Sponsored Content Powered by T2 Systems
What is parking access control?
Developed for use in a variety of environments, parking access control has been around for decades. Whether municipality, airport, business, or university, individuals are granted access to a parking facility typically by presenting some form of media to a device on entry.
Parkers were often given a single form of access credential in the form of a proximity or RFID card in early systems. They were usually required to physically travel to the parking operator’s office to purchase and obtain the credential. However, this model often had zero accountability and minimal security. Credentialed parkers could easily share their access control credentials with others, leading to revenue loss and security risks for the operator.
Meanwhile, the entire process of issuing and assigning parking access credentials and billing for said access was often done through two or more separate systems without real-time integration. This created duplication of data entry, mistakes due to human error, and complex auditing processes to ensure accuracy against the various systems. Additionally, one vendor’s software updates could impact the data import and export process with the other systems.
Challenges that evolved from using multiple systems were not just felt by the parking operator, but often by the parker as well, including negative impacts, such as access denial or invoicing issues. Parking operators often hired additional staff to handle the operational and customer service impacts.
Evolution to Unified Parking Management
Today we have unified, enterprise-hosted parking management systems that combine software and hardware offerings to encompass all of an organization’s needs. Moving to a unified system solves many of the challenges faced by parking operators. A single system handling permits, access control, enforcement, and more eliminates the communication breakdowns, manual data entry, duplication of efforts, and lack of integration.
Utilizing mobile technology and leveraging parkers’ real-time access to the internet, parking operators can transfer the management of access control to each individual parker, department, company, or third party. Numerous product offerings allow parkers to purchase and maintain their access credentials online. This is not just more secure and seamless for the parker, but also enables the vendor and operator to offer parking to a larger population with less staffing and fewer capital expenditures than typically associated with parking access and revenue control systems.
The ability to monitor and control hundreds of parking lanes using a single enterprise system reduces the need for customer service agents in each facility. Parking access control exceptions can be managed from any internet capable device, whether by a customer service agent in the office or by staff out in the field.
Remote cashiering and rate push capabilities provide operators additional options for access control. Parkers who have exceeded their parking schedule or time allotment can be charged automatically, or fees can be pushed to the parking device by customer service agents for real-time payment. This can also increase compliance, as repeat parkers will know they cannot get away with gaming the system.
Now and Beyond
The expectations of parkers have evolved to include touchless options for access control and the ability to pay for parking in advance using their mobile device. Touchless options that exist today include fixed license plate recognition, AVI tags, mobile NFC credentials, mobile-based barcodes, and QR codes.
License plate recognition technology is here and continues to advance. Some solutions on the market use LPR to provide access to a facility with or without gates for an improved customer experience. Additionally, LPR combined with occupancy and wayfinding systems now provides parking operators the ability to assign access control to specific areas in a facility and charge variable rates based on where a vehicle is parked.
Mobile options continue to grow in functionality and popularity. One newer option becoming more prevalent is the virtual wallet pass, which houses a parker’s credential in their Apple or Google Wallet. Parkers simply opens the pass in their wallet and tap their phone to an NFC reader on the entry device, providing a smoother access experience.