UK stadium complex installs Newpark’s ALPR-based ticketless parking system

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A major UK sports stadium complex has installed a new license plate-based ticketless pay-on-foot parking system, increasing throughput and reducing tailbacks onto the surrounding road network.

The 32,600-seat Ricoh Arena is home to the Wasps Premiership Rugby team and Coventry City Football Club, with the venue also offering a mix of state-of-the-art conference, training, banqueting, exhibition, hotel, music and sports facilities. Newpark Solutions won the tender for the high profile contract against competition from some of the UK’s leading suppliers of ticket-based pay-on-foot parking systems.

The company has deployed its Fusion system, which will be used to manage 2,000 on-site parking bays at the venue. Seven payment terminals have been installed at strategic locations across the 40-acre site, where visitors can pay for their parking before departure. After inputting their vehicle’s registration number, using a large 17in (43cm) touchscreen at the pay-station, the software calculates their dwell time and payment. Visitors can also make online payments through Newpark’s hosted platform before they leave.

The Fusion system combines high definition ALPR (automatic license plate recognition) technology with existing barriers to revolutionize the way that parking lots operate. ALPR cameras at the entrance speed up the arrival process by seamlessly raising the barriers, often before cars have come to a complete stop. This eliminates the need for drivers to roll down their windows and push a button, before waiting for tickets to be dispensed. A digital pass is created upon entry and is used to allow the vehicle to exit after payment has been made. Installations at other sites have already shown that the time to allow four cars through the entry barrier is decreased from around 15 seconds to less than 3 seconds. This improvement is also repeated at the exit.

The Fusion ticketless parking system eliminates many of the operating costs associated with traditional pay-on-foot parking systems, as there is no need to refill or repair ticket dispensers or replace lost ‘chipcoins’. Drivers are treated more fairly, as they will not have to pay the full day rate should they lose a ticket. The Fusion system also eliminates lost revenues that occur when ticket-based systems malfunction and barriers have to be raised to let cars leave without paying.

“The Fusion system will revolutionize the way that parking lots operate, generating up to 15% higher revenues than can be achieved using ticket-based pay-on-foot systems,” noted Matthew Cook, Newpark’s managing director. “It not only provides faster entry and exit with easier payment options, but also has fewer moving parts to reduce the maintenance burden and deliver operational savings.”

Andy Gibb, managing director of the Ricoh Arena, commented, “We are committed to working with suppliers that are leaders in high tech innovation and sustainability. Newpark Solutions was awarded the contract as it provides a cost effective and efficient alternative to traditional ticket-based systems. We also believe the new system will significantly increase throughput to reduce queuing and improve the customer experience at the many events hosted by the Arena every year.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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