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Parking Enforcement is the Killer App

On Tuesday we highlighted a Times of London story about the London borough of Westminster turning to an airline-style variable pricing system in an attempt to make up parking revenue that has been lost since the introduction of congestion pricing. CNet is reporting that Westminster has figured out another way to make up the lost funds. They're using a wifi-based closed circuit camera network for automated parking enforcement.

Westminster City Council is busy installing networked security camerasthat can recognize parking permits and the plates of offendingvehicles.

The system means parking tickets can be issued without a human witnessing the offense in person.

The parking crackdown is the most significant application to be deployed on the Westminster's Wi-Fi network, which it has built over the past year with BT."Parking enforcement is the killer application that everyone is lookingfor," said Vic Baylis, director of services at Westminster CityCouncil.

Baylis said the network could be used in two ways to tackle illegal parking.

The cameras can now recognize parking permits and theirvalidity, the plate of the offending vehicle, and the parkingrestrictions on the road in question. They can also clock the timevehicles enter timed parking spaces. Images of every parking offenseare collated and then viewed by a human operator for verificationbefore parking tickets are dispatched.

Can you imagine if New York City Business Improvement Districts, Community Boards or some other local authority had the power to manage and enforce parking like Westminster is doing? It'd almost certainly be the end of this problem.

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