U Of A Considers License Plate Recognition System To Replace Parking Permits

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- A proposal could change the way parking permits are tracked at the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville.

The school is considering swapping parking tags for a license plate recognition system.

Right now, the U of A keeps track of who is allowed to park in its lots with parking tags, but the new system would eliminate that for most drivers. Scooters and motorcycles would still require parking tags.

"I have to switch my tag from my vehicle to maybe my wife`s vehicle or my motorcycle, so if they can handle that without me actually physically moving my tag each time that might be easier," faculty member Matt Meers said.

The license plate recognition system would link parking permission to a license plate.

"I feel like it will be good because there isn't a way to cheat or give someone your permit, so they can just check your license plate and it will just be easier," U of A Patrick Cresson said.

Two patrol vehicles with mounted cameras would patrol the parking lots scanning license plates.

Gary Smith, the director of transit and parking for the U of A, said this system would be more efficient and would allow the department to cover more parking lots with fewer staff. It will also benefit campus visitors.

"Right now, if someone is parked illegally, say they are a visitor going in to get a permit from the department, they are going to come back and put on their car, we don't know that,so we go by and see a vehicle in violation and issue them a citation," Smith said.

The new system will hold that citation and trash it once the driver gets a parking permit.

Smith hopes the university will come to a decision by the end of September, so the new system can be integrated with the old system for the spring semester.

It will cost $30,000 to equip one car with the license plate technology, but Smith said the university spends $45,000 each year just on parking permits.