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In Brief: San Marcos introduces License Plate Recognition for parking enforcement

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
Office of Media Relations
February 8, 2018

SAN MARCOS – The City of San Marcos will begin using license plate recognition technology to help parking enforcement officers manage downtown parking. Preparations for the automated system are under way with full implementation scheduled prior to March 1.

The city contracted with NuPark, a firm based in Cedar Park, to provide the automated technology. The company will provide the city a comprehensive cloud-based parking management system fully integrated with enforcement, citation and permit functionalities. The mobile license plate recognition (LPR) enforcement allows the city to automate the process with more accuracy and efficiency.

How LPR works:

  • The LPR system captures two photos of observed vehicles: (1) a context photo of the vehicle and its immediate surroundings and (2) a photo of the license plate. The photos are not of a resolution that allows identification of vehicle occupants if they are present.
  • Along with the photographic data, the system also records the global positioning system (GPS) coordinates and date/time information of the observation.
  • Parking enforcement will regularly monitor all areas with time-limited parking restrictions, which are primarily downtown.
  • If a vehicle remains parked in the same location in excess of the posted time limit, the LPR system will notify the officer and a citation may be issued.

What LPR does not do:

  • The system does not store owner or driver information directly with the LPR record.
  • The system is designed only for parking enforcement purposes and does not scan for warrants.
  • The system does not keep data indefinitely—data collected that does not result in parking enforcement action or is not part of an ongoing law enforcement investigation or prosecution is retained for 180 days.

“The City of San Marcos was interested in a technology-driven solution for parking enforcement that could interface with our existing systems and have the capacity to expand and adapt as our approach to parking management becomes more sophisticated,” said Kevin Burke, the city’s economic development and downtown administrator.

Parking enforcement officers are responsible for enforcement of a wide range of parking-related offenses. In 2016, the city’s parking enforcement team issued 6,742 warnings and citations for infractions such as parking in front of a mailbox, parking in a handicap space without a permit, and parking in excess of posted time limits downtown. On-street parking throughout downtown San Marcos is limited to two hours, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information about the program, contact Kevin Burke at (512) 393-8108 or kburke@sanmarcostx.gov.

About Texas State University

Founded in 1899, Texas State University is among the largest universities in Texas with an enrollment of 38,694 students on campuses in San Marcos and Round Rock. Texas State’s 181,000-plus alumni are a powerful force in serving the economic workforce needs of Texas and throughout the world. Designated an Emerging Research University by the State of Texas, Texas State is classified under “Doctoral Universities: Higher Research Activity,” the second-highest designation for research institutions under the Carnegie classification system.

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