The Borough of State College is a Pennsylvania municipality with a metro area population of over 150,000. Recently, State College implemented a License-Plate Enabled (LEP) ecosystem, managed through the T2 Flex Unified Parking Management platform incorporating Digital Payment Technologies multi-space meters, Genetec AutoVu LPR technology, and Parkmobile Pay-by-Cell. The Borough was the first municipality in the US to implement a LEP ecosystem, and has seen significant improvements to efficiency and return on investment.
State College is a college town, dominated economically and demographically by the presence of the University Park campus of the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State). Parking options include three surface lots, three parking garages, and over 1,200 on-street parking spaces. During the school year, particularly on home football Saturdays, parking is extremely scarce.
Before implementing their new system, State College’s streets were lined with coin-operated, singlespace meters—and their enforcement handhelds did not operate in a live environment. In-office permit sales were slowing workflows and collection was a slow, painstaking process.
After a thorough investigation of his options, Parking Manager Charley DeBow determined his best path to success was combining the services of Digital Payment Technologies multi-space meters, AutoVu LPR technology, Parkmobile Pay-by-Cell, and T2 Flex Unified Parking Management platform—the LEP ecosystem.
How it works
Parking payments are accepted via Digital Luke II on-street pay station or the Parkmobile app. All pay station and pay-by-cell transactions are pushed to the Digital Iris cloud-based platform. AutoVu reads license plates as the LPR vehicle is in motion and communicates with Flex and Digital Iris in real time to update the list of valid permits and paid license plates. If there is a license plate that does not have a permit or is unpaid, the officer can then issue a citation. State College’s entire operation now operates in the cloud and provides real-time updates to enforcement officers in the field and back office staff. Data is also consolidated in one central database making reporting and predictive intelligence easy.
“T2 Flex allows my staff and I to see every piece of our operation in real time,” DeBow said. “And we are able to provide up-to-the-minute reports to our administration.”
State College was the first municipality in the country to take on a LEP ecosystem implementation—making its success even more impressive. “We really mapped out what steps would be necessary for success before we even thought about implementing the new technology,” DeBow said. “Everything from signage, to marketing, to staffing was considered.”
The extensive planning made the transition a seamless one. “We communicated to the public early and often about the changes,” DeBow said. “We also had staff in the lots to offer assistance to our patrons during the first three weeks.” State College’s patrons love the idea that they can pay once and park in multiple locations on the same transaction. Since everything runs through Flex, and because enforcement is tracked via the plate, they can move between any of the lots with Digital pay stations without having to pay again.
“The Digital pay stations have made a world of difference,” DeBow said. “They’ve allowed us to increase revenue through the elimination of piggybacking, provide more payment options to customers (coins, bills and credit cards), and provide a single parking credential (a license plate number) that can be used anytime our patrons park in State College.”
The success of the new system has been remarkable, and the numbers tell the story:
- 30% revenue increase in lots with multi-space pay stations, paying off the investment in just 10 months
- $30k/year revenue increase by eliminating piggybacking
- Distribution of 1,400 hangtags has been eliminated—saving $2,500/year
- Pay station collection cycles were cut in half with the implementation of pay-by-phone from Parkmobile
- 200% increase in online sales—dramatically reducing in-office traffic
“Having a unified parking management system has revolutionized the way we manage parking,” DeBow said. “The ROI numbers are fantastic and continue to improve.”
About T2 Systems Inc.
Since 1994, T2 Systems has delivered proven parking solutions that meet the ever-changing needs of the parking industry, and this commitment shows−in T2’s quality of products and services, thought leadership and strong customer service relationships. With its broad range of software, hardware, management and technology services, T2 Systems is trusted by nearly 400 organizations in the US and Canada including universities, cities, towns, private operators, and airports.