The largest land owner in the UK, the Forestry Commission, has chosen a new ALPR-based parking system to control its facilities across the 1.7m acres (700,000 hectares) of woodland in England and Scotland under its control.
Newpark Solutions has been awarded the major contract to install its latest Fusion ticketless pay-on-foot parking system at over 40 woods and forests across the UK managed by the Forestry Commission.
The first two installations have already been completed to handle over 1,000 car parking spaces situated at Alice Holt, a Royal forest in Hampshire, and Moors Valley Country Park in Dorset. The government-owned Commission charges for vehicle access within these forests to supplement government funding and assist with the maintenance costs of the woodland facilities where a wide range of activities take place throughout the year, including live music, children’s days out, walking, cycling, horse-riding, tree-top adventures, wildlife trails and a wide range of special events.
Newpark’s Fusion system uses automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) cameras at the entrance to each car park, automatically raising the barriers and eliminating the need for drivers having to wait for tickets to be dispensed. A ‘virtual’ ticket is created upon entry and is used to allow the vehicle to leave by automatically raising the exit barrier after payment has been made. The pay stations have been installed in purpose-built timber shelters to blend in with the natural surroundings in each location, and protect drivers from the elements when paying for their parking before departure. They feature large 17in (43cm) screens that allow visitors to quickly and easily enter their license plate numbers, even when wearing gloves or prosthetic devices. Online payments can also be made through Newpark’s hosted platform before departure.
The Fusion system has lower ongoing maintenance costs, as it removes the need to refill or repair ticket dispensers, or replace lost chipcoins (tokens). Newpark has also provided the Commission with a centralized parking management application, with a real-time dashboard showing instant views of each car park, detailing all movements and payments. It includes analytics that provide insight to help plan future events and identify peak periods to organize staff rotas in visitor centers.
“A particularly important factor in choosing the Fusion system from Newpark Solutions was that, being ticketless, it was a more environmentally friendly solution in keeping with our principles of conservation and sustainable forestry,” explained Richard Burke, district recreation and public affairs manager at the Forestry Commission.
“The new system takes care of itself, allowing us to retain more revenue, while reducing operational costs. Newpark is also tailoring each installation to meet specific local needs, with any software development carried out by its UK-based team of software specialists at no additional cost. With proven reliability in high volume parking applications, the Fusion system delivers higher revenues and lower operating costs, enabling us to further develop our woodland facilities and enhance the visitor experience. We look forward to rolling out the system to other locations over the coming months.”