Parking at ACC is going digital

Hangtags could be a thing of the past at Austin Community College (ACC) as the college looks to revamp its parking system to make on-campus parking throughout the district easier, safer, and more convenient.

"Parking is becoming increasingly difficult on many of our campuses," says Dr. Molly Beth Malcolm, executive vice president of Campus Operations & Public Affairs. "To get started, we must understand the complexity of our district. Each campus has its own personality and unique needs."

With 11 campuses and more than 12,000 parking spaces, the college has been exploring a range of parking and transportation solutions over the past year. In 2019-20, approximately 60,000 physical parking permits were issued.

New parking and transportation improvement solutions range from standardized wayfinding signs to more costly and complex technological solutions. The college hired Dennis "Kirk" Kirkland as the first Parking and Transportation manager to help manage the projects.

Campuses are being mapped using geographic information system (GIS) technology that will visualize and analyze patterns to identify long-and-short-term solutions. One short term solution may be as simple as restriping a parking lot to create more spaces.

Beginning in 2020, ACC will implement a digital solution featuring license plate recognition (LPR). A cross-section of ACC stakeholders are currently evaluating solutions providers.

"One of the things that we can't do today is tell people who are planning classes or events whether we're going to have enough parking. LPR will provide us data so that we can know in real-time how many parking spaces are available on each campus," says Kirkland.

Current physical parking permits will remain valid through the 2019-20 academic year.