”

In terms of convenience, public parking has made navigation and payment much easier. Lots that were formerly managed by staff on a 24-7 basis have slowly given way to unmanned facilities with fully automated systems.

Once drivers enter the lot, they can be informed of areas with space availabilities via digital signage. This is meant to reduce search time to a minimal, cutting down on carbon emissions and driver frustration.

“Anyone who’s ever entered a public parking lot can tell you how frustrating it is searching for an open space to park, especially in a multi-level garage. For this reason, public parking garages are now implementing systems in which each parking space has a red and green light above each space indicating its availability. Red normally indicates the space is unavailable. Green normally indicates the space is available,” Reed said.

There are different payment methods available, including RFID, tokens, and ANPR, whereby the license plate is registered upon entry. While leaving, the driver only needs to enter the license plate number on the autopay system, pay, and exit. “E-Zpass tags were designed to improve traffic flow and the billing process. Image capture devices which recognize plates and are tied to the owner’s credit card will likewise improve access to parking garages,” he said.

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