On a stage in California in front of an applauding audience. It’s an unlikely place for Parking and Transportation Services Director Pam Mooney to find herself, especially in the middle of a semester. But last month, that’s exactly where Pam was as she accepted the prestigious technology award from the National Association of College Auxiliary Services (NACAS) at their annual conference in Anaheim.
The award is given to Auxiliary Services departments who use technology creatively to improve services to customers. It is bestowed on only two departments a year—one at a large school and one at a small school. TU’s Parking and Transportation Services received the award in the large school category for its License Plate Recognition (LPR) program, which has enabled more efficient parking operations since its implementation in 2011.
“LPR allows us to do more with less,” Pam said. “We can enforce parking regulations more frequently with fewer staff members, helping to keep parking spaces available for our paying customers.”
In the past, parking enforcement staff had to physically check each vehicle on campus for the appropriate permit. Now they drive vehicles equipped with the LPR system, which quickly scans each vehicle’s license plate and checks it for a valid permit as well as police department flags. The system alerts the driver if there’s a violation or a safety concern, at which point they can issue the ticket or call the police. The more efficient method means a more accurate enforcement system and a safer campus—all while saving costs for the university.
“LPR is saving us thousands of dollars in reduced staff hours, plus it allows us to use virtual permits which further reduces costs,” Pam said. “The system paid for itself in about two years.”
That cost savings isn’t just good for the department; it’s good for all permit holders. As a self-support entity Parking and Transportation Services has to raise funds for its operations through permit sales. The more efficient they can be, the more they can mitigate increases in permit costs—something of interest to all NACAS members.
“Towson University was selected as the winner of this award because it was not only innovative, but potentially adaptable to many campuses,” said David Wahr, chairman of the NACAS Awards Committee.
Along with the technology award, Pam received a free registration to the NACAS conference so she could present information about LPR to fellow attendees. Here she is accepting her award alongside the small school award winner and award sponsors Shop24 Global: