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Parking Enforcement of the Future?
Scofflaws beware. The News Tribune is reporting on a new technology the City of Tacoma is considering using to enforce parking. It's a camera that attaches to a car, and takes pictures of license plates at a rate of dozens per minute.
It could, in theory, reduce the number of paid staff needed for parking enforcement, while increasing coverage area, efficiency, and revenue.
The cameras, from a company called PayLock, could replace chalk marks on tires, relying instead on a list created by the PayLock cameras and license plate recognition system. The list would track the time, date, and location of license plates, and assign tickets based on that list. It could also check each against a database to identify vehicles associated with numerous unpaid parking tickets.
Those scofflaws with a high number of unpaid tickets would currently just get another ticket. The PayLock system would give the City another option for enforcement - a "SmartBoot" that could be locked to the car until the owner calls to pays his or her fine over the phone. When the fine is paid, the car owner gets a code that can be used immediately to remove the boot, which they must then drop off at an approved location.
According to the TNT, the PayLock system could cut the number of parking enforcement staff in Tacoma from the six currently employed to two and a half, and could offer more effective coverage in places like 6th Avenue, where enforcement is currently less than consistent. The system would also generate more revenue in paid tickets.
There are a lot of questions to be answered about how the system would be used, if Tacoma decides to go down that road. The City is currently consulting with its citizen Parking Technical Advisory Group about the idea.
Would this be a win-win for the City? Are you ready for the boot?
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