IUPUI Parking Permits To Become Virtual

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IUPUI parking passes will soon undergo a transformation as the campus loses the plastic permits and goes virtual. 

Parking and Transportation Services will be changing from parking passes to a license plate recognition system in order to enhance customer experience, simplify the permit renewal process, locate available parking and operate more productively and practically without any additional costs to IU parking pass holders. 

License Plate Recognition (LPR) is a virtual system that includes multiple aspects of parking operations into one by essentially using permit holders’ license plates as their parking permits. It does this by using cameras and character recognition software in order to read the license plates. 

LPR vehicles will patrol parking lots and garages for the purpose of validating pass holders’ plate information with the parking permit database to make sure parking privileges and regulations are being followed. 

Photo by: Liz Kaye, Indiana University 

“LPR works similar to a supermarket scanner with your license plate functioning as the barcode,” IUPUI Parking and Transportation Services Director, Sheri Eggleton, said. “When a vehicle is parked on campus, the rear license plate is captured by cameras mounted on Parking and Transportation Services vehicles. When read, the numbers of your plate are automatically referenced against the parking database to verify proper parking privileges for the parking location.”

LPR goes beyond just replacing students and staff’s parking permits. The cameras on the enforcement vehicles and in garages will also count open parking spaces creating real-time parking options for pass holders. These counts of open parking spaces will be transferred to an app so that anyone can check at any time, which will maximize space in campus lots and garages. 

Parking and Transportation Services have prioritized the privacy and safety of their customers during the decision making process. The only information kept in the database is a picture of the vehicle’s license plate. The information will not be shared with other departments or outside establishments, unless required by law. All license plate photos will be deleted after 120 days of being taken. 

Photo by: Liz Kaye, Indiana University

“IU Parking Operations obtained all approvals required to proceed with this portion of the project,” Eggleton said. “The LPR technology vendor went through the standard approval processes including a legal, policy and security review on privacy.”

The system will be executed gradually, in phases, over the next 3-5 years. Phase 1 is set to begin this spring and will allow the university to implement the technology and evaluate the ability of LPR to recognize license plates to operate entry and exit gates. 

“IU Bloomington has already begun to test LPR on its campus. This is part of an overarching enterprise effort to introduce technology to continually improve the customer experience,” Eggleton said. 

Once the system is fully tested and set in stone, parking renewals and registrations will be purchased exclusively online. Students, staff, and visitors will no longer have to visit the parking office or wait for their permit to arrive in the mail, reinforcing IUPUI Sustainability’s initiatives by eliminating the production of plastic parking permits.  

To help with the testing and installation of LPR, students, staff, and visitors are encouraged to keep their vehicle information up to date through the online parking portal and pull forward into parking spaces to ensure license plates are visible. 

To learn more about LPR, visit here. A list of FAQs is available to help answer any questions.

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