Victor Hill, CAPP, Account Manager
T2’s Parking Perspectives series draws from the experiences of T2ers that have previously worked in parking departments at universities, municipalities, and operators, including many who are former T2 customers. From this experience comes a level of expertise that understands parking and mobility from a holistic perspective, helping us provide better service and solutions to our customers.
What good is technology without policy behind it? An organization can have the best backend software, the most reliable pay stations and PARCS, or detailed analytics, but without competent policy to govern usage and enforcement, these game-changing solutions rarely reach their potential.
“We create all these policies to accommodate the exceptions to the rules,” one of our customers said recently, but there’s often a reluctance to adjust policy to ensure the technology works as intended and operational efficiencies are realized.
One of the most important exercises to do before deploying any new solution is to develop a list of all the areas of your operation that will be impacted, no matter how minimal that impact may seem. Will signs need to be revised? How will external messaging change? How will policy change and are there opportunities to refine existing policies to enhance efficiency?
Consider the deployment of license plate recognition (LPR). The elimination of hangtags or decals should be relatively simple since the plate becomes the permit. However, I’ve encountered several organizations that have faced resistance for a variety of reasons, most of which go back to accommodating those exceptions to the rules that I mentioned earlier. In many organizations, these printed permits are viewed as status symbols, especially among those authorized to park in more highly sought-after areas.
Now consider enforcement. Deploying multiple solutions to pay for parking – pay stations, PARCS, or mobile payments – may cause a significant change in the routines of new and existing parkers, resulting in an initial volley of citations. Issuing warnings with a reminder to pay next time may offset the frustration caused by these changes, but it may not immediately prompt compliance without consistent enforcement. Finding the right equilibrium can be tricky, but inevitably, appropriate decisions need to be made with support from leadership.
When I worked at a university, we took the opportunity after deploying LPR to focus on existing policy regarding appeals. Despite listing a number of reasons appeals would be considered invalid on our appeals form, we still had customers file appeals for many of those reasons: running late, not seeing signs, plenty of open spaces, and a host of other reasons that failed to justify why they didn’t pay to park. In other cases, customers claimed they paid but still received citations. We used data from LPR and pay stations and often discovered that customers entered plates wrong or selected the wrong facility. In these cases, we voided the citations, explained what happened, and found that our amnesty resulted in compliance during future visits.
We’re Here to Help
Talk to your account manager about the hurdles you face as you deploy our solutions. It’s no secret that I love to talk about LPR, and all of us at T2 Systems love to talk about our solutions because we know they’re the best in the industry. That confidence includes an acute understanding of the hurdles customers sometimes face when deploying these solutions. Many of us are former customers and can share our experiences. As part of project implementation, we can provide consulting services to recommend data-backed policy changes to help sell leadership on the need for these changes.
Our goal is always to help you deploy new solutions to enhance your customers’ experiences. Or, as our vision statement succinctly puts it, “Make every trip a smooth journey.”
Victor is T2’s Account Manager for the east region. He is an unabashed LPR evangelist and enjoys sharing best-practice ideas based on his experiences. Victor is based in Charlottesville, Virginia. He has too many hobbies and is finally getting around to a long list of woodworking projects.