Positive Parking: Can Enforcement Technology help?
09 July 2019 •
The short answer is Yes. The longer answer is that although parking enforcement is only one of the many factors influencing the public’s view of the parking industry, we recognise that it is often a highly emotive topic for motorists and as a result is a regular subject in the press.
What is the Positive Parking Agenda?
The Positive Parking Agenda is an initiative sponsored by the British Parking Association. Its aim is to build trust and change perceptions about parking management among the general public. The Positive Parking Agenda has seven campaign objectives:
- Congestion: Reducing congestion, helping drivers find spaces quickly and easily
- Safety: Improving road safety, reducing the severity and number of traffic collisions.
- Air quality: Improving air quality, reducing congestion and dwell time in finding spaces
- Accessibility: Improving access to services and the economic vitality and vibrancy of town centres and high streets
- Technology: Supporting a more mobile society by embracing new technology
- Working Together: Providing a more efficient and accessible road network
- Fair: Delivering a more effective, efficient and consistent parking management service.
This is why Unity 5 is pleased to be signatories to the Positive Parking Agenda and support its aspirations.
How can advanced enforcement technology help?
Campaign priorities two and five can use technology to support a more mobile society and to provide a fair, more efficient parking management service.
There is no doubt that parking enforcement can be one of the issues that affect motorists and causes negative publicity for the parking sector.
And while nobody is keen to receive a parking ticket, most people will accept it, if the parking management company is able to demonstrate that they are operating using fair terms and conditions and that the motorist did not abide by them.
It is fair to say that as well as ensuring that enforcement processes are accurate, motorists also expect enforcement itself to be applied sensitively. In other words, they want the punishment to fit the “crime” and not to be unnecessarily harsh.
Most parking management companies want to make a fair enforcement decision and adopting good enforcement technology can help them achieve this, providing you with a number of benefits:
- Ability to collect a complete set of evidence on the contravention to ensure that it is clear and accurately recorded.
- Photos of the vehicles and the registration plates are readily available as supporting evidence.
- Ability to establish the terms and conditions for parking at that site and to easily make them available if the evidence is required.
- Be able to tie the contravention to a date, time and location.
In addition, other information about their parking activity in the days before or after the contravention at that site will help the enforcement company understand the context: whether it is a one-off event or part of a pattern.
Also, technology can help enforcers to deal with contraventions in ways other than through issuing a PCN. Although a PCN is a correct response to many contraventions, the enforcer may not want to apply a charge, perhaps because there are mitigating circumstances. In these cases, having access to the option of sending a warning instead can be a sensible alternative. Good enforcement technology will enable the enforcer to choose the most appropriate responses and enable them to build these into their processes.
So, the ability of the system to choose from a selection of warning letters gives the enforcer the option to be proportionate and flexible to the circumstances of a contravention or create a series of ways which build-up from a general warning all the way to a PCN.
Technology enables high-quality communication by using services like hybrid mailing services to ensure the motorist gets the information on the contravention in a timely way. It also provides detailed reasons why the parking management company believes the contravention has taken place. There is no doubt that clear communications mean the motorist understands how to pay or alternatively whether they wish to appeal against the decision.
How can ZatPark Help?
The ZatPark Parking Management and Enforcement application is designed with the requirement for a fair and transparent enforcement process at its heart. It provides local authorities and parking enforcement companies the technological tools to make efficient and above all fair decisions. Its ability to integrate with other systems means that it gives the enforcer the means to make an accurate decision quickly. And if the charge or fine is disputed, it offers a complete Appeals module to respond to the motorist and gather the evidence required for an independent appeal Evidence Pack Manager.