Cutting-edge technology to block parking freeloaders

Metro is using cutting-edge technology to reclaim its Park & Ride parking spaces for transit riders

The LA transport giant is linking its new parking operation to its transit TAP card to keep parking spaces for commuters using the network, rather than non-transit users taking parking resources to avoid paying up to $5 an hour for parking elsewhere.

Metro says that until a nominal $3/day parking fee was introduced in April, transit riders arriving at busy stations often found it almost impossible to get a parking space unless they arrived extra early on weekday mornings.

To combat the congestion and stop non-commuters getting a parking free ride, Metro has brought in international specialists Global Parking Solutions (GPS) – whose US base is in Philadelphia – to create a solution to weed out the interlopers.

GPS responded with its “pay-by-plate” system but took it further to produce a smart meter that links parking to the use of Metro’s Transit Access Program (TAP) card, remembers transit riders’ license plates, and blocks non-transit users.

In what GPS believes to be a world first, the solar-powered meters also give change to cash-users.

“We had a unique and specific set of requirements,” said Frank Ching, Senior Director of Countrywide Parking Management for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

“GPS was the only company that listened and entertained the possibility of what we were trying to achieve.

“GPS essentially custom-built a meter based on our requirements. They did what they said they would do, even before any commitment from us to buy anything from them.”

The next stage of the system will see the meter interrogate Metro’s transit system to see if the person parking actually uses the transit system, to stop people using their TAP card to get cheap parking when they are not actually commuting. If they don’t ride the system within a set period they’ll be issued a citation.

GPS Global Sales and Marketing Manager Dion Knill said the whole aim of the exercise was to get maximum parking and to serve transit riders.

“Like in a lot of big cities around the world, Metro wants to get people out of their cars and on to public transport,” he said.

“But if commuters can’t use Park & Ride car parks, that defeats the purpose.

“What we’ve done is come up with an elegant solution to the problem, that is as automated as possible, as simple for the user as possible, and as effective as possible.”

The elegance of the solution extends to the stainless steel and aluminum meter machine itself, which is solar and battery-powered, has a minimal footprint, communicates its status in real time and will accept payment in bills – and gives change – credit cards and proximity cards, and via mobile phones.

“While the research and development for these machines is done in New Zealand, GPS also uses technology from world-leading companies like Passport and Genetec for features like the mobile phone payment system,” Knill said.

GPS is part of the Linfox Armaguard Group that employs more than 20,000 people worldwide. GPS has been designing and manufacturing parking solution for over 20 years, having installed over 10,000 meters throughout the USA and Canada, as well as Britain, Australia and New Zealand managing 35+ million transactions per year and controlling 72,000 spaces.

For further inquiries contact:

Dion Knill -Global Sales & Marketing Manager

21 William Pickering Drive, Albany, Auckland 0632, New Zealand

+64-9-415 6588