Licence Plate Recognition

Council provides more than 6400 parking places in Cairns, including 1400 in the CBD, through a mix of on-street parking and off-street carparks.

Parking regulations, especially on-street parking, is updated regularly as the city grows, and to ensure a regular turnover of vehicles to balance the needs of visitors, shoppers, businesses and employees.

Council is currently investing in a raft of parking changes across the city so we can better respond to complaints and meet community expectations on parking availability. 

This includes:

  • Introduction of Licence Plate Recognition
  • Making some centre median parking free in the CBD, but time restricted
  • Upgrading the Lake St multi-storey carpark
  • Replacing old pay and display machines with newer models that accept credit card payments and have paywave facility
  • Trialling the Parkmobile  phone app so motorists can pay for daily, weekly or monthly parking at Council's Hartley St car park instead of making cash payments via pay and display machines
  • Installing in-ground sensors in targeted areas to gather data to help future planning of car parking infrastructure.

What is licence plate recognition (LPR)?

Licence Plate Recognition is often referred to as electronic chalking.

Traditionally, parking officers patrol car parking on foot and "chalk" tyres or manually inspect pay and display tickets.

LPR uses photo recognition to do this by recording and cross-referencing licence plate numbers.

This is done using an LPR camera, mounted on a Council patrol car, that is connected to an on-board computer.

In practice:

  1. Parking officers drive along a street or area and record licence plates using in-car Licence Plate Recognition.
  2. Officers complete a second "pass" along the street or area at the end of the regulated parking limit. In a 2P area this is every 2 hours; in a loading zone every 20 or 30 mins, and so on. 
  3. At the end of the section, LPR cross-references photos taken in both passes to determine if a vehicle has overstayed in the parking bay.
  4. Parking officers stop the vehicle, print out any parking infringements and place a ticket on the offending vehicle's windscreen if a valid permit is not displayed.
  5. It no offence has been committed, all photos and data related to the vehicles are permanently deleted from the system.

Why is Council introducing LPR?

Licence Plate Recognition greatly reduces the amount of time that parking officers need to spend on patrols.

This will free up our inspectors to focus on other parking-related matters such as:

  • Vehicles blocking drive ways
  • Vehicles parked illegally in disabled parking bays
  • Enquiries regarding regulated parking in the suburbs
  • Reviews of other areas to ensure future planning
  • Review and patrol of school zones

We currently receive an average of 125 parking-related complaints each month.

The long-term objective is to remove metered parking in the city and off-set this with more patrols to ensure motorists are adhering to time limits.

Last updated: 07 October 2015