Different Ways to Prevent Unauthorised Parking

Cars Parked in an area

INTRODUCTION

Unauthorised parking takes place when a car is parked without permission or in violation of the parking rules of a car park that is not authorised for parking. Parking without a valid permit, overstaying allotted time, no parking zone, or restricted area are such violations against parking rules that lead to issuing PCNs. For car park operators, unauthorised parking is not only a small annoyance but also a disturbance that influences the total operation and safety of the parking area. 

The problem is the disregard for the property and the access rights that are set up in order to guarantee that car parks function properly and efficiently. When these rights are not protected, it can cause different kinds of problems at the administrative and operational levels. Hence, car park owners have to build strong systems to manage these spaces efficiently, to make sure that they are used properly by the right people. Something, in particular, is very important in such areas where parking is in high demand.

Impacts of Unauthorised Car Parking

Let’s discuss the impact of unauthorised parking in car parking areas and the reasons behind them. Unauthorised parking is not only hectic for car park operators but also affects the business and may cause a loss of revenue. In this article, we get to know the major impacts of unauthorised parking and how they get rectified. 

  1. Limited Accessibility and Ease of Use

Unauthorized parking can greatly cut down the number of spaces available for the people who have the right to use them. This problem can create complications for the customers, employees, or residents, thus, they may refrain from visiting or using the service, which in the end will be bad for the businesses or effect the overall customer experience. 

In high-demand areas, the effect of lost spaces is heightened, thus, leading to more traffic as drivers spend the time looking for an available spot, which in turn can be the cause of congestion and delays.

  1. Safety and Accessibility Issues 

Vehicles parked in illegal zones like emergency lanes or access lanes, which are not authorized, can be the cause of serious safety hazards. These cars may block the emergency services, impede the exits, or interrupt the accessibility for the emergency personnel, thus the risk of emergencies will be increased.

Moreover, the vehicles that are parked outside of the assigned spots can obstruct the visibility of other drivers and pedestrians and, thus, the chances of car park accidents are increased.

  1. Financial losses and the extra administrative work 

Unauthorised parking can be a cause of considerable economic losses. This is the reason why these losses appear not only in the form of potential revenue from the parking spaces but also through the cost of managing and enforcing parking regulations.

The administrative work consists of the control of PCNs, the supervision of the parking areas, and the handling of disputes and appeals of enforcement actions. These activities are resource-consuming and can take away time from the other operational aspects of managing the car park.

  1. Affect User Experience and Business reputation 

The regular misconduct of the unauthorised parking can hugely affect the user experience. For example, customers who always have a hard time finding car parking spaces may decide to take their business elsewhere where car parking is not such a problem.

Moreover, a car park which is tagged with unauthorised parking may get a bad name, which in turn may discourage the potential new tenants or business partners, consequently, the commercial viability of the space will be affected.

To sum up, the unauthorised car parking is not a minor problem but a big operational issue that influences the efficiency, safety, and financial health of car parking facilities. Management strategies are the key to reducing these impacts and keeping the integrity and functionality of car parks.

What are the different ways to prevent unauthorised parking?

Let’s discuss the ways to prevent unauthorised parking using technology integration and clear communication tools with their benefits and implementation considerations. 

 

Technology Solutions 

  • Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR)

Functionality: ANPR technology employs high-definition cameras and optical character recognition software to read the number plates of the vehicles as they enter and exit the car park automatically without any requirement of manual management. This information can be checked with a database of authorized vehicles to instantly recognize the unlawful parking.

Benefits: ANPR systems make the entry and exit procedures quick and easy, thus, cutting down the waiting times and the necessity of manual checks. In addition, they support dynamic management practices such as variable pricing and can automatically enforce time-limited parking without human oversight.

Implementation Considerations: The accuracy of ANPR systems is determined by the quality of the camera and the software. Certain factors like lighting, weather conditions, and vehicle speed can influence readability. Maintenance and high-quality equipment are the most important factors for reliability.

  • CCTV Enforcement (Closed-Circuit Television) 

Functionality: CCTV systems are a must in car park security and management. They offer live video surveillance, thus making it possible to constantly be on the lookout for all the activity in the car park. This feature is very important not only for security reasons but also for checking parking violations.

Benefits: The existence of CCTV cameras serves as a means of discouraging the violators who know that their actions are being recorded. In cases of prohibited parking or other violations, the CCTV footage can be examined to identify the vehicle and take necessary measures. Also, this surveillance can improve user safety by cutting down the chances of theft and vandalism.

Implementation Considerations: The right placement of the cameras is very important. Cameras should be installed at all the entrances, exits, and high-risk areas. The system should also be in line with the privacy laws and regulations to make sure that the surveillance is done ethically and legally.

 

  • Pay & Display Method

Functionality: When entering a car park, the drivers go to the Pay and Display machine to buy a parking time. They go through the needed time, pay through card, or mobile payment, and get a printed ticket. The ticket, which indicates the time of expiration, must be clearly shown on the car’s dashboard. This enables parking enforcement officers to quickly determine if the car is parked lawfully. The enforcement officers are on the car park, inspecting every car to find out if a valid, visible ticket is there. Vehicles without a valid ticket, or with a ticket that has expired, get the Parking Charge Notices.

Benefits: The drivers can choose the exact time they want to park and pay only for the time they need. With tickets shown on the dashboards, the enforcement officers can easily spot the vehicles that are not following the rules of parking. This system shortens the enforcement process, thus making it more efficient and less time-consuming. Pay and Display systems produce direct income from every parking transaction. It is easy to follow and manage, thus, it is a stable source of income for the car park managers.

Implementation Considerations: The machines that process money and sensitive data should be strong and secure to prevent vandalism and theft. Machines should be designed to work in all the weather conditions common in the area, thus, they will be reliable in all seasons. Machines have to be easy to use, and there must be clear instructions on how to operate them. Machines should be placed in the most accessible locations, for example, near car park entrances and along the main pedestrian routes within the car park. 

Signage Communications 

1. Design Principles

  • Clear and visible signage: Signs should be able to convey the right information in a simple yet brief manner. Make use of the appropriate colors and straightforward and widely known symbols or pictograms to elaborate the parking rules and regulations. Do not use tough language and make sure the font size is readable from a distance.
  • Visibility: Place the signs where they are the most noticeable to the drivers and the pedestrians. This covers entrances, exits, ticket booths, and decision points inside the car park. Signs should not be covered by other objects such as trees or buildings

  • Consistency: It is important to use a uniform design template for all the signage in the car park will ensure that the users can easily identify and comprehend the signs. The uniformity of the color, font, and layout facilitates the creation of a user-friendly navigation system.

  1. Regulatory Compliance

Legality: The signage should be in proper alignment with the local and national regulations related to size, height, content, and reflectivity. The compliance is not only a legal necessity but also the signage becomes more credible and authoritative.

Updates: The signage should be often checked and revised to reflect any changes in the parking policies or regulations. This way, the car park users will not be in a state of confusion and will be aware of the current rules at all times.

  1. Strategic Information Placement

Instructional Signage: Instructional signs should be placed at the points where actions are needed, for instance, at the payment machines or the entry barriers.

Directional Signage: Directional signs are used to guide the users to different sections of the car park, such as the overspill areas, exit routes, or special zones like the electric vehicle charging spots.

Self-ticketing or Patrol Officer Service 

Functionality: Users click the pictures of the vehicles that are parked against car parking rules that are violated. These pictures are the proof of the occurrence. The photographs, and the information of the incident (time, date, location, type of violation) are sent or uploaded to the Zatmobile application.  The app, after processing, creates a PCN by itself from the evidence that was uploaded. Such PCN is then forwarded to the vehicle owner, using the vehicle registration details that are captured in the photos.

Benefits: On-site, people can instantly report violations as soon as they notice them. This mode of operation can bring down the pressure on the official enforcement units thereby making them concentrate on other areas or the more serious compliance problems. The fact that any person on site can give a PCN might be the reason why people will not be able to park illegally on site.

Implementation considerations: Since the app is dealing with personal data, it is of utmost importance to make sure that every data is stored and managed according to data protection laws. The application is mandated to adhere to the privacy laws on the use and capture of photographic evidence and vehicle registration details. A proper and safe internet connection is essential to make the data uploads fast and continuous.

Conclusion

Thus, in conclusion, car park management is a multidimensional process that consists of clear signage, and advanced technology. Clear, visible signage makes drivers aware of parking regulations, while the use of surveillance technologies like CCTV and ANPR systems enhances security and facilitates enforcement. Besides, with the help of digital management tools and the new Zatmobile app, operations are made more efficient, compliance is improved and emergency vehicles are made accessible. The adoption of these measures by the car park owners will enable them to effectively reduce unauthorised parking, increase user satisfaction, and at the same time maintain operational efficiency, hence, creating a safe and well-regulated parking environment.