CMU to introduce new 100% digital parking permit system

| Author: Aaron Mills

Central Michigan University will introduce a new online self-service parking portal and permit-by-plate system for fall of 2022.

The new system will eliminate the need for physical parking permits and instead use license plate recognition software. This will allow individuals to use their vehicle license plate as their parking permit. Parking Services vehicles equipped with LPR technology will read license plates to verify permit status. If a scanned license plate number is not associated with a valid permit or is not being used correctly, parking enforcement will investigate and potentially issue a citation. 

The switch from physical decals to permit by plate will bring several positive changes to the parking experience at CMU. With LPR technology offering immediate 24/7 permit access, it will alleviate start-of-semester stress by no longer requiring individuals to wait for permits to arrive in the mail, pick up permits at the parking services office, or risk losing physical permits. Individuals who need to transfer permits or request guest parking permits will be able to easily do so online, allowing for immediate permit access.

The move towards LPR and permit-by-plate will positively impact CMU’s campus sustainability efforts and safety initiatives. The new system will eliminate the need for plastic permit production and the delivery and disposal of unused and expired permits, thus reducing fossil fuel use and carbon emissions. The shift also will result in annual operational cost savings of more than $70,000.

In addition, the new system will improve campus safety through a partnership that allows CMU Police to identify stolen vehicles or vehicles that may have been involved in a crime via the LPR system.

A valid CMU permit will still be required to park on campus and there will be no changes to current lot classifications. Individuals parking on campus will need to ensure their license plate information is up to date in their CMU parking account. The LPR system also requires users to park so their license plate is visible from the drive aisle. Backing in or pulling through a parking space will not be permitted unless the vehicle has a front license plate. Non-visible plates will result in a parking citation.

Testing of the new system will begin during the spring 2022 semester, and additional details will be announced this summer ahead of the expected launch in August 2022.

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