Cornell University selected Genetec to upgrade parking enforcement solution

Cornell University selected Genetec to upgrade parking enforcement solution

Business Challenge

Cornell University is a private Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. Over 21,000 students frequent the 2000-acre main campus, which includes 14 colleges and schools spread throughout 608 buildings. The university offers 276 exterior parking lots and two parking garages, ranging from 10 to 1100 spaces each, to accommodate vehicle owners and drivers coming onto campus. A mix of permitted and timelimited parking options are available.

Always staying on the cusp of the latest developments, Cornell University was looking for a better way to enforce parking regulations and improve compliance. While officers worked tirelessly to enforce parking areas on foot, sometimes lots would only be checked once or twice a day. Handling lot counts was even more tedious for staff, who found it difficult to juggle permit checks, citations issuance and vehicle counting.

After hearing about another university who had seen tremendous efficiency gains with automatic license plate recognition (ALPR), Cornell University sparked a discussion with Genetec, provider of the AutoVu ALPR system. After in-depth evaluation of the solution, decision-makers were convinced the system’s extreme accuracy and ease-of-use would help their officers become more efficient at enforcing parking regulations across campus.

AMS Boosts Parking System Performance to 100% Uptime

During the deployment, two AutoVu Sharp ALPR cameras were installed on the University’s existing parking enforcement vehicle. Immediately, officers were covering more lots in less time, identifying more scofflaws and promoting better compliance across the campus.

Unfortunately, compatibility issues with the University’s IT policies began hindering the system’s performance. “We adhere to very strict IT rules and practices which resulted in the creation of huge barriers for the AutoVu ALPR solution that was hosted on our servers,” said Amy Lynne Ross, Parking Systems and Communications Manager at Cornell University.

Genetec sent technicians to implement work-arounds, but the scheduled network updates caused an unpredictable, and often frustrating, environment in which to run the AutoVu system. Ever-tenacious in finding a solution, Genetec recommended moving to AutoVu Managed Services (AMS), the cloud-hosted parking enforcement service. AMS offered Cornell University a powerful and reliable ALPR system, without the hassle and costs of procuring servers, managing updates or handling fixes.

“When AutoVu was hosted on our local servers, we could only use our system 50% of the time. With AMS, all of our headaches have disappeared, and we’ve had zero downtime. Genetec went above and beyond to make sure we were happy and well-informed about the AutoVu system and that has resulted in our team having a strong sense of confidence and ownership in the parking enforcement solution,” said Ross.

Parking Spaces Checked in One Hour with AutoVu

Today, officers use the AutoVu-equipped vehicle to enforce a permitted shopping plaza lot and 13 other time-limited zones in what’s known on campus as flex lots. The flex lots accommodate various parking regulations such as free two-hour parking for visitors and paid parking for longer durations. Operators simply select the zone to enforce on the touch-enabled, in-vehicle laptop and drive up and down lanes, while the AutoVu cameras scan license plates and alert operators to unpermitted, overtime or scofflaw vehicles.


Operators simply select the zone to enforce on the touch-enabled, in-vehicle laptop and drive up and down lanes, while the AutoVu cameras scan license plates and alert operators to unpermitted, overtime or scofflaw vehicles.

“With the AutoVu system, our officers are able to enforce the lots efficiently and find scofflaws far more frequently than they could on foot. Our officers can identify all scofflaws across campus within one hour,” explained Ross.

With the ALPR system working at peak efficiency, the parking department has made the decision to fully convert the enforcement vehicle into a mobile office. According to Ross, “Our officers can now patrol the campus, and when it’s safe, pull over and take a call or look information up in the system. The opportunity to create mobile dispatch unit helps us fully maximize our resources.”

Lot occupancy counts have also been simplified for officers. The AutoVu system automatically counts parking vehicles as officers drive through the lots looking for violators.

Field managers can pull reports from the back-office system and use the collected information to make strategic parking decisions. When there is a dispute over a parking ticket, a quick search helps managers find valuable evidence from the AutoVu system, such as a vehicle and license plate pictures associated to time and location tags, which offers quick resolution and improved customer service.

Driving Toward Efficiency

The AutoVu system is currently integrated with a permit management solution by T2 Systems. In the next upgrade phase, Cornell University plans to integrate Digital Payment Technologies Luke II pay stations and Park Mobile Pay-by-Cell to provide greater payment convenience to transient users.

In the meantime, Cornell University will continue maximizing the potential of its AutoVu system. “As someone who has been tasked with implementing systems with ever-diminishing IT resources, this hosted AMS solution takes so much off my plate. I don’t have to deal with the headaches, and figure out why is something down or if I implemented it correctly. I simply rely on the Genetec team to make sure everything is working, and that’s invaluable to me,” Ross concluded.
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