License Plate Recognition

The City of San Marcos uses license plate recognition technology to help parking enforcement officers manage downtown parking.

The City contracted with NuPark, a firm based in Cedar Park, TX, to provide the automated technology. The company will provide the City a comprehensive cloud-based parking management system fully integrated with enforcement, citation and permit functionalities. The mobile license plate recognition (LPR) enforcement allows the City to automate the process with more accuracy and efficiency.

How LPR works:

  • The LPR system captures two photos of observed vehicles: (1) a context photo of the vehicle and its immediate surroundings and (2) a photo of the license plate. The photos are not of a resolution that allows identification of vehicle occupants if they are present.
  • Along with the photographic data, the system also records the global positioning system (GPS) coordinates and date/time information of the observation.
  • Parking enforcement will regularly monitor all areas with time-limited parking restrictions, which are primarily downtown.
  • If a vehicle remains parked in the same location in excess of the posted time limit, the LPR system will notify the officer and a citation may be issued.

What LPR does not do:

  • The system does not store owner or driver information directly with the LPR record.
  • The system is designed only for parking enforcement purposes and does not scan for warrants.
  • The system does not keep data indefinitely - data collected that does not result in parking enforcement action or is not part of an ongoing law enforcement investigation or prosecution is retained for 180 days.

“The City of San Marcos was interested in a technology-driven solution for parking enforcement that could interface with our existing systems and have the capacity to expand and adapt as our approach to parking management becomes more sophisticated,” said Kevin Burke, the City’s Economic Development & Downtown Administrator.

Parking enforcement officers are responsible for enforcement of a wide range of parking-related offenses. In 2016, the City’s parking enforcement team issued 6,742 warnings and citations for infractions such as parking in front of a mailbox, parking in a handicap space without a permit, and parking in excess of posted time limits downtown. On-street parking throughout downtown San Marcos is limited to two hours, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“In San Marcos, what we heard from our community outreach was a desire for enhanced enforcement of our existing on-street time restrictions to provide more available parking by encouraging turnover. We determined that LPR parking enforcement could be a good first step, allowing us to increase enforcement while facilitating data collection that will guide our implementation of other parking management strategies in the future.”

For more information about the program, contact Kevin Burke at 512.393.8108 or kburke@sanmarcostx.gov.