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 cameras
that can recognize parking permits and the plates of offending
vehicles.

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 looking
for," said Vic Baylis, director of services at Westminster City
Council.

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

The cameras can now recognize parking permits and their
validity, the plate of the offending vehicle, and the parking
restrictions on the road in question. They can also clock the time
vehicles enter timed parking spaces. Images of every parking offense
are collated and then viewed by a human operator for verification
before 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.

  • Brooklyn

    I say, hell yeah!

  • JK

    Be very interesting to know if this can pay for itself: how much this costs to install versus new revenue and broken out per parking space, per/1000 spaces etc and how much more revenue is projected.

    Is the WiFi IT affordable outside of an overall WiFi scheme. In other words, could you take this thing from London and plonk it down in NYC?

  • ben

    how draconian is this thing, exactly?

    for instance, if your meter runs out at 2:30 and you get there at 2:31, is your ticket in the mail already?

    what about if the bumper of your car is 14 feet, 10 inches from the fire hydrant?

  • Eddie N.

    “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?”

    No.

  • JF

    I could imagine it, and it wouldn’t be any better. At least in the outer boroughs, the business associations and community boards have a complete windshield perspective. They won’t go along with anything that could be seen as making it more difficult to park, because they’re convinced that all their customers come by car – even in neighborhoods with low car ownership.

    This kind of thing would be seen as unfairly harsh on poor people who are just trying to find a place to park, and the business owners would complain that they’d go out of business if people are afraid of getting parking tickets.

    Maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but not much.

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