How RFID technology changed the conversation from access to security
More than five years ago, TransCore and Toledo Ticket Co. introduced wireless access control to universities, hospitals, gated communities, corporate facilities and parking garages in the form of a radio frequency identification (RFID)-based hang tag. This groundbreaking technology merged automatic vehicle identification (AVI) with RFID technology to open the door to greater efficiencies in parking management.
Flexible and adaptable, the technology could seamlessly integrate into each facility’s access control and management software, as well as operations systems. The new technology provided greater accountability in managing parking access privileges and improved the accuracy of patron databases. Handheld RFID readers also enabled immediate, on-foot enforcement.
As facilities rolled out these systems, they quickly realized that the benefits went well beyond operational efficiencies. Both facility managers and parking patrons were afforded a newfound level of security.
Motorists pulling into parking facilities no longer had to roll down their windows to pull a ticket, punch in an access code, or swipe a badge. Now, as drivers approach the gate, the RFID reader at the entrance of the facility reads the tags in the vehicles and automatically opens the gate, enabling motorists to drive straight through.
This hands-free, automatic technology keeps motorists safe in their vehicles, and prevents unauthorized motorists from entering the facility. Hang tags also offer an added level of security by enabling motorists to remove identifying workplace or school decals from their vehicles when not in use.
For parking facilities in high-traffic urban areas, RFID access technology is an integral component of their security systems. These facility managers can now dedicate parking areas for specific groups, while restricting and monitoring access of delivery vehicles or vendors. All together, these systems ultimately improve security, throughput and operational efficiency.
University of Texas at El Paso
For Alisha Henry, a world history teacher and co-head cheerleading coach at Flower Mound High School outside Dallas, RFID hang tags offered a welcome sense of security when she attended night classes at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP).
“The tags made entering the parking garage so much easier,” she said. “As soon as I pulled up, the gate automatically opened. Though UTEP is a very safe campus, it just made me feel more comfortable, especially since fewer people were around at night.”
Like UTEP, other colleges and universities face unique parking challenges. To ensure the highest level of security, campuses must often provide distinct parking for each type of guest, including faculty, staff, students, alumni and visitors.
With the RFID tag in place, each registered parking patron can quickly and easily enter and exit the parking facility on campus. Not only does this reduce congestion before and after classes and work shifts, RFID access has been shown to reduce carbon emissions by reducing idle times 25% to 30%.
California University of Pennsylvania
Mary Kirk, Management Technician with the Department of Parking and Transportation at the California University of Pennsylvania, about 35 miles south of Pittsburgh, knows first-hand the benefits of an RFID parking system. She joined the university in 2010 just as the AVI system was being installed.
Before AVI, Kirk referred to its parking system as a “hunting” system. Faculty, staff and students were issued sticker tags each semester and took their chances on finding parking spots.
“My daughter was a student here at the time, and she’d frequently call me saying that she had been driving around the parking lot for 45 minutes, just trying to find an open spot,” Kirk said. “Hang tags and AVI technology have changed all that.”
Today, with 19 parking lots and more than 3,000 hang tags issued, each parking patron is automatically assigned a specific lot, guaranteeing a parking space whenever they enter.
The technology allows Kirk to easily manage and control how many permits are sold, how many vehicles enter and exit the lots, and even when permits need to be turned off if payments are delinquent.
In addition to these conveniences, Kirk explained a benefit to AVI technology that others may have never considered. The automatic system enables her to assist Campus Police with investigations. She can report exactly when a vehicle has entered and exited the parking facility, helping identify anyone who shouldn’t be on campus.
“We’ve had many colleges and townships contact us to learn about our experiences with RFID hang tags and AVI technology,” Kirk said, “and we’re always happy to share our positive experiences,”
For more information, visit www.transcore.com/rfid.
Tom Carter, President of Toledo Ticket Co., can be reached at email@example.com. Contact Susan McDermott, Market Manager of TransCore RFID Parking & Access Control Solutions, North America, at firstname.lastname@example.org.