What is Parking Management Software?

If you’re new to the parking industry, you may have heard of car park management software, but what is it?

The parking industry has grown through the 20th and 21st centuries, driven by the increase in vehicles and travel requirements of modern societies. In today’s on-demand world, managing parking sites is a complex business. Vehicle flow, ticketing, and contravention enforcement are just some of the functions of parking operations. These operations involve numerous management processes, and historically they also have required manual tasks.

Before explaining what parking car park software is, let’s explain the common types of parking.

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Types of parking

Typically, there are two types of parking operators.

Public sector parking

In the UK local authorities operate parking sites and enforce restrictions, this system is known as Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) which is regulated through the Traffic Management Act 2004. Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs) are used for parking enforcement within this system. Local authorities will issue Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) for breaking parking rules on sites that are governed by CPE.

If Civil Parking Enforcement doesn’t apply to the parking site the local authority will manage it under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. This means that they can issue Fixed Penalty Notices (PCNs) or Excess Charge Notices (ECNs) on these sites if necessary. Both of these are criminal penalties, not civil penalties.

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Private sector parking

Private parking management is very different to the management of public parking sites. Private car parks are often located at retail parks, train stations, airports, hospitals and more. These are run by private companies who will issue a Parking Charge Notice (PCN) using car parking software if a driver has not complied with the rules of the parking site.

The private company may use the DVLA to access vehicle keeper details. To do this they must belong to an Accredited Trade Association (ATA) and they must adhere to parking industry Codes of Practice. The DVLA only allow private parking operators to access their vehicle and owner data if they adhere to industry standards.

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The components of parking management

The tasks of managing a parking location are similar whether you manage a public or private car park. Software for parking management helps car park operators manage:

  • Occupancy
  • Tariffs
  • Permits
  • Access control
  • Bookings
  • Enforcement
  • Ticket appeals
  • Debt resolution

What is Occupancy?

In practical terms, parking occupancy refers to the number of parking spaces in use, and available for use, at a managed parking site. 

What are Tariffs?

Parking ticket prices, or tariffs, can be set in different ways based on the goals of the operator. e.g. they may choose to set higher prices during peak traffic hours or set on-street parking at a higher price than off-street to discourage drivers from circling the streets looking for spaces. There are numerous different reasons and methods of setting parking tariffs.

What are Permits?

Parking permits are used in many situations. Local Authorities issue parking permits for residential parking, allowing residents and their visitors to park on the streets near their properties. Private companies issue permits for office parking spaces, leisure facilities, hotels and more.

What is Access Control?

Access control in the parking industry is where parking operators need to manage vehicle accesses, exits, and tickets in car parks. Common access control challenges parking operators experience include:

  • Knowing which vehicles and drivers are using the parking site.
  • Stopping abuse like tailgating, where more than one car enters the site under one authorised access.
  • Efficiently opening and closing barriers and maintaining traffic flow.
  • Issuing access cards or passes.
  • Creating and applying time-based access rules.
  • Managing the risk of crime – Common crimes committed on parking sites include: 
    • Vehicle damage
    • Car and automobile theft 
    • Vandalism and property damage
    • Violence and assault
  • Accessibility – Managing the abuse of disabled spaces, ensuring they are providing accessible facilities and complying with disability regulations.

Parking control software solutions provide access management for car park operators and help overcome these access control challenges.

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Car Park Booking

Many parking facilities offer customers the option to book parking spaces prior to arrival. Some of the industry sectors that need parking space management solutions for bookings include:

  • Transportation – Airport parking, ferry, cruise, and shipping port parking
  • Retail – Parking for deliveries and collections
  • Hospitality – Hotel parking, spa parking, and other leisure facility parking

Managing the booking of parking spaces also applies to on-street/off-street sites, valet parking, automated parking sites and more.

What is Parking Enforcement?

In the UK, legal changes have meant that enforcement officers now issue civil penalty charge notices (PCNs). These penalties don’t incur penalty points on a driving licence and are only handled by the courts when attempting to resolve debts for unpaid fines.

Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) – PCNs are civil offences, usually issued by local authority on-street enforcement officers or via post resulting from a digitally captured offence such as an ANPR camera picture. 

FPNs and PCNs are methods of motoring and parking enforcement in Great Britain. FPN stands for Fixed Penalty Notice and is a criminal offence. Both are issued by traffic or parking enforcement officers for motoring or parking offences. 

Parking Charge Notice (PCN) – Parking Charge Notices are a payment request, or fine, from a private parking company for breach of the terms of parking. In this situation, a Parking Charge Notice is effectively an invoice for payment, this means it can be disputed by the recipient.

Issuing PCNs can be a complex process for parking operators. If a penalty is issued and paid quickly, the process is simple for the operator. However, in many situations, enforcement processes can be drawn out due to the debt resolution or appeals processes.

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Parking Appeals Management

Appealing a PCN – It’s possible to appeal against a PCN and there is a defined process for doing this. 

If a driver chooses to appeal, they must write to the issuing authority and provide a reason and evidence as to why they believe they should not pay the fine. The appeal will be assessed and, if accepted, will be cancelled with no fee payable. If it is not accepted the driver can appeal to an Independent Appeals Service (IAS). There are different appeals services for private parking operators and local authority operators. If the IAS doesn’t uphold the appeal the driver is liable for the full penalty charge fee. 

Appealing an FCN – FPNs are issued for parking contravention in certain circumstances, for example, if a vehicle is left in a dangerous position. However, the only option for the offender to appeal an FPN is via the court system. If the court finds the offender guilty, the fine can be much greater than the original fixed penalty amount.

Appeal management can be labour-intensive as staff must collate and assess written and photographic information submitted to them. For operators that run large parking sites or multiple parking sites, this can be a significant resource cost.

What is Debt Resolution?

When parking charges remain unpaid, the parking operator must go through the process of debt resolution. This process can become very complex and take a long time to complete. Debt resolution can include: 

  • Issuing Charge Certificates that indicate increased charges
  • Registering and sending a County Court Order 
  • Revocation orders to cancel a charge certificate
  • Requests for more time to appeal a PCN
  • Registering a Warrant of Control and passing it to a debt agency.

Keeping track of elongated parking enforcement processes like this can be a management headache for parking operators. These enforcement issues take time and resources to handle effectively.

What is parking management software?

Typically, there are five reasons that organisations use car park management solutions to solve the problems we have just highlighted. These are: 

  • Improved customer satisfaction
  • Controlling access and security
  • Providing operational efficiency
  • Cost-saving
  • Managing enforcement and debt resolution

ZatPark Platform Parking Management Automation

Customer satisfaction

By providing parking users with options such as self-service ticketing and automated ticket appeals processes, these platforms can improve customer experience.

Equally, parking operators expect a great user experience for their site management teams. Parking system software providers that enable simple vehicle and ticket management can improve the satisfaction of their parking operator clients.

Improved Control

Control and visibility of the status of a parking site are crucial to parking operators. Parking platforms enable management teams to control and monitor the functions and status of parking sites. Parking management and enforcement platforms allow teams to manage things like occupancy, pricing, ticketing, contraventions and evidence gathering.

Increased Efficiency

With some parking sites having huge space capacity, it’s important for the operator to efficiently manage all of the assets and users of the site. Parking management and enforcement platforms are designed to provide both managers and car park users with tools that make day-to-day activities simple to perform.

Parking management platforms integrate with other systems, such as ANPR cameras and the DVLA number plate database. These integrations enable the platform to efficiently identify vehicles and issue contravention notices.


All of the above features of parking management and enforcement platforms can provide the operator with cost savings. Customer satisfaction is essential for reducing the costs of managing customer interactions. 

Efficient control and visibility of assets and activities reduce the cost of parking location management. Automated enforcement processes such as self-service payments and permit management can also provide significant cost savings.

How to Choose Parking Management Software

Zatpark Platform Parking Management Automation

The best parking management software solutions on the market today provide control of the full contravention ticket lifecycle. Some advanced solutions like Zatpark provide features such as ticket status visualisation and automated status progression.

When choosing a car parking management software solution, you should look for these features:

  • Automation & Integration
  • Speed & Efficiency
  • Control & Accuracy
  • End-to-end Customer & Management Workflow
  • Simplified Payments & Appeals

How Zatpark 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.

Zatpark parking and enforcement platform enables:

  • Simplification
  • Efficiency
  • Control
  • Integration

Talk to us to discover how Zatpark can help you.

Zatpark Parking & Enforcement Platform

Read our case studies to see how car park management services solutions can help you

Britannia Parking

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

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.