3 Typical Malfunctions of Parking Access Control Systems and How to Avoid Them

We are all familiar with Murphy’s famous law: “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Whether human or machine-controlled, all systems can fail. It is no different with the parking access control systems either – especially today when the number of cars is constantly increasing, meaning significantly higher traffic and congestion in parking locations.
Managing a parking space is a complex duty with plenty of room for potential errors. Thanks to today’s smart and reliable devices and solutions, most of these failures can now be avoided.
The topics that we are going to discuss in this article are as follows:
  • What is a parking access control system exactly?
  • What are the 3 most common failures in these systems?
  • How can you build a reliable access control system to avoid these malfunctions?
In addition to the above, we’ll also explain what all of this has to do with Adaptive Recognition, an internationally recognized and trusted provider of advanced access control systems components and innovative automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras.

What is a Parking Access Control System Exactly?

Before we delve into its issues and solutions, let’s clarify what a parking access control system (ACS) is. The system’s primary function is to maintain safe, convenient, and smooth parking. You have an extensive number of choices in the market if you want to implement or upgrade such a system.

However, truly innovative access control system solutions go far beyond the basic tasks. They can be completely automated, which comes with plenty of other benefits: fully trackable traffic, increased corporate transparency, and ticketless, seamless parking.

Also, by implementing the right smart parking access control system, you can minimize the potential for problems, failures, and human error in your parking location. Hence, it is vital to choose a provider whose solutions are versatile enough to meet the needs of your property.

If you’ve ever wondered about the failures that obsolete and improperly integrated systems can lead to, keep reading.


1.Barrier or Ticketing System Failure

Ticket machines can be the solutions to control traffic and manage payments in parking lots.

In most places, the machines are integrated with the barriers that can provide physical protection of the area.

Barriers at parking lots are usually activated when a driver pulls up with the car to the gate. Once the vehicle arrives, an electronic signal is sent to the barrier mechanism due to the detection of significant metal presence in cars that interacts with a magnetic field in the ground. This generated signal is typically connected to the ticket machine, often called the “Ticket Spitter.” The machine issues a ticket, usually for single vehicle access, before activating the barrier mechanism that opens the arm. An alternative method of opening the barrier is that the driver reaches out of the car and presses the button to get a parking ticket from the machine. In this case, there is no magnetic loop in place. In both cases, once the ticket is picked up by the driver, the machine sends a control signal to the barrier, which then will be raised.

It is a multi-complex system, isn’t it? Just imagine how many potential failures it may have. The metal detection in the ground may fail, which interrupts the operation of the magnetic loop. Ticket machines can have both software and hardware issues that might be time-consuming to resolve. Besides these, the connection between the ticket machine and the barrier may be lost, which can lead to a complete shutdown of the system.

What does it mean in practice?

  • If the barrier does not open, or it opens too slowly, it can cause extreme vehicle congestion and long queues at the entrance and the exit.
  • If the gate is left open, vehicles can enter and leave your parking location completely uncontrolled, leading to significant revenue losses.

Both instances lead you to a highly uncomfortable or even dangerous situation.


2.Badge or Access Card Reader Failure

The badge or access card system is a typical part of a parking access control system for corporate buildings and industrial sites. Employees and guests receive a magnetic card that they have to scan upon arrival and departure at the parking area. If the card owner is authorized to enter, the barrier opens. Similar systems are used in many gated communities to allow residents to enter and exit.

But what happens if the card gets lost or the reader fails? Or if the connection between the reader and the barrier gets interrupted? What if the parking staff is not there to help? Lots of room for error without a quick or effective solution.

This type of access also raises other issues, such as employees, visitors, and business partners potentially losing or exchanging badges. Companies and sites often end up with an extensive number of uncontrolled access cards and badges without seeing their use or knowing which one should actually be disabled. This not only opens space for misuse but also means significant vulnerability and danger for the security system.

3.Security Camera (CCTV) Malfunction

CCTV (closed-circuit television) cameras are a common, cost-effective solution and are used as part of the parking location’s security and access control systems. Modern CCTV cameras are usually robust, user-friendly devices, light-years ahead of the unmanageable, trouble-prone ones of the past. But no matter how much effort manufacturers make, issues will always occur.

Here are some of the most common malfunctions of the standard security cameras:

  • Color problems, receiving pictures only black and white
  • Horizontal lines occur in the video
  • The video is flickering
  • There is no video signal, or the camera shows a black screen
  • The camera doesn’t work at night or shows deteriorated images
  • The camera’s DVR is not recording anything.

Often a restart is sufficient; in other cases, a full reboot is required. There may also be a physical problem, and you will have to wait for the service provider to send someone to the site. In some cases, the repair can take days or even weeks, during which the safety and efficient operation of your parking area can be severely questioned. Therefore, it is not recommended to rely on this one system alone.

CCTV cameras are useful, but there are plenty of versatile security camera solutions on the market with a much lower chance of malfunction that you can integrate more effectively into your new or existing system.

How to Avoid Typical Parking Access Control System Failures? 

Now that we’ve gone through the most typical failures, let’s find out how to prevent them. Our answer is five words: smart parking access control system. Among the innovative solutions on the market, those access systems that use ANPR cameras – including the models developed and manufactured by Adaptive Recognition – can be considered the most efficient and protected.

ANPR-Based Access Management

Automatic number/license plate recognition (ANPR/ALPR) is an extremely accurate system that can read any vehicle’s license plate without human intervention. It is one of the most advanced technologies available today to avoid the typical malfunctions of parking access control systems.

How Does It Work?

Automatic license plate recognition: when a vehicle arrives at the gate or the barrier, it gets detected by the camera, which is taking photos for further processing. The captured images are immediately processed by the ANPR software. The software checks for license plates on the images, locates them, and digitizes the characters using a special optical character recognition algorithm. The result is a digital license plate that is then transferred to the intelligent parking system.

Access control: one of the most valuable features of the smart parking system is the automated access mode. It compares the license plate data with the system database and decides whether or not the vehicle is authorized. If the vehicle has permission to enter, the system automatically opens the gate or barrier.

No paper, ticket machine, or magnetic loop. Just smooth, convenient entrance and exit without typical errors in the system.

Real-time event and traffic tracking: once a vehicle enters the parking area, the license plate data will be saved in the system. It allows you to monitor when a particular vehicle has arrived, when it has left, or whether it is currently in the car park or not. The smart parking access control system provides continuous, real-time data on parking occupancy, thus avoiding more cars in the area than the spaces available. The system can also be used to create reports and statistics to further optimize parking management.

Admittedly, the possibility of failure can never be eliminated completely, but at least it can be kept to a minimum. This is surely one of your main goals if you are responsible for operating a parking location.

Efficient, error-free parking management based on the seamless integration of superior ANPR technology is now available for every parking location manager.

Maybe you will be the next one who is going to try it?