Transitioning to Virtual Permits


The move from physical to virtual permits is happening everyday, as municipalities and college campuses across the US make the switch. With so many benefits, the question still remains, why aren't more institutions doing this?


First, let’s discuss how a virtual permit works.

A virtual permit is a parker’s license plate. Parkers will register their license plate, and in most cases, pay for their permit. License Plate Recognition (LPR) is the technology used to read the license plates and then its software compares it to a list of registered parkers’ plates.


Sounds simple but there are a few considerations that should be made before making the switch.


The fears that get in the way, and a few solutions.

  • The Trust Factor. You may question, as you should, whether your provider is a trusted partner. Is the provider’s team experienced and proven? As an institution, you have to be able to trust that the enforcement tools (LPR) will only cite license plates that are not registered. Longevity, experience, and reputation are good markers to determine if you can trust your provider or if you should look elsewhere. Additionally, parkers should be able to trust that their license plate will be registered without the safety of a visible sticker on the windshield. Additionally, you simply cannot overlook the fact that a non-tech savvy customer base still exists. There will be skepticism that not having that piece of paper on their windshield somehow makes them vulnerable to receiving a citation or tow.


  • Resistance to Change. The impact of parker adoption to your new program seems to be a big consideration. Take control of the conversation by launching a well thought out and clearly communicated process for your parkers. This will eliminate the fear of the unknowns. Consider developing a phased rollout that includes a communication phase, an initial roll out phase and a final roll out phase. Create a webpage and an FAQ page. Make sure they have a contact number or location parkers can visit as a resource. Set up regular reminders to keep them in the loop on upcoming changes. Consider being lenient in the first few phases of the rollout to give yourself more time to educate your parkers.


The benefits of going virtual far outweigh the negatives. Here’s why:

There are a number of benefits to consider but of them, these are the most important and most impactful:

  • Flexibility: If allowed, the parker can change registered vehicles immediately, without the hassle of moving the permit from one vehicle to another.

  • You will undoubtedly reduce costs (and waste!) - No more paper permit fulfillment, no more mailing.

  • Their virtual permit is active as soon as it’s paid and the parker doesn’t have to wait for it in the mail.

  • Virtual permits can’t be stolen or misplaced.


What should you measure?

As with any change, measurement is key to ensure it’s effective. Here’s a few to track for enhanced operational efficiency.

  • Cost savings - How much were you spending before on printing and mailing permits? How much were you spending on enforcement and citations?

  • Time savings - How much time was spent before on enforcement, issuing citations, educating parkers on the process?

  • Permit compliance rate: Did you notice a drop in citations issued? An increase in Parker permit purchases?

You can still use physical permits as you make the move to virtual. It’s a good practice to have a transition period in some form, while you explain to your customers that those permits will eventually be phased out. Also, remember once you move to virtual permits, you’ll need license plate recognition technology to conduct enforcement. The benefits far exceed any negatives. If you have additional questions on how, we are here to help.


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