New car parking technology for City of Melbourne

On April 20th the City of Melbourne formally approved a $5.48 million project to modernise the way parking is managed across the city which had been unveiled earlier this year.

The new technology, which will be rolled out between 1 July and 30 October this year, includes the installation of in-ground sensors in more than 4,600 parking spaces, license plate recognition systems, a pay by phone trial and updated hand held devices for parking officers.

Just a few details from the press release issued by Council:

In-ground sensors: the devices will record vehicle movements in and out of parking bays. A five minute grace period will be built in and once a vehicle has overstayed the limit a signal will be sent to the nearest parking officer’s hand-held device.

Licence plate recognition system: the technology will be used to identify a vehicle via its number plate in some residential areas. The system consists of a high speed digital camera, integrated GPS system and optical character recognition software and will be installed in the suburbs of Flemington, Kensington, North Melbourne and Carlton.

Pay by Phone trial: the system will allow motorists to pay on-street parking fees using a mobile phone. The current coin option using existing machines and meters will remain in place. The trial will take place in a small section in the northern end of the city from 1 September.

Updating hand held devices: the new machines will allow Council officers to receive a message when a vehicle has overstayed the time restrictions (plus the grace period).  The officer will still be responsible for issuing the actual infringement manually.

To coincide with the rollout of new technology, the City of Melbourne will engage in a community information campaign, including signs indicating where sensors operate, information for local traders and residents, and advertising across publications and websites.

Melbourne’s media has been quick to jump on the scheme, with the Herald Sun claiming that the new technology is expected to catch an additional 150 overstaying vehicles per day, pushing the city’s revenue from parking fines to almost $50 million per annum. This may very well be justified if a recent article published in the UK’s Telegraph (Pay and Dismay). Around 40 councils are adding metered spaces or permit zones to streets where drivers park for free. According to the article, Britain’s 30 million motorists are expected to pay around £1.5 billion in pay and display charges, permits and fines in the current financial year!

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