THE ICES PERMITSMARTI SYSTEM
Historic UK Towns Ring In Changes for Parking Permits
Motorists who are visiting or live and work in two popular Dorset County, UK, towns famed for their magnificent Priory and Minster churches are now benefitting from a comprehensive and cutting-edge permit-management solution.
Our PermitSmarti system — from Imperial Civil Enforcement Solutions (ICES) — introduced early last year by Christchurch and East Dorset government councils, has transformed efficiencies in the allocation and verification of a complex range of parking permits in Christchurch and the towns of East Dorset, and eliminated the issues associated with paper-based permits.
“As we are in such a popular area for all-year-round tourism, there’s a huge demand for parking spaces,” said Peter Clements, Car Parks Team Leader for Christchurch and East Dorset councils.
“The effective use and allocation of many different types of parking permit [are] absolutely vital for businesses and residents, as well as regular visitors from surrounding catchment areas and tourists staying in the area,” he said. “But the administrative and enforcement demands of such a wide range of permits, as well as the specific criteria for different carparks, were proving to be quite a challenge – especially with both councils having previously used widely differing approaches.
“The introduction of PermitSmarti has changed all of that. We now have one system that’s user-friendly, reliable and very responsive,” Clements said. “The use of virtual permits has overcome the limitations, frustrations and costs of our earlier paper-based system.
“And, significantly, the efficiency improvements have been matched with outstanding customer feedback,” he said.
Our system benefits from a seamless link to the authorities’ 3Sixty back-office processing and parking management system, and is easily configured to meet specific operational requirements.
The system features full self-serve functionality, with all permit applications completed by customers on the Dorset for You website, and benefits from the convenience of 24/7 accessibility and a range of online payment options.
Once the permit has been confirmed, the back-office records are updated instantaneously, so that patrolling Enforcement Officers (CEOs) can be sure the data on their DTX30 handheld terminals is fully up-to-date at all times.
Steps have been taken to capitalize on online, evidence-based information to simplify the processing and payment of all permit-related penalty charge notices (PCNs).
The intuitive portal on the council website is compatible for use on all mobile devices, and covers all customer requirements from registration and initial applications, through to renewals and requesting a suspension as well as all payment functions.
Almost everything can be customized according to the requirements of a local authority, including permit types, price schemes, validity periods and required documentation, as well as frequently asked questions and help texts.
In the case of Christchurch and East Dorset, the system is designed to provide options for residents, non-residents and businesses from full or long-stay annual permits through to street trader permits and specific permits for the Leisure Centers and even the East Dorset Bowls Club.
“We have worked closely with the support team to ensure that the system has evolved to meet all eventualities and ever-changing regulatory requirements,” Clements said.
“Such a close partnership has not only helped ICES to refine and develop the functionality of the system,” he said, but has also proved to be particularly effective in meeting our specific permit needs – in particular, a reliable system for over a thousand disabled permit holders.
“We’re absolutely delighted with the results,” Clements said. “The versatility and quick-search functionality of the system has been a real eye-opener, and we’re already looking to capitalize further on the success of the self-serve online resources and access to real-time data.”
With all back-office staff and the authorities’ nine Civil Enforcement Officers having completed a full training program, the system for Christchurch and East Dorset councils went live in early 2016.
Well-attended Open Days to provide a hands-on introduction to the new virtual permit solution were held early on for members of the public at the councils’ offices in Furzehill, on the outskirts of Wimborne, and in Christchurch. At each event, assistance was provided to those individuals without access to computers or the internet, and dedicated computer stations have remained in place at both council offices.
Ashley Bijster, Managing Director of Imperial
Civil Enforcement Solutions, can be reached through www.Imperial.co.uk.
THE FUTURE OF ACCESS TECHNOLOGY
Long before the first parking facility used automatic vehicle identification (AVI) technology, TransCore was introducing a new way to improve access on U.S. toll roads. Having developed radio frequency identification (RFID) transportation applications at Los Alamos National Labs in the 1980s, TransCore knew this breakthrough could easily merge with AVI to create greater efficiencies in parking management.
The result is a flexible and adaptable solution that seamlessly integrates with access control and management software, as well as operations systems. The new technology provides parking facility management teams with greater accountability in administering parking access privileges and improves the accuracy of patron databases. Handheld RFID readers also enable immediate, on-foot enforcement.
As facilities began rolling out these new systems, it became immediately clear that the benefits went well beyond operational efficiencies. Both facility managers and parking patrons realized a newfound level of security. The hands-free, automatic technology enables motorists to safely remain in their vehicles, and unauthorized motorists are easily prevented from entering the facility.
Convenience and sustainability also play key roles in AVI-based access. Motorists no longer have to roll down their windows to pull a ticket, punch in an access code, or swipe a badge. Instead, as they approach the facility gate, the RFID reader reads the in-vehicle transponder or tag to automatically open the gate, enabling motorists to drive straight through, significantly reducing idling times and the resulting vehicle emissions.
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 also restricting and monitoring access of delivery vehicles or vendors. All together, these systems ultimately improve security, throughput, and operational efficiency.