New Option in Parking

Aug. 8, 2001


Increasing security, efficiencies

By Lindsay M. Hitch, Assistant Editor

August 2001

Airport parking has seen a number of technological advancements in the last few years. Two of note are the Pay on Foot pre-pay service, already popular in Europe, and Cernium’s recently introduced Parking Sentry.

World travelers may already be familiar with Pay on Foot services. In North America, the systems are slowly gaining acceptance, says Steve Burton, president of Ace Parking.
The Pay on Foot system consists of an automatic payment machine typically located inside the airport terminal near the parking facility. On their way out to the parking area, passengers have the option to pay before getting in their cars.
One such system is in place at San Diego International Airport, managed by Lindbergh Parking in partnership with Ace Parking. That system includes express exit lanes for those who have prepayed, allowing them faster exiting.
The system is popular with airport patrons. Burton says that an average of 44 percent of those parking at the airport opt to "pay on foot".
And since installation in 1995, Burton says the system has eliminated 32 hrs./day in staffing, generating savings of $150,000 each year in manpower.
"The key to a successful implementation," says Burton, "is the public awareness campaign." People have to know it’s available and how to use it, he explains.
Educating customers is also among the concerns of Paul Benoit, president and CEO of Ottawa International Airport. Another is the option to not use the system. "I want the customer to be able to have the choice."
A number of companies manufacture Pay on Foot equipment, including Amano Cincinnati (Bradley Int’l, Hartford), Ascom (San Diego Int’l), Federal APD (Detroit Metro Wayne County Airport), and Scheidit & Bachmann (Seattle-Tacoma Int’l).

Cernium’s Parking Sentry is designed specifically to provide security surveillance in parking structures. The system enables security personnel to monitor more cameras with less equipment than standard closed circuit TV surveillance systems.
The Parking Sentry uses software with behavior analysis capabilities, recognizing human versus vehicle motion and identifying threatening events. The software evaluates detected events for security personnel based on the severity of the threat, focusing their attention on the cameras detecting trouble.
The system prioritizes events based on four basic actions: multiple people moving toward each other from different start points; one or more people moving quickly; multiple people in view not moving toward each other; and one person alone.
Aside from those basic combinations, the system recognizes other human actions: a person falling down; a person wandering, appearing lost or suspicious; a person hovering outside a vehicle; a car moving significantly faster than most in view.
The ability of the system itself to identify troublesome behavior allows guards to monitor many more cameras than normal. By only seeing cameras diplaying suspicious events, the guards do not waste time and energy monitoring all cameras.
"This technology is valuable in multi-camera systems that would normally require a substantial security monitoring staff," explains Maurice Garutte, chief technology officer. "Parking Sentry nearly eliminates the need for such staffing."
Installation of the Parking Sentry was recently completed at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, D.C.
For additional information on Cernium and the Parking Sentry, visit or call (877) 968-8383.