The City of Aspen in Colorado, United States, uses the Security Center AutoVu™ automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) system to better enforce time-limit and permitted parking. The AutoVu solution has helped the City of Aspen increase their coverage by 900%, with less staff. Where it used to take an hour to check a specific area, it now only takes a couple of minutes.

The company

The City of Aspen, Colorado, at an elevation just shy of 8000 feet, is a popular ski and snow destination resort. The city draws a large tourist population every year, including several world-famous celebrities. Though the city, a four-hour drive from Denver, is home to only 5200 residents, it holds a bed base for 25,000 and imports around 13,000 workers per day. With all this activity, parking in Aspen is at a premium, and there is little space left to build more lots. The city’s parking department oversees around 850 commercial on-street parking spaces in the city center, a 340-space public parking garage and around 3000 residential parking spaces.

The challenge

It was estimated that between 400 and 800 cars were shuffling between parking spots in the residential districts every day to beat the two-hour time limit. This meant that, on average, 20% of the cars parked in the residential areas at any given time were in violation of the no-re-park ordinance. With a residential area approximately 12 blocks long by 18 blocks wide, the three-person team allocated to Aspen’s residential parking enforcement was not physically able to patrol the entire area in a single day. Mr. Ware was in search of a system that would provide his team with the efficiency needed to canvas all the residential spaces every day.

“We now have a photograph of any cited car, so there are no more ‘I wasn’t there’ excuses to throw around. The accuracy is dead on and indisputable. This is one the best tools I have ever bought.”


Tim Ware, Director of Parking, City of Aspen


The City of Aspen is now using the AutoVu system to better enforce parking regulations. With specialized ALPR cameras mounted on enforcement vehicles, the AutoVu system automatically reads surrounding vehicle plates, compares them to a database, and alerts parking enforcement staff when they need to take action. The solution is also integrated with pay-by-phone and permit database management systems.

Aspen’s parking enforcement solution is primarily used to patrol the residential parking zones. Today, the job is done so efficiently that the enforcement team can also occasionally run through the downtown pay-and-display parking areas to locate scofflaws. It is also very useful for monitoring the pockets of one-hour or 30-minute parking. With this ALPR system, the team is finding it easier to enforce many zones with varying regulations in less time.

The solution

Boosted efficiency

The team used to take an hour to go through one given area. Since installing the AutoVu system, it now takes only five minutes. AutoVu has enabled a 900% increase in coverage, with less staff.

Enhanced customer service

During the summer, visitors often forget where they parked. Now the team can enter a license plate number to search though license plate reads and provide the vehicle location.

Easy reporting

Mr. Ware can retrieve reports on vehicles in violation, types of citations, and more. He can also review routes to see how efficiently his officers are moving through the city.

Collaboration with police

The AutoVu system simultaneously tracks wanted vehicles and alerts the team while out on patrol. They can then pass the vehicle location onto police who can apprehend suspects.

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