ABBOTSFORD, BC, CANADA
How University of the Fraser Valley Eliminated Paper Passes With Offstreet
The University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) is a public university in Abbotsford, BC, Canada
The move towards License Plate Recognition (LPR) enforcement prompted UFV to replace paper passes, which were being mailed out by parking operator, REEF, with a digital solution
UFV also wanted to address demand from departments to validate guest parking, who had been using scratch books as old as five years, by creating unique codes for each department to validate online
The new system allows for the integration of all UFV lots and ensures license plate data is sent to enforcement in real time
The new system has been operational for student permits since Fall/21 and was expanded to staff permits and department validations by Spring/Summer/22
Eliminate the need for paper passes on campus
Provide departments with a simple, effective validation program
Fully utilize LPR enforcement to increase efficiency
University of the Fraser Valley is a post-secondary institute in BC, Canada. They are a public university that enrolls approximately 15,000 students per year.
The university has four campuses; Chilliwack, Mission, Hope, and there main campus in Abbotsford, just east of Vancouver.
Parking operations are managed by the Ancillary Services department, specifically by Cameron Roy, Director of Ancillary Services. Parking enforcement is contracted out to REEF Parking, who often consults on parking matters.
Paper passes for student and staff permits
One of the first things UFV wanted to replace was 'Blue Passes'. Blue passes were paper parking passes given to students who purchased weekly, monthly, or semester permits. Students were required to go to the bookstore or parking office to purchase these passes and were expected to return them when they expired.
On a similar note, there was immense desire to move all staff permits digital as well. At UFV there were three options for staff parking permits; daily parking, monthly permits, or payroll deduction permits. Staff received a different parking rate than students, and therefor were required to visit the bookstore or parking office to pay for parking. If receiving a monthly permit or payroll deduction, they were mailed a paper pass to hang in their dash.
The main challenges with these processes were that it was onerous for the parking team to manage and it was a poor experience for students and staff. In an effort to move in the same direction that the world was going, UFV wanted to transition to a digital permit system; reducing the administrative work required by their team and making it more convenient for students and staff to purchase parking permits.
A validation program for departments to pay for their guests' parking
Another area UFV identified as a challenge was their departmental validations. It's not uncommon for departments to want to pay for parking for guests they have coming to campus; guest lecturers, VIP's, etc. The issue the parking team had with this was that many departments were using scratch passes they had purchased five years before. This made reconciliation extremely difficult, but it also meant parking was being given away for much less than what it is worth today. Although the parking team knew it was time to phase out these passes, they were concerned with pushback they'd receive. Getting department buy-in became a crucial component of the change-management process.
The strain paper passes had on enforcement and operations as a whole
UFV and partner, REEF Parking, were moving to a more efficient method of enforcement involving the use LPR. Keeping paper passes in operation were creating challenges for patrollers - they would frequently need to get out of their vehicles to check whether or not the vehicle had a permit in the dash. This reduced the efficiency of enforcement operations, creating opportunities for abuse to go uncaught.
UFV, an innovative campus, knew that maintaining the use of paper passes was a strain on their resources. Opting for a digital solution was in line with consumer expectations and would allow them to introduce automation into their operation, reducing time spent managing the distribution and collection of parking passes.
Implement virtual permits for students and staff
Using Offstreet for virtual student permits was the initial use case. UFV wanted to have a seamless transition to virtual permits, so for the Fall 2021 semester students purchased their permits following the same process they had before, but instead of needing a decal, license plate numbers were added to Offstreet. An integration between Offstreet and Genetec ensured all necessary data (license plate, state/prov, and start/expiry times) were sent to enforcement in real time.
For virtual staff permits, the initial use case was for staff who were paying for permits through payroll deductions. For the Spring/Summer 2022 semester all employee permits were uploaded into Offstreet, eliminating the need for UFV and REEF to manage paper passes.
For the Fall 2022 semester, all student and staff parking permits were made available for purchase online, increasing accessibility and eliminating the need for paper passes, freeing up internal resources for both UFV's and REEF's parking teams.
Provide departments with a simple way to validate guest parking
The use of old, pre-purchased books was causing challenges for the parking team at UFV. Empowering departments on campus with an easy to use, virtual permit option allowed UFV to be more hands-off, increase revenue, and improve enforcement operations.
Departments were given a unique code (ie., 1234 = Faculty of Business Administration) to validate guest parking online. Each code in Offstreet was associated with a department name, budget code, and contact person; all of this information was available in a usage report at the end of each billing period.
Use API integrations to connect all technologies and fully utilize LPR
Four different lots make up the student and staff lots at UFV. Students were permitted to park in two lots, while staff were permitted to park in all four. Setting up a direct integration with Genetec ensured the permit data entered into Offstreet was available in LPR. Utilizing Offstreet's unique Linked Locations feature, UFV was able to easily map the student and staff lots; ensuring a single entry allowed students and staff to park in any of their designated lots.
Eliminated the need for paper passes on campus
Provided departments with an easy to use validation program
Increased efficiency by fully utilizing LPR enforcement
“We incorporated the Offstreet Application module during Summer 2021 and have found it an effective tool to make Parking Services more efficient and customer-friendly. We can now offer seamless customer service through real-time licence plate recognition that both pleases and surprises parking clients.”
Cameron Roy, Director of Ancillary Services