By Joel Perri, Park It Right
Being asked to write about the latest in technology in the parking industry had me thinking. The reality is parking enforcement tech is never designed with the multi-family and apartment communities in mind. There is a constant flow of ideas to improve the parking enforcement industry with a majority of the focus on municipalities and other government-based agencies.
The tech is limited to the larger budgets of a government or tax funded parking enforcement program. This is due to the extremely high cost of technology-based enforcement such as License Plate Recognition (LPR) systems that cost tens of thousands of dollars with little real return on the investment. Cloud Based Parking Permits is the most user friendly for a multi-family community. Most other tech pertains to meters, gates, sensor parking and other components used for parking compliance and enforcement.
The latest tech introduced was the Barnacle which is an electronic windshield boot that looks like a large folding orange rectangle. It is attached to the windshield via two large suction cups that attach to the windshield with 1000 pounds per square inch of force. The booted person calls in to pay to release the boot. The Barnacle is then returned to a small building located on the property.
Parking enforcement and compliance companies focus is on the government sector which leaves few options for private communities such as HOA and apartments. Most enforcement is still conducted mainly by towing companies that may use a digital camera, warning stickers, and email with a few using cloud-based enforcement programs.
Trying to solve parking with technology will not accomplish the goal. The technology available is only designed to support the actual act of walking the property and physically looking at each vehicle to ensure their compliance with the property parking rules. The real goal of any community is to gain compliance with as little impact as possible. Unfortunately, the enforcement action always creates a reaction. These reactions are what the technology has been designed to refute or verify.
There are two driving factors creating the huge parking problem multi-family communities are now facing. The first reality is that our society has empowered people to feel entitled to do as they please regardless of its effect on others and often without consequences. The second contributing factor is high property values have increased the need for people to live together in units and communities not designed to handle the additional vehicles. These realities have dramatically affected parking in a negative way for most multi-family communities.
When a community begins enforcement there becomes a real need for the capability to ensure that enforcement action is valid and proper. If the vehicle was in violation of no permit parking, proof is going to need to be readily available to refute the automatic claim that “my permit was in the car.” If they were enforced for parking in the fire lane, they will state “I was only there for a minute” even though they call an hour later.
It is these areas where parking technology is designed to provide verification of violation when an action is taken. We use an automated phone service that records all incoming calls allowing our company to forward any conversation to the management company or board. Our field agents wear body cameras for use during any interaction with a violator or just a passerby. These are to refute the false allegations heard daily by management companies and HOA boards about the conduct of parking enforcement employees.
Cloud based parking enforcement management programs allow for GPS location of any violation. Pictures with time and date stamp allow for instant verification. Notifications to the management company and board members are often provided if desired, when an enforcement action is taken. An email notification with pictures and reason for enforcement is automatically sent to the appropriate designated parties. This ensures that the enforcement action is known with supporting documentation that the management company will need when the phone calls start.
Parking Enforcement tech is just a support tool for the foot patrols of the enforcement agent. Parking enforcement begins by getting out of the vehicle and walking a property to ensure all vehicles are in compliance with the property parking rules. Most companies don’t bother to take the time to put in the foot work needed to ensure people are complying with parking rules.
Joel Perri developed Park It Right, after 40 years in the towing industry, to provide a much softer approach to parking enforcement. Taking into consideration all the problems facing multi-family communities, he developed a Remote Release Vehicle Boot and Boot Return Station receiving our Patent in April of 2017. We took into account the Colorado sun, the problems electronics encounter in the elements and the boot had to be inexpensive. Our No Tow Solution boot was designed without the bells and whistles but is extremely effective for multi-family communities.