New parking system introduces day permits, easier tracking of violators

University Operations, the entity responsible for administrating permits, is introducing a new parking system that includes a user friendly interface for purchasing and managing parking permits.

NuPark brings to campus technology commonly found on tollways and highly trafficked areas. It was founded and originally used at Texas Tech University Parking and Transportation Department, and schools like Baylor University, Lone Star College and Sam Houston University have been using the technology to handle everyday parking challenges.

The system has been running since last fall and went live over winter break. University Operations took this time to test out the license plate recognition (LPR) technology to understand the way it worked and detect problems that could arise.

LPR reads license plate numbers that have been registered in the university’s parking system and eases detection of those making any violations. One of the goals for this system is “to improve the efficiency of staff time,” says Scott Burnotes, director of Campus Safety.

Traditionally, a physical permit needed to be purchased and placed on the left bottom portion of the windshield. With the new interface though, an e-permit can be purchased online by commuters.

“Moving forward in the future it will give us more flexibility about the types of permits that we offer,” Burnotes said.

The program associates the permit to the license plate entered at the time of purchase and is then validated by parking enforcement with LPR. Students who purchase semester or year-long e-permits can have two cars under the same account.

Employees can add up to three vehicles. Though multiple vehicles can be attached to a permit, only one vehicle can be parked on campus at a time. Vehicles attached to a particular e-permit can be changed throughout the period purchased for activation. This feature would serve as a preventative measure for those who plea tickets because they drive more than one car.

Current students and employees are not required to remove their physical permits since they are being used as a second form of validation during this transition of systems. When registering, University Operations emphasizes that each character on the license plate be clearly identified in order for LPR to identify the correlating e-permit.

The program also offers a new option to students by providing the ability to purchase day parking passes for $5. The concept was added to the system after students voiced that long term permits didn’t accommodate schedules that require minimal commute to campus. The day pass can be purchased online and allows students to park in the garage from  7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The permits also grant access to gold and green permit lots after 7 p.m. and weekends.

The program was designed to make parking easier for guests during events hosted on campus by making permits easier to purchase. Organizations and event coordinators are able to acquire permits for their guests or share the link to the online interface to purchase e-permits before arriving to campus.

The program is set to go paperless next fall with e-permits and e-citations. Since students can now have two cars under one permit, the sharing of the permit charge can be divided among individuals. By doing this, University Operations plans to promote carpooling, as the university has accepted the city’s Mobility Challenge.

“Parking is a challenging thing at every university. You always have more parking demand than you do have parking infrastructure,” Burnotes said.

By implementing NuPark and the online permit interface, University Operations aims to create more parking availability for vehicles with permits and decrease the amount of violators across campus.