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Why You Should Choose License Plate Recognition (LPR) Over a Parking Gate

In the past, parking gates were considered the best solution for facilities that wanted to move away from having a full time attendant while ensuring that drivers would not try to leave without paying to park. However, the parking industry is changing fast. Savvy parking facility owners are increasingly adopting gateless solutions for their properties in order to reduce their operating expenses, make their customers happy, and increase their income. You’ve probably heard of how License Plate Recognition (LPR) systems are becoming more popular and increasingly advanced, but you’re not sure if it’s the right fit for you yet. 

At AirGarage, we are at the forefront of using LPR to improve parking operations and believe that LPR technology can help to provide a superior driver experience. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits a License Plate Recognition system can provide. 

First things first, what is LPR?

License Plate Recognition (LPR) is a technology that takes a vehicle’s license plate information from an image or group of images.

Modern License Plate Reading (LPR) systems are made up of two components: 

  • Hardware: The camera system mounted at the entrance and exit of a parking facility
  • Software: AI system built to automatically interpret images and read a vehicle’s license plate. 

Initially these systems were developed for law enforcement in order to conduct traffic surveillance and assist in solving crimes, but over the last few years Parking Management companies have increasingly looked to LPR technology to improve security and operations at their facilities.  

Why is LPR a better solution for Parking Facility Owners?

LPR technology as part of a gateless parking system helps to bring parking facilities into the future. Compared to traditional parking gate systems, LPR provides increased security, stronger oversight, reduced operational expenses, higher quality parking experiences for drivers - which means more return traffic and ultimately more revenue. 

The list of benefits for property owners include:

Enhanced Security

LPR camera systems record the entry and exit of all vehicles that access your facility, keeping a detailed log of vehicle data and accompanying camera footage that can be easily viewed later if an incident needs to be investigated. Some LPR systems, like those provided by AirGarage, take this one step further through a direct integration with over 3000 law enforcement organizations nationwide, allowing every vehicle that accesses your property to be instantly compared to a list of known offenders in your area and automatically triggering a police response if one is detected. 

Eliminate Operational Expenses

Parking gates need constant maintenance and require both up-front costs to install them as well as expensive service contracts to ensure that someone will be available to fix them when they go down. LPR systems provided by AirGarage are installed at no cost to property owners, and come with a lifetime of free service, so in the rare event a camera has a malfunction they will be replaced quickly and at no additional cost. With LPR, you can also eliminate expenses like wifi for the garage, since the camera systems are typically LTE powered, as well as things like the paper tickets that have to be constantly restocked.

Decrease Violators through Automated Enforcement

LPR cameras combined with boots-on-the-ground enforcement are a powerful combination to improve compliance rates at your property and to automatically catch and act on potential violators. Every vehicle that enters your property equipped with AirGarage’s LPR system is scanned and then the license plate number is interpreted by our software to determine how to respond. Drivers that have been to your facility before will have a new rental started for them automatically as soon as the license plate number is read, and they are notified through a text message or push notification - creating a seamless and easy parking experience. Drivers that have not been to your facility before are tracked, and after a brief grace period if they still have not paid to park AirGarage’s enforcement teams in the area are alerted to take action - and if a driver manages to leave the facility before enforcement teams arrived a parking violation will automatically be sent to them by mail (automated ticket mailing is subject to State regulations, but is currently permitted in 44/50 states).

Improved Driver Experience

LPR systems provide multiple benefits to drivers as we will explore below - but the most important one is convenience. Seamless entry & exit combined with a fully automated payment experience allows your customers to park and get on with their day instead of worrying about losing their gate ticket or having to stop their car and swipe a credit card at the exit gate on their way out. Driver’s want to park where it’s most convenient, so a streamlined process powered by LPR keeps them happy and turns one-time visitors into regular customers.

Why do Drivers prefer LPR over gated parking facilities?

Installing an LPR system at your property means no more delays for drivers getting into or out of your facility, no more stress about lost tickets, and easier payment options. 

Benefits for drivers include: 

No More Lost Tickets

Keeping track of parking tickets provided by gated systems often results in stress, unnecessary fees when a driver loses them, and delays at your exit points when each vehicle has to stop a search for the parking ticket they misplaced in order to scan it at your exit gate before leaving. With LPR, there are no tickets to keep track of, since all vehicles are tracked simply by scanning their license plate - as soon as they exit the facility their rentals are ended for them automatically, creating a stress-free driver experience.

Reduced Traffic, Easy Entry & Exit

LPR solutions streamline the arrival and departure experience at your facility. With a gateless system, there is no need for drivers to stop and try to pull a ticket or interact with a kiosk which can back up traffic and lead to significant delays, especially during peak times. Few things frustrate drivers more than being trapped in a parking garage because of a malfunctioning gate system, and delays caused by gates at the entrance of a facility can pose a significant safety risk if traffic backs up into public roadways. LPR allows your drivers to enjoy the benefits of a gateless system without sacrificing security.

Convenient Payment Options

Drivers want to pay for parking and get on with their day as quickly as possible. They don’t want to learn how to interact with a new kiosk or worry about scratching their car as they try to get as close as possible to the parking gate so they can swipe their credit card on the way out. Mobile payment options allow drivers to pay on their own device, making the experience fast and easy for drivers and reducing the risk of lost revenue when the gate system goes offline. LPR systems can be used to enhance the driver experience even further, by automating the check in and check out process each time they visit your property.

Want to learn more about how LPR technology is powering the future of parking operations? 

AirGarage utilizes license plate recognition cameras at our parking facilities to monitor driver activity, automate parking enforcement, and to improve the driver experience. If you think that LPR technology could benefit your parking facility, reach out to AirGarage today to learn more!  

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