University of Stirling


University of Stirling

Editor’s note: During September 2000, the University of Stirling in the UK introduced the use of automatic number-plate recognition to control and report traffic access on campus. In this report, Mr. Andrew Duncan, the assistant director of property management at the university, outlines the functionality of the system and the positive improvements it has delivered.

For a number of years, the University of Stirling had experienced severe parking problems on campus, particularly around the main academic buildings. Studies suggested the problem was not capacity related but rather one of distribution. In other words, staff and students wanted to park adjacent to their final destination rather than walk from more remote parking areas. Several solutions were investigated with campus entry/exit control barriers being selected as the most appropriate scheme.
Under the new parking arrangements, staff and students wishing to use the university car parks are required to register their car and display a valid permit in the vehicle windscreen. All registered vehicles are entered on the parking system database so that the control equipment can identify those with a valid permit and allow them access onto campus. Those without a valid permit, including visitors, are required to enter via a staffed control booth or call for assistance by means of an intercom system at each of the entry barriers.
When a registered vehicle arrives at an entry gate, a camera scans the front license plate (all UK vehicles must have a front plate) and the digitized data is transferred to a database where the valid permit is confirmed. If authorized, the gate is opened and the vehicle allowed to proceed. No access card is required.
Free exit
Since all entrance to the parking areas are controlled by the scanning of license plates, no anti-passback requirement was deemed necessary. The exit barriers are therefore controlled via vehicle loop detection and exit details are not recorded in the control system database. However, the system is sufficiently flexible to allow the addition of this facility at a later date if required.
Vehicles that are found to be parked illegally are noted and a warning sticker placed on the vehicle informing the owner that they have breached the parking regulations set out by the university. After two warnings, if there is a further breach of the regulations within that parking year, the vehicle is ‘black listed’ and access to the Campus is denied at the access control barriers.
The new parking scheme was introduced in September 2000 and has proved to be extremely successful in achieving its main aim of reducing dangerous and illegal parking across the campus.
The access equipment was supplied by Designa; the number plate recognition system installed by I-TO-I.

Andrew Duncan is assistant director of property management at Stirling University, Stirling, Scotland.


Requirements for Stirling System
* Entry/Exit Barrier Control System. For the entry barriers, two control equipment options were considered: Proximity Tags and Number Plate Recognition
* A number plate recognition system (installed by DESIGNA UK/I-TO-I) was selected on a number of grounds:
* No equipment is required within users vehicles.
* Visitor cars can be pre-registered for entry on a specific day.
* Number plates are vehicle specific and cannot be transferred.

Article contributed by:
Andrew Duncan
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