Licence Plate Recognition Technology (LPR) for Parking Enforcement
Effective 14 May 2012 Wagga Wagga City Council Rangers will be using a vehicle equipped with a camera and computer to monitor parking restrictions within the City of Wagga Wagga.
Why has Council introduced this system?
Council is responsible for patrolling car parks and roads to ensure compliance to parking restrictions. A review of enforcement activities identified it was necessary to introduce technology to keep pace with the monitoring of parking in the city. With the continued growth of the central business district and the continued development of suburban commercial retail outlets there was a need to improve the delivery of parking control.
Council currently undertakes enforcement of parking restrictions for approximately 6190 car parking spaces across the city including 22 off street car parks.
What are the benefits of using Licence Plate Recognition Technology (LPR)?
The benefits of the introduction of LPR include:
- Improved management of parking enforcement generally and in particular will enable enforcement in all weather conditions
- Increased efficiency in monitoring parking restrictions
- Better utilisation of staff resources
- Improved working conditions as a result of not chalking tyres
- Improved OH&S associated with staff working in close proximity to the roadway and vehicles
Why do council staff patrol the car parks and streets?
The patrols are undertaken to ensure drivers comply with the relevant parking restrictions throughout the city. These laws are in place to allow pedestrian and vehicle movements to be completed with safety in areas such as pedestrian crossing, bus zones, loading zones and school zones.
Enforcement is also necessary in other areas to afford a suitable turnover of traffic in timed parking areas to allow community members easy access to shops, businesses and services. These include the car parks, both public and private and all the signposted on street areas.
How does it work?
A camera and computer are fitted to a motor vehicle which is driven by Council staff. As this vehicle passes stationary vehicles parked in restricted areas a photograph is taken of the license plate of the parked vehicle. The exact time, date and location of the parked vehicle is recorded on the computer. When the prescribed time limit for the area has expired the LPR vehicle will again patrol the area. All the parked vehicles will again have their license plates photographed. The LPR system will then compare the images from the first patrol to those of the second. It will then confirm through photographic evidence if a vehicle has remained in particular place for the specified period of time.
It is estimated that between 1000 to 1200 vehicles per hour could be monitored by this device.
Does it work in poor light and the rain?
The advantage with the introduction of LPR is the better management of parking enforcement generally and in particular will enable enforcement in all weather conditions.
The LPR system works under all light conditions, including underground carparks such as the Marketplace.
What does it look like?
The LPR system is fitted to a VW station wagon. The camera is affixed to the front passenger's window and the computer is secured in the rear. The vehicle is clearly marked with the Council branded decal on the doors with the words "MOBILE PARKING PATROL" on each side.
What happens if I think my car has been detected?
It is a driver's responsibility to ensure their vehicle does not exceed the prescribed time limit or stand in an area to which the vehicle is not permitted. Drivers who stand in timed parking areas should ensure they have moved their vehicle from that area prior to the expiry of the sign posted time limit. Parking areas are defined by control signs or kerb alignments. Drivers should ensure they move their vehicle completely out of a given zone to ensure the vehicle is not detected.
Do Rangers still chalk the tyres?
The community can still expect to see parking officers patrolling by chalking tyres in areas where the LPR system is not operating on a given day.
How will I know if the LPR has recorded my vehicle?
You will not be aware if your vehicle has been photographed by the LPR vehicle. No indicators are left on the vehicle or the tyre. Should your vehicle exceed the prescribed time limit of a restricted area a penalty notice may be issued directly to the vehicle or may be posted to the vehicles owner.
Will LPR know if I have moved my vehicle?
Yes, it is anticipated that motorists will come and go from restricted parking areas. The LPR system has a GPS and photographic equipment and will detect that your vehicle has moved and no further action will be taken.
Do I have a right of appeal against a penalty?
A motorist's right to appeal a penalty issued by LPR system is the same as other penalty notices. Appeals or representations may be forwarded directly to Office of State Debt Recovery at the address stated on the penalty or the mater may be heard at the Local Court.
What happens if I have a mobility permit displayed?
Mobility permit holders are exempt from certain laws in relation to timed parking. As each vehicle is detected by LPR system for an alleged offence the parking officer will inspect the vehicle prior to the issue of a penalty notice, should a mobility permit be lawfully affixed and displayed in the vehicle then no penalty will be issued.
What does the LPR technology cost ?
Council at its January 2012 meeting endorsed forward funding $100,000 from the CBD Parking Reserve in 2011/12 for the introduction of Licence Plate Recognition Technology (LPR).
Cost recovery would be paid back into the Reserve from the anticipated parking income in 2012/13. The total cost of this project has an expected payback period of approximately 1-2 years. Additional yearly income (over and above the projected budgeted results) would be transferred back into the CBD Parking Reserve in order to fund future infrastructure projects.
Who sets the penalty notice fees?
The amount nominated on a penalty notice is set by the NSW Government and not Wagga Wagga City Council. Penalty notice amounts are standard across the whole of New South Wales.
The time prescribed limit for on street parking is set by the Wagga Wagga Traffic Committee. This committee is made up of representatives of Council, Police Roads and Marine Service and the Local Members Office.
The time limits displayed in the private car parks form part of the agreement between the car park owner and Council. These times are negotiated to ensure a fair balance between the commercial needs of the store and the community usage of the car park.
Will there be any changes to parking restrictions?
The advantage with the introduction of LPR is the better management of parking enforcement generally and won't result in any changes to parking restrictions or hours of enforcement.