Parking Focus: LPR - Parking Enforcement's Best Friend

License Plate Recognition is a natural add-on to video and access control systems that integrators already offer

Since use of LPR technology began, Aspen’s Parking Enforcement Department has even helped to apprehend criminals when the system alerted them to a warranted vehicle and they were able to pass the location on to police.

LPR Makes Paying Easier

One growing trend in municipal parking and paid parking lots is ‘pay-by-plate’ technology. With pay-by-plate, consumers enter their license plate number at the payment kiosk to purchase parking time, make their payment and go. The license plates themselves are added to a database of permitted vehicles and updated in real-time to the LPR software in enforcement vehicles. A parking enforcement officer can then patrol the lot or the district to automatically identify the vehicles that should be ticketed.

One of the country’s first Pay-by-Plate Parking (PBP) systems can be found in Borough of State College, Pa. Home to more than 42,000 residents, State College Borough is a bustling college town that attracts many visitors with its popular restaurants, nightlife, active arts scene and abundant retail options. “Until recently, we were operating a very diverse, manually operated parking system with at least 5 or 6 different types of parking permits including the type you display on your dashboard, or hang on the rear view mirror — as well as different systems for parking lots, street parking and resident permits,” explains Charles DeBow, Parking Manager, Borough of State College. “We wanted to create a new type of unified parking system throughout the Borough that would make the lives of our residents and visitors simpler.”

Having recently installed LPR cameras on their parking enforcement vehicles, the Borough’s parking officers are now able to automatically capture license plate numbers to enforce parking permits, time-limited zone rules and parking lot checks. Using the LPR software installed inside the car on a ruggedized laptop, the Borough’s parking officers are able to easily monitor incoming reads from LPR cameras as they go about their patrols. The system automatically captures license plate characters, vehicle images, time stamps and GPS coordinates — making it easier to enforce parking restrictions, while decreasing the number of parking ticket disputes and increasing compliance.

“We have only had our Genetec LPR system installed for a few weeks now and already the system is proving its worth,” DeBow says. “We have about 2,000 cars that are eligible to be booted at this stage and the LPR system has already proven to be a highly effective tool at finding the people who owe us money with very little effort. Our parking enforcement officers can just drive around and the system automatically scans license plates and compares them with our database of permitted vehicles or scofflaws and alerts our staff when they need to take action. At this rate, we expect the system to pay for itself in 18 months or less.”

Some of the more sophisticated LPR systems available on the market today such as Genetec’s AutoVu (learn more about this product at can easily integrate with third-party ticketing systems, pay stations and pay-by-phone applications, so that parking facilities can incorporate this advanced LPR system as part of a comprehensive Pay-by-Plate ecosystem.


Chris Yigit is Business Development Manager for the AutoVu product at Genetec. Request more information about the company by visiting