UWO parking system under revision

Shannon Gaffney, News Writer

UW Oshkosh will revamp its parking system if the University receives a bid from a company for a License Plate Recognition system according to police Capt. Chris Tarmann.

“Once that’s in place it will pretty much reinvent our whole parking management system,” Tarmann said. “We won’t have to issue sticky permits anymore, it will just be based on your license plate.”

The campus parking department will begin implementing the system starting fall of 2018, which will indicate which specific areas they can park on campus, Tarmann said.

“Real-time data is gathered through the LPR system to understand what lots are being used at certain times of the day,” Tarmann said. “This can also help figure out where to possibly open up spaces somewhere else.”

The primary driver for the new $150,000 system is increased efficiency, but everyone within the campus community will benefit in some way, Tarmann said.

“Hopefully the system is going to be sophisticated enough that we can draw a geofence around the system, so when you drive into a specific spot it understands where you are and then reports back that ‘Yep we should have students in this space,’” Tarmann said.

According to Tarmann, a geofence is an area outlined on a smart map that allows rules to be defined within it. Parking officials could open up a smart map and see those rules.

UWO Director of Parking and Transportation Services Benjamin Richardson said, along with benefits to campus community members, there is a monetary gain that will be used to offset the maintenance fees in the future.

“We are initially going to save around $50,000 a year, maybe even a little more than that,” Richardson said. “That doesn’t even include what we will understand once we have the system in place.”

Next year there will still be a permanent system as we work out all the kinks, Richardson said.

“Throughout the whole first year there will be situations and problems to work out, but by the second year most of those will be solved,” Richardson said.

Tarmann said the real-time data being provided will be a huge gain with the new system implementation.

“One of the things that’s most exciting to me is that once the system’s in place and driving around campus, it will feed us information about where cars are real-time,” Tarmann said. “Then we can notify people either through the app, or even a little longer down the road we would have signs at the lots that say how many spots are open currently in the lot.”

Richardson said he is extremely optimistic about the LPR system and the opportunities it will bring to the campus.

“It really gives ease of access to everybody, not just from our perspective, but from the users’ perspective it makes everything more convenient,” Richardson said.