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The Parking Management Blog by SecurePark

Digital Tire Chalking: Using LPR technology to take the (literal) chalk out of the equation

Posted by Ryan Miyagishima

digital tire chalk parking enforcement.jpgHave you ever seen someone lean over, next to a vehicle, and mark one of the tires with something? If so, that 'something' is probably chalk, and that person is probably a parking patroller, trying to enforce a time limit for that parking space.

It's a solid-enough method, effective in some scenarios, but has its downsides. Luckily, as with many things that fit that description, new technology is available to rid the process of those downsides.

In a perfect world, all of your parkers would be registered, and you could monitor your parking against a database of these registrations. If that's possible - great! There are some excellent tools out there to easily obtain those validations, and even more that will help you use them to regulate your parking.

In some instances, however, it isn't possible, for a number of reasons.

  • Parking meters are an easy way to validate, but they're prohibitively expensive to get set up, and repairs or replacements will dent the wallet, too.
  • Web or tablet-kiosk registration is possible, but if there are multiple entrances to your business, it might be a challenge to set up enough kiosks, and/or to alert your patrons that they must register online.
  • If you're a quick-stop business (fast food, for example), it's unrealistic to get your customers to register every time they visit you. You still need to make sure that parking isn't being abused beyond those quick visits, though.

So if you can't get visitors to register, how to you keep your parking in check? Time limits, of course!

Now, to enforce these time limits, the parking industry came up with a great idea: mark a vehicle's tire with a tiny bit of chalk, come back after the time limit is up, and if there are any vehicles on the lot with chalk - boom, you have your violators.

There are a few problems with this process, though.

  • Rain or snow might wash away (or at the very least obscure) the mark, and cause your patroller to miss it.
  • If someone is wise to the chalk operation, they could wipe the mark off, or move their vehicle a bit, hiding it.
  • The process of leaning over twice for every vehicle is time-consuming and arduous, after a while. Because of that, how do you even know that your patrollers are chalking every time?
  • Realistically, you're only patrolling one cycle per time-limit, or you need to write out a time stamp with chalk. This is obviously a bit more intrusive than a small mark, and your customers may not be pleased.

Lucky for you, a parking enforcement tool with License Plate Recognition (LPR) capabilities may resolve these issues (obvious spoiler alert: ours takes care of them all).

Rather than physically chalking each tire, SecurePark's LPR does what we endearingly call 'Digital Tire Chalking' - which removes both the chalk and the tire from the process, ironically enough.

Patrollers will utilize the same process as old-school tire chalking, except they'll be digitally tagging license plates with their phone or tablet's camera, instead. LPR will scan the plate in an instant, log it in the system, and if it's scanned again outside of the time limit, the patroller will be alerted and can issue a violation.

Added bonus? This data is all tracked in the system, which will help you resolve disputes over fines, and keep tabs on your patrol force. You can also exclude permit holders from the time limit, if you want, and you can make passes as frequently as you wish.

Thankfully, SecurePark's LPR doesn't require any additional equipment, and is accessible and affordable even for small-scale parking operations. If this sounds like it could be helpful to you, click the button below to tell us how you operate your parking, and we'll come back to you with a tailored solution and pricing!


(Photo: Aaron/Flickr)

Topics: securepark enforcement, lpr, license plate recognition, tire-chalking

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