ANPR Parking Systems
Looking at the growth of ANPR use for parking enforcement, and understanding how ANPR can solve parking and traffic management problems
What are ANPR parking systems?
If you’re looking into ANPR parking systems, then it’s likely that you already have some knowledge of what ANPR is, but for those of you who are new to ANPR, let’s quickly cover this.
ANPR is short for Automatic Number Plate Recognition, also known as Licence Plate Recognition (LPR) in the USA and other countries. ANPR is a system that combines cameras with other technology to identify a vehicle, its location, and other data. When a vehicle passes an ANPR camera, it takes a picture which is ‘READ’ by the ANPR system. The car park ANPR system then identifies the vehicle number plate (Also referred to as a Vehicle Registration Mark, or VRM for short) from the image and records the READ information. The recorded information is then used for various law enforcement, traffic and parking management purposes.
Learn more about ANPR vs CCTV
What are ANPR parking systems used for?
The growth of ANPR car park enforcement
Over recent years, private parking companies have increasingly started to turn to ANPR technology to solve their enforcement problems. Some of the reasons for this include:
- ANPR cameras are easy to set up and provide consistent data to parking enforcement applications
- ANPR systems have relatively low operating costs
- ANPR also reduces the need to employ as many on-site enforcement staff
- parking management ANPR technology typically delivers high levels of accuracy when reading number plates
- However, advanced ANPR technologies like ZatPark have capabilities that deliver close to 100% accuracy.
We discuss the growing use of ANPR car park management in our webinar ‘is ANPR the future of enforcement?‘.
Car park management companies need to monitor vehicle entry and exit on their parking sites, for example, an ANPR parking management system can be used for vehicle access control where ticketless parking is in use. It can also be used for;
- car park security
- surveillance of vehicle entry/exit at parking facilities
- threat recognition – identifying repeat offenders or target vehicles/block-listed vehicles.
Understand the difference between CCTV and ANPR
As we’ve mentioned, ANPR systems are commonly used in the parking industry but there are a variety of other uses for ANPR camera systems. The two primary uses by Government organisations are traffic control and law enforcement.
ANPR rules for parking operations
To use an ANPR parking system for enforcement vehicles must be identified by the ANPR car park system which performs a vehicle details check via the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) database. Every ANPR enforcement company must have a contract with DVLA to be able to check driver and vehicle details.
ANPR car park management companies follow best practice guidelines when issuing contravention notices. The DVLA stipulate that ANPR images and data must be checked manually to verify that a parking or moving traffic violation has occurred. Manual checks must be made on every identified contravention made by an ANPR parking control system before contravention notices are issued to the motorist.
Checking ANPR-identified contraventions is necessary but often time-consuming. ZatPark’s advanced ANPR checker improves efficiency by reducing the time needed to manually check ANPR readings. Read more about the ZatPark advanced ANPR checker.
ANPR parking systems for traffic control
Local authorities and Government agencies can use an ANPR management system to monitor moving traffic. These can be integrated with other systems to ensure traffic flows freely in congested areas.
ANPR-enabled systems can;
- perform average speed checks
- predict travel times
- monitor traffic flow
- monitor bus lane usage
- monitor congestion zones
- monitor traffic moving through low-emission zones
- perform toll collection
- monitor box junctions
- no left/right turns
- one-way streets
- residential access restrictions.
ANPR for law enforcement
The UK Police use the national network of ANPR cameras to detect, deter and disrupt criminality. The Police use ANPR for;
- checking if a vehicle is insured
- checking if a vehicle is taxed (this can also be performed by some local authorities)
- identify stolen or suspicious vehicles
- stopping terrorism, major and organised crime incidents
- supporting Government security agencies
- gathering case evidence for major, and organised crime.
ANPR cameras and integrations
Today, there are a myriad of ANPR car parking system camera providers, and many of the available cameras can be integrated with parking management and enforcement systems.
When looking at integrations with ANPR cameras it’s good to note what type of camera the integration is for and what its intended purpose is. There are two main types of ANPR cameras, Mobile ANPR cameras and Static ANPR cameras.
Mobile ANPR parking systems
Mobile ANPR cameras are often used by Police and local authorities and are mounted on top of a vehicle or placed on top of the vehicle’s dashboard. These Mobile ANPR cameras can then capture and READ number plates as they pass.
Static ANPR camera
Static ANPR cameras are used for a host of different enforcement activities, such as parking management and bus lane enforcement. These cameras, as their name suggests, are static and are installed for continuous monitoring of a location.
Real-Time ANPR integration
Static ANPR cameras often use Real-Time integration. A Real-Time integration will capture a vehicle’s information, for example, upon entry into a car park. The ANPR camera takes a picture which is then READ by the ANPR system which identifies the number plate from the image and records the READ information. The camera system then sends the captured information in real-time to the back-office system.
An ANPR camera integration can send data that includes;
- a full-colour image overview of the car
- a full-colour image close-up of the number plate (known as a number patch file)
- a text file containing the vehicle information including:
- Time of capture
- Model and make
- Direction of travel (towards or away from the camera).
This type of integration gives parking operators real-time visibility of their parking locations, allowing operators to make informed decisions on management activities and site occupancy.
ANPR Evidence Pack Integration
Mobile ANPR cameras often utilise evidence pack integrations. An evidence pack integration can be used in several different ways.
Learn about CCTV vs ANPR - What is the difference?
Typically, the evidence pack integration enables the camera to capture a potential contravention, and then pass that information through to the ANPR systems back-office to be manually reviewed. Once checked, any confirmed contraventions are then sent through to the Parking Charge Notice (PCN) processor as a verified PCN along with their evidence pack for further processing, this evidence pack can include;
- video footage
- a text file containing:
- Contravention type
- Vehicle make and model
Evidence pack integrations are widely used in ANPR enforcement to identify vehicles in contravention of parking and other regulations. Evidence packs provide details to the enforcement agencies to act upon the information provided if necessary.
Allow / Block List Integration
Both static and mobile ANPR cameras can utilise an Allow / Block List integration. This type of integration allows the camera system to check authorised vehicle lists via registered permits, pay and display, or cashless vehicle allow list records.
When checked via an Allow / Block List integration, if the vehicle is found to be compliant or has a legal right to park then these vehicles will flag as authorised within the ANPR system. If the vehicle is non-compliant or has no registered right to park then the system will record this against the captured information and begin the processing of the contravention in line with legislation.
Allow / Block List integrations can also be used in low-emission zones to compare information about the make and model of a car with the lists. This enables the enforcement organisation to check a vehicle’s compliance with the restrictions in that zone and whether or not a car has paid the excess fee.
What is the difference between CCTV and ANPR? Find out...
The future of ANPR parking systems
There is little doubt that ANPR systems will continue to become increasingly common in the parking industry. To get the best out of your investment in ANPR camera technology, you should ensure that it is integrated with high-quality parking enforcement software. This will allow you to take advantage of the powerful productivity benefits of your parking enforcement tools to reduce costs and improve efficiency.
How Zatpark ANPR helps
Zatpark is a cloud-based parking management service. It provides end-to-end management of parking management processes. Zatpark’s advanced back office suite integrates seamlessly with a host of third-party ANPR, appeals, and debt resolution suppliers.
Benefits of ANPR parking systems from Zatpark
- Zatpark ANPR improves efficiency and extends your enforcement hours
- Improves customer service
- Seamlessly integrates the processing of ANPR images
- Provides innovative tools to minimise administration
- Speeds up booking-in processes for pre-booked parking
- Reduces your financial overhead
- Reduces the need for on-foot patrolling officers
- Zatmobile mobile app extends Zatpark’s ANPR features to on-foot staff
- Zatmobile’s ANPR capability speeds up vehicle observations.
Talk to us to discover how Zatpark ANPR can help you.
Read our case studies to see how car park management services solutions can help you
With over 25 years experience establishing and managing car parks, Britannia Parking is one of the most respected operators in the UK with a client base that includes Waitrose, The John Lewis Partnership, Liverpool Victoria, Savills and Greene King.
HX Car Park Management
HX Car Park Management Limited is the UK’s one-stop parking management company who operate nationwide and are based in West Yorkshire.
Napier Parking have used technology provided by ZatPark to streamline its customer service with convenient payment and appeals options available via online web portals
NCPS core strength is to provide bespoke solutions incorporating best in breed IT systems.
North East Lincolnshire
North East Lincolnshire Council is a local authority serving 160,000 people. The Parking Service at NELC is delivered through a regeneration partnership with EQUANS Services Limited.