The new system for catching cars parking illegally is a specially equipped car that can automatically identify 500 to 1,000 illegally parked cars an hour, compared to 10 by an agent, according to RTS.
Tested in 2016, the Scan Car swung into operation across the city last week.
A new model of the vehicle will join it in April, according to Geneva’s parking authority. The cars are equipped with cameras connected to a database. The system checks to see if there is a valid parking record in the database matching each car’s license plate.
Scan Cars have four cameras mounted on the roof and can operate at up to 80km/h, capturing license plates with bumpers as close as 20 centimetres apart, says the parking company.
Currently, only 35% of drivers are paying for parks in the city.
Some changes are required to make the system work for all types of parking situations. Resident parking permits will be registered in a central database. Machines will stop issuing paper tickets by the end of February.
Ticket agents will still be required. Scan Cars won’t issue tickets, agents will still do that after being directed to the offending vehicle by the Scan Car.
It is hoped the extra data collected could be used to inform drivers where they can park. According to RTS, 30% of traffic in the city is drivers looking for parks. It is hoped this new technology might help people find empty parks faster. One thing is certain however, it won’t increase the number of parks.
Geneva’s parking company says there are no issues with privacy and data protection – they say the data is deleted. However, given that data is collected and hacks are possible, there can be no guarantee.