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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