What is ANPR?
Wednesday May, 2019
ANPR is a technology that is having a huge impact in parking and traffic management. But what is it and what is driving its exponential rise in popularity?
Photo: The MAV Rapier 53IP Hybrid HD ANPR camera
Automatic Number Plate Recognition to give ANPR its full title, is an intelligent camera technology that uses ‘Optical Character Recognition’ to recognise and ‘read’ vehicle number plates from video and still images so that the information can be forwarded to a database such as ZatPark. The database will then process the data depending on the intended purposes such as enforcement of a car park / bus lane, or crime detection. The images and number plate details captured are date/time stamped, including geo-location data in some cases. The cameras even work at night using infrared technology allowing a true 24/7 operation.
Used by the Police, information captured by ANPR cameras placed at strategic locations on the road network, will read each vehicle number plate (VRM) they see and forward to a central database. The database will lookup the VRM to see if the vehicle is uninsured, has no vehicle excise duty or MOT, or has been stolen or used in crime. Alerts are then automatically highlighted to Police Officers to act on the information. Clearly an excellent use of technology helping to fight crime.
Apart from crime detection, ANPR is also used for enforcement activities such as city congestion charging, bus lane use, average speed cameras, parking enforcement, the list goes on. The use of advanced camera technologies is the most direct and efficient way to monitor traffic in the 21st century.
As ANPR has become established, equipment costs have dropped and technology improved which has allowed ANPR to be adopted not just by the Police and Local Authorities, but also within the private sector.
Private parking operators use ANPR enabled cameras to help improve the service to their customers. Pre-booked car parking, (at airports for example), where an ANPR camera triggers the barrier to raise when detecting your number plate, speeding up the booking-in process. ANPR cameras are also used to enforce parking rules and conditions at sites such as Motorway Service Stations and Retails Parks. This is helping landlords and private parking management companies to be more efficient at how they enforce parking at their sites, reducing the need for patrolling enforcement officers.
Parking enforcement is unpopular with motorists not helped by a few cowboy operators who have brought the industry into disrepute. These rogue operators are rightly being driven out of business as regulation becomes tighter and new legislation is adopted designed to drive up standards and simplify appeals. Responsible parking enforcement however is a necessity of modern life. Without it, car parks facilities would be abused and chaotic and spaces would be at a premium.
ZatPark is a complete parking enforcement administration and management software service. It provides end to end management of parking charge data from street issue to debt recovery and every step in between and is used across the parking industry in the UK by operators big and small. ZatPark ANPR improves efficiency by seamlessly integrating the processing of ANPR images along with innovative tools to minimise administration and extend enforcement hours without the financial overheads.
ZatMobile is a Android/IOS app extending ZatPark’s innovative features to street based enforcement officers. Fully integrated with ZatPark, ZatMobile includes an optional ANPR capability to speed up vehicle observations and ticketing.
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