Airport Parking Systems / Car Park Management Solutions / Prebooking and Mobile Applications

Date 23.11.2011

The expectations placed on modern car parks – including airport car parks – by both users and their operators have risen enormously in recent times. Service, safety, security and profitability are key factors, and are being enhanced by a number of innovations from the car park management industry.

Which air passenger hasnít experienced the situation? You drive your car to the airport before setting off for an extended holiday or business appointment abroad. In most cases the time available until check-in and subsequent departure is very tight. It goes without saying that airport parking facilities are extremely busy. And for this reason, as a matter of principle, parking spaces need to be clearly signposted and quick and easy to reach, and have systems that facilitate a speedy and secure parking process.

At the present time the subject of security is an especially high priority for airports. More than ever, security doesnít just stop at the subject of parking, but instead ranges from car park lighting, straightforward signage, clear floor markings for pedestrians and the arrangement of pay stations in well laid out areas, to the provision of help points and video surveillance. When it comes to car park operation, the safety and security of customers and vehicles are extremely important issues. For this reason a professional parking system must combine individual customer requirements with compliance with the provisions of the relevant legislation in terms of car park operation, security and use. With PM ABACUS, DESIGNA has created a professional parking system that stands up to todayís high safety requirements, whilst offering a high level of user friendliness and efficiency.

Claims resulting from damage to vehicles
With its integrated video technology, PM ABACUS makes it possible to easily clear up claims arising from damage to vehicles. The technology enables photographs to be taken of every vehicle upon both entry and departure by at least two cameras, and for the images to be stored in the system with the date and time. To enable a vehicle to be clearly identified for any subsequent investigation, and to make it possible to find pictures of the right car quickly, the images need to be linked to the specific ticket number and be endorsed with the vehicleís license plate number. To do this, the number is recorded using automatic license plate recognition (LPR). Making a record of the condition of the vehicle at the car park entrance and exit makes it possible to provide complete proof of whether a vehicle was already damaged upon arrival, or indeed if the damage took place inside the car park or only after leaving. In the event of a claim, this kind of professional system allows the desired images to be called up quickly from the database either via the ticket number or the vehicle license number. This important information helps to protect car park operators from attempted fraud and to process claims settlements in a customer-friendly and lawful manner. Operators in countries where the law states that the car park owner bears responsibility for all vehicles parked in the parking facility, and where consequently the operator also carries the burden of proof in liability claims, will benefit particularly from this technology.

The problem of vehicle theft
Vehicle thefts cannot be completely prevented with the existing technical capabilities. However, the correct preventative measures can considerably reduce the risk of theft. For example, by using license plate recognition (LPR) systems at the car park entrance and exit, thieves attempting to leave with the wrong ticket and a stolen car can be identified automatically, because the license plate number of every car that enters the car park is linked to a specific ticket number. However, if a thief enters the car park with one vehicle license plate and then attaches it to another vehicle in which he intends to leave, and in so doing uses the original ticket, then the vehicle cannot be identified at the exit as having been stolen. This kind of deception can only be discovered automatically by using an extended recognition system linking typical vehicle features, such as its colour, shape, length or weight to the ticket. At the present time, combinations such as these are not yet in use.

Another potential way of stealing a vehicle is the thief claiming to have lost his ticket as he tries to leave and being able to exit the car park with a newly issued ticket. In this case, a theft can only be prevented by trained personnel checking the saved data. Initially this is done by posing targeted questions to the customer about the time of arrival, the vehicleís characteristics or the license plate number. The answers given must then be compared with the pre- recorded data about the parking event. If the customerís statements correspond with the saved data, then the identity of the lawful vehicle owner can be determined without difficulty, and a new ticket may be generated. In addition, if a driver camera that is able to record a picture of the driver and store it in the system with the other ticket information is installed at the car park entrance, then it is highly likely that it will be possible to clearly identify the lawful owner.

It is currently not possible to identify an attempted attack in the car park automatically by technical means alone. However, in this area too, several measures are available that have a deterrent effect.

For example, in addition to the use of conventional surveillance techniques, a combination of license plate recognition, vehicle cameras and driver cameras can contribute to the very high probability of being able to identify both the perpetrator and his or her vehicle after an attack. Over and above this, the installation of underfloor cameras in special VIP areas that are monitored by security personnel can provide additional security. Underfloor cameras or line scan cameras that are embedded in the floor automatically record an image of the vehicleís entire underbody as it drives over them. These images can be analysed online by operating personnel in order to discover and stave off potential dangers in advance.

Vandalism and Theft
Automatic pay stations in which money is stored are common targets of vandalism and theft. A high degree of protection can be provided by concentrating these machines in one location that is specially monitored by the car parkís staff. Automatic pay stations that stand alone in areas that are not overlooked, are on the one hand not popular with customers and in addition are also at risk of vandalism and theft. If these danger areas are monitored by cameras in the building and in the pay stations themselves, this also has a deterrent effect. Fitting anti-breakin devices to the outside of the pay station and the installation of internal security systems can also provide additional anti-theft protection. Internal anti-break-in devices such as strengthened hinges or multiple locks are therefore also part of the basic equipment of every pay station system.

The operators of car parks are constantly on the lookout for ways of increasing customer satis- faction and enhancing their safety and security using modern and innovative parking technologies. At the same time, the parking systems have to meet the companyís economic needs. The days when car parks and underground parking garages were merely a means to an end have long since passed. Today they are complex, modern systems that – as in every company – play their part in the success of the business.


DESIGNA Verkehrsleittechnik GmbH
Faluner Weg 3
24109 Kiel
  • +49 4 3153 360