APT SkiData, the UK's leading Pay-on-Foot parking systems business, has won one of the largest refurbishment projects to be awarded this year, replacing the systems currently installed in four car parks at Southampton Airport with the latest APT 450 systems and integrated Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology.
The contract, awarded through Meteor Parking with whom APT SkiData has successfully worked at Stansted Airport, includes replacing systems within four areas: the short-term; long-term; car rental/collection; and staff car parks. APT 450 barriers will cover 16 new entry/exit lanes, and a total of eight pay-on-foot stations will also be installed.
Three of the new pay-on-foot stations will be the new Credit.Cash machines equipped for credit/debt card payments only; the balance will be the new Easy.Cash machines equipped to accept cards and cash (coins and banknotes). These machines will be the first in mainland Britain to feature ‘note-to-note' recycling - in effect the ability to store £5 and £10 cash payments and re-utilize them as change using bank notes together with coins, thereby avoiding dispensing large amounts of coins as change.
The ANPR technology has a dual purpose: as a security measure to allow a complete audit trail of vehicles onto each site; and as a customer service tool within the visitors/passengers car parks to recognize and grant entry to those vehicles registered as having booked and pre-paid over the internet, thanks to APT SkiData's ability to integrate with Meteor Parking's eparking.uk.com suite of ‘website to parking' solutions.
Southampton Airport is one of the fastest growing European regional airports. In 2005/06 passenger numbers reached 1.9 million, more than double the numbers three years ago. The airport now serves 47 destinations in 12 European countries. It is owned and operated by BAA, the world's leading airport company, which also owns and operates Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Glasgow and Aberdeen, all of which also feature APT SkiData solutions.
Giles Parry, Technical Director of Meteor Parking comments: "Having worked successfully with APT SkiData before at Stansted, we felt confident in working with them again in a contract of this scale. The company brings a combination of technologies already proven in the UK, as well as some innovative thinking and new product development - notably the addition of ANPR and the new note-to-note pay-on-foot stations - that will be of considerable advantage to our customers and our client.
"APT SkiData's equipment and software was the best ‘fit' in terms of integrating with our own car park pre-booking technology, as well as providing enhanced security tools given the close proximity of the car parks to the airport."
The technology installed is based around APT SkiData's proven APT 450 PC-based range. The APT 450 is flexible in design and uses industry-standard software (Windows XP and SQL7 database). Each component of the revenue collection system is designed and manufactured from high-grade steel, cast aluminum and polycarbonate. It comprises a combined management computer/cashier with ticket reader/coder and intercom facility to entries, exits and pay stations and features a sophisticated graphic user interface with integrated on-line help facilities, enabling the car parks to be run with seamless efficiency.
The system is integrated with Meteor Parking's own online data collection programme that enables customers to pre-book car parking spaces over the Internet, through sites such as pinkelephantparking.com. Reservations are then downloaded and are recognized by APT's terminals either through ANPR or on insertion of the credit card into the entry barrier. The result is a car parking system that is designed to eliminate unnecessary queues and improve convenience, particularly where tight time frames are often concerned.
ANPR is an established technology within the security and policing sectors, now increasingly being used in the parking industry to help improve and bring new levels of flexibility to customer service. The system can automatically allow car park entry to authorized personnel and pre-booked visitors, simply by ‘recognising' their car as it arrives by reading its plate.
ANPR can control barriers, count the number of vehicles that have parked, and support staff to determine if vehicles (and drivers) are authorized as and when they arrive. Information can be networked and shared as required, with images of vehicles and their license plates captured with an event log for subsequent review.
The ANPR technology is being provided as part of an exclusive re-seller agreement with the specialist manufacturer, Citysnyc.