It began as a security tool, automatic number plate recognition (ANPR). Commercial parking was soon added to its list of applications. Increasingly, businesses are adopting it as a means of improving their security without incurring high costs or inconveniences.
An overview of what you need to know about using automatic number plate recognition for traffic management is provided below.
How to use ANPR to identify barriers step-by-step
You should understand how automatic number plate recognition for barriers works so you can make an informed decision about whether or not it is right for you. The steps and equipment you will need are outlined below.
During the scanning of a number plate, a vehicle drives towards a camera
In order to accomplish this, cameras need to be positioned where they can accurately capture the details of oncoming vehicles. Permitted vehicles should be able to proceed without having to stop when the cameras are far enough ahead of the barrier they control. Light must also be sufficient for the cameras to function regardless of weather or time of day.
As with CCTV cameras, digital tools such as ANPR cameras require similar considerations. A number of relevant data protection laws, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), protect the data collected by automatic number plate recognition. In practice, this means that all automatic number plate recognition for barriers implementations must meet two criteria.
The first requirement is that they must be entirely on private property. If you would like to scan number plates on the public highway, you could theoretically ask for permission. As a practical matter, this permission would be extremely unlikely to be granted. As a second step, you must ensure that the data is stored securely and that it is deleted as soon as possible. It would be best to follow this practice regardless of the situation.
A database is used to verify the number
As mentioned in the first point, this should take place quickly enough for permitted vehicles to proceed without stopping. It should be as minimal as possible if there is a delay. In order to do this, you need to have an internet connection that transmits data at a fast rate. You must also have a database that can be queried quickly.
Both of these points should not be major problems due to the current state of technology. If you’re planning to use ZigBee or WIFI (or mobile data), you’ll need to ensure that it can handle the tasks regardless of weather conditions. You will also need to protect your connection from weather, wildlife, and humans, regardless of the type of connection you use.
An instruction is sent to a barrier from the database
In the event that a vehicle is listed on the permitted list, the barrier will be raised. In the event that it isn’t, the vehicle will need to be processed in another way. There will always be some vehicles that are denied access to the area under automatic number plate recognition systems. The majority of these refusals will be correct. Despite our best efforts, some will be wrong. Having a process for dealing with both effectively is essential.
As a practical matter, that means creating a space for vehicles to turn away from the barrier. It is then necessary to either re-join the public highway or leave the area and wait for alternative processing. You may have to purchase a parking ticket in some situations. Sometimes it is necessary to summon a human to resolve a problem.
ANPR declines: how to deal with them
ANPR declines are primarily caused by three factors. Drivers turning up at the wrong place is the first type of mistake. There are also drivers who show up at the right location without the proper credentials. As for the third issue, the ANPR system misreads the vehicle’s license plate. A dirty or debrided phone usually has a hidden number because it is obscured by debris or dirt.
Usually, drivers are able to resolve the issue themselves in the first instance. The only thing they need is space to turn around and a way to get back on the public highway. Human intervention will be required in the second and third cases. For this reason, it’s advisable to use ANPR systems in conjunction with closed-circuit television, intercoms, and barriers that can also be operated remotely.
ANPR for barriers: practical considerations
The implementation of ANPR for barriers requires a certain volume of traffic to be justified. According to how you intend to utilize the traffic, how much you need will vary. Traffic management or security alone require more traffic than both, so if you’re just using it for those, then you need a larger volume.
When assessing whether or not you have enough traffic to justify ANPR for barriers, look at your staff’s current workload. In most cases, you can manage without ANPR right now if they are managing their workload comfortably. The workload may increase, however, requiring consideration of financing options in the future.
In contrast, automatic number plate recognition could be a great alternative to scaling up your team if your staff is already close to or at capacity. The reason for this can be attributed to a number of factors.
There is a 24-hour/365-day ANPR system
Managers often struggled to cope with staff absences even before COVID-19. As a team’s spare capacity decreases, the harder it is to accomplish tasks. As a proactive organization, ANPR is always on the job.
Humans are less efficient than ANPR
When it comes to repetitive tasks, computers are great. Humans find them boring. The task of reading number plates falls into this category. Despite the best efforts of humans, it is unlikely that they will be able to read number plates for extended periods without making mistakes. Work done by humans and machines has its own pros and cons.
Nearly 100% accuracy is achieved by automatic number plate recognition all the time. Also, when ANPR misreads plates, it is usually for the same reasons humans would be caught out for. Depending on the circumstances, the plate may not receive sufficient light, or it may be covered in dirt.
Even though ANPR isn’t perfect, humans overseeing ANPR is much more efficient than humans working alone.
Analytics can be provided by ANPR
By using data collected by automatic number plate recognition, you can manage your parking space’s efficiency. You might consider spreading the traffic more evenly if you notice that significant numbers of vehicles are arriving at certain times.