Three months after installing the SPAN system on the first parking enforcement vehicle, the CPA purchased three more SPAN solutions to be installed on the remaining three city-based parking enforcement vehicles. In one day, parking enforcement officers captured almost 10,000 parked vehicles. Out of those 10,000, fewer than 300 vehicle positions were dropped or mislocated.
The addition of the SPAN system has had unexpected benefits to the CPA in the way the parking enforcement training program is implemented. In the past, parking enforcement officers have had to have considerable familiarity about the downtown area in order to properly post-process the parking data and assess the vehicle locations, especially given the previous multipath error issues.
Dyck says, “With the new system, our parking enforcement officers don't have to have prior knowledge of downtown. Training is minimized. In fact, we've been able to cut training from one month to two weeks or less.”
Much of the training is now focused on system operation and calibration, which must happen at the beginning of every shift, and requires from 5-10 minutes to ensure positional accuracy.
For the CPA, a large part of its Return On Investment (ROI) will come from the time saved by parking enforcement officers who manually review and place vehicles in the appropriate parking zones.
Prior to the SPAN system, the officers spent 4-5 hours per day reviewing images to determine the correct GNSS locations. As many as 1,400 parked vehicles were mislocated due to multipath errors on any given day. Now the number of mislocated vehicles is down to a few hundred-and the time spent reviewing and positioning the parked vehicles that are mislocated is down to 1-2 hours instead of 4-5 hours.
CPA estimates the ROI for the SPAN systems will be less than two years.
Dyck says, “Besides the time savings, the improvement in accuracy has been a great morale booster for our agency. Hours and hours looking at a screen to verify vehicle locations is tedious work. With that time savings, I've been able to reposition one full time parking enforcement officer to other tasks.”
An unexpected benefit of the SPAN solution for the CPA has been increased revenue. Dyck adds, “We return all of our net revenue to the city. The more efficiently we are able to enforce parking regulations, the more revenue we return to the city, which is ultimately used to build or repair infrastructure.”
Also, while the community is not aware of the technology that the CPA has implemented, they might be aware of the increased accuracy of the data collected, which contributes to an overall rise in the CPA's overall enforcement system credibility.
Dyck says that he's seeing fewer court appeals and fewer hassles for individuals questioning parking tickets. “When the SPAN-enabled system takes a picture of a car, 99% of the time that car is in that zone,” he says. “This is particularly important when tickets are appealed at court. When presented with accurate GPS referenced location and photo evidence, we get more guilty pleas, and the Court itself has an increased assurance that the technology that produced the tickets is legitimate.”
The CPA's goal is not to ticket people parking in the city but to encourage higher compliance. Internal operational goals are to minimize time spent per citation including manually reviewing vehicle images for those vehicles that can't be placed.
“We try to make parking as convenient and easy as possible,” concludes Dyck. “The latest technologies help us do that with improved efficiency and accuracy of data. In an urban corridor such as Calgary, the SPAN technology certainly delivers a more efficient, accurate solution.”