Over the last year, the city of Delft in the Netherlands, has introduced a fully digitized parking system, with the aim of making parking within the city easier and more efficient. The digital system allows drivers to register their vehicle’s license plate number through the city’s internet site, their phone, or at local payment stations, which then gives them the formal right to park their car. The city has now introduced a new digital enforcement system to ensure that all parking subscriptions and payments are valid, by putting its first mobile ALPR (Automatic License Plate Recognition) scanner system into operation.
Dutch company, Taxameter Centrale (TMC), has supplied the local authorities with the fully integrated system that uses a car fitted with a ScanGenius roofbox (pictured) from another Netherlands-based company, ARVOO. The roof-mounted box contains a combination of GPS systems, processing units and six panoramic vision and ALPR cameras to provide simultaneous diagonal, parallel and perpendicular number plate scanning through 360 degrees. The ALPR cameras in the rooftop box read the registration numbers of all the cars parked in the street and transmits the data wirelessly through the 3G cell phone network to the back-office system. The scanned registration numbers are then compared online to the database of vehicles with valid parking subscription. In the case of discrepancies, the back-office system notifies parking enforcement officers through their PDA (Personal Digital Assistant), so that they can locate the violating vehicle and take the necessary action.
The automatic license plate recognition within the ScanGenius roofbox is performed by an integrated Intrada ALPR software module from ARVOO’s OEM partner, Q-Free. The Intrada ALPR engine features a combination of various Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technologies and the Intrada library contains data for more than 100 countries and states around the world. The software not only reads the bare registration number, but the OCR also uses number plate features, such as the characters’ location and fonts, to determine a plate’s origin.
“With this scanning solution, we have the latest technology available,” said Ton Cornax, from the Municipality of Delft. “Over the coming years, this will allow us to organize an even more efficient and effective supervision of the city’s parking. Through this extensive automation, our parking enforcement officers will have more time to give motorists help and information.”