Barchester City Council in the center of Barchester manages seven car parks. The Council is in need of a car parking system to automate daily operations of car parking like controlling barriers, handling payment and issuing tickets. Core activities aside, the council also wants to automate car parking management like problem recording, monitoring service level agreement with the security company that provides a guard at the car parks and issuing season tickets. This report provides the analysis of the functionality, possible outcomes, risks of taking information systems and the resources required to implement it.
Analysis of Functionality
To automate daily car operations and its management tasks, the following areas are proposed to integrate into the new system.
The new car park system will operate payment for car parking and entry and exit of the car from the car park. Car parking will be of two different types – ordinary customers, who will be able to pay for the parking when they are using it. Seasoned ticket holders, who will have the privilege to park in designated areas from Monday to Friday, and an advance has to be paid by them which can be for three, six or twelve months (Sabnam, Das, & Kashyap, 2016).
Car Park Entry
While nearing the entry barrier, a sensor placed under the road will detect and the control pillar will display ‘Press Button.' For the regular customer, the ticket will be printed within five seconds after the button is pressed, and a ‘Take Ticket’ text will be visible. Pulling the ticket will raise the barrier. In case the park is full, no tickets will be issued. During exit, the ‘Press Button’ display will be activated if there is a car waiting (Dong, Jin, & Hou, 2014, p. 1770). In the case of seasoned ticket holders, the user inserts the season ticket which checks for some conditions like if it is the weekday, the validity of tickets, among others. The barrier is raised only when all checks are passed, and the checking operation should not take more than five seconds (Sumathi, Varma, & Sasank, 2013). The time of entry is also recorded. The ticket issued will have a barcode which will include date, time and number of the entry to the car park and the same information will be printed on the ticket in human readable form (Mahmud et al., 2013, p. 722).
As Tsang & Leung (2013) stated, for payment, the regular customer has to go to the pay station for payment when the customer is about to leave. The automated system will compare the information on the ticket's bar code with the stored information. If a date is matched, then the barrier is raised, and if not then the display tells the customer to visit the office who will manually check the ticket (Agerholm et al., 2014).
Exit from Car Park
As expressed by Jog et al., (2015), the customer while approaching the exit barrier, the sensor detects the vehicle and the control pillar displays ‘Insert Ticket' to the customer. The barrier opens only when the time does not exceed more than 15 minutes between payment of the ticket and checking of the ticket. If more than 15 minutes has passed alarm rings and the customer can then speak with the office attendant by showing the ticket (Baglane, 2014, p. 75).
Recording of Security Visit
The Council has tied up with security companies to inspect the car parks periodically. The security guards have a card which when punched to the card reader at the car park office, the arrival and departure time is recorded. It works almost the same way with seasoned ticket holders (Mohammed, 2015).
The car parking management system handles all the other tasks that are not managed by the regular operation system.
Security SLA is similar to service level agreement the council has made with the security companies. An exception report is generated monthly which tells if the number of visits or the duration of the visit of the security company is lesser than the minimum required as laid out in the contract (Whaiduzzaman, 2014, p. 330).
As stated by Kenaid & Ali (2016), for selling season tickets a sub-system is required. The season ticket is issued to either a company or an individual's name, and the contact details on the company are recorded. The ticket will carry the issue and expiry date and will be valid for three, six or twelve months. The information on season tickets has to be made prior available to the operation systems (Ang, 2013, p. 5). A renewal form is also sent to the season ticket holders two weeks before their cards’ expiry date. Renewing before the expiry date will set the season ticket valid for another three, six or twelve months. A record also has to be maintained which will show the usage of the season ticket as compared to the ordinary customer for the same period regarding costs (Hanche, 2013).
According to the Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (2015), the fault recording system will record any problems related to car parks. Faults can include things such as doors and windows to equipment such as security cameras, card readers, and barriers. Reported time and date of fault is recorded for service level agreement. As stated by Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (2014), in case the fault lies with any aspect of the operational system, then the maintenance company has to be notified immediately. Council’s direct labor organization will be notified of any other issues. A monthly statistical report is required to show records of the date and time the fault is fixed, the companies that were allocated and the time taken to set (U.S. Patent No. 8,624,756, 2014).
Miscellaneous Management Requirements
A record is necessary which will keep track of all the tickets issued in a year for the Council to carry out the annual review of ticket costs, to estimate revenue for the next year.
For the proposed Information System of the automatic car parking external resources that are required are:
The operating system version can be Unix, Linux, Mac or Windows (Patterson & Hennessy, 2013).
It is necessary for the employees to interface with the Parking Management System with their personal computer (Mienkina et al., 2015).
As opined by U.S. Patent Application No. 13/748,152 (2013), it is required for employees to access their accounts and for administrators, manage payments and generate reports.
Local Area Network communication interface via Ethernet (U.S. Patent Application No. 14/454,440, 2014).
Computers used must be at least Dual Core machines for a system to work optimally.
Constraints of Design
The design needs to be flexible and modular enough for the structure to be upgradable or changed as per design requirement (Wong, 2015, p. 600).
Broad Feasibility of Information System (Risks)
As stated by Saware (2016), certain risks come with integrating information system in car parking system. It can be confusing for those who are unfamiliar with the system and have a fear of the system's breakdown. At high peak hour volume, the system may break down or may not be able to cope (Wang, 2014, p. 975). With the emergence of newer technology, the existing system will become quickly outdated and replacing the system will result in a higher cost. There is also the uncertainty that the building department may not review or approve the process (Ferreira, 2014, p. 475).
With the proposed system in place, there will be a better perception of security as customers would not step out of their space. This system will be beneficial to tight parking spaces where ramped parking structure cannot be accommodated. As the parking space will be utilized to the maximum, the parking efficiency will be very high regarding space and costs. The common problem with looking for parking space will be solved, and since the cars would not roam around for available space, therefore, emissions will be reduced. Less chance of any vehicle mishaps since at every step the system will guide the car. Familiar parkers will require less intervention of the office staff. Compared to the combined walking time/parking/driving in conventional ramped parking structures, the retrieval time will be much less with the automatic car parking system. Openings in exterior walls or ramping floors would not be required, and facade integration will be easier.
To implement the automatic car parking system the proposal made was to divide the system into two parts – Operational System and Management System. Operational System operates with payment related operation for car parking. Tickets issued are mainly two types – ordinary customers for those using the parking space on a usage basis, and season ticket holders, who possess a ticket for three, six or twelve months and get designated car parking space on weekdays. Operations included in the Operational System includes payment at the pay station, opening, and exit of barriers of the car park, issuing tickets and recording of security visits by security guards. Management Operations include those services which are not handled by the Operational System. It includes making reports on service level agreements, a sub-system for selling and renewing tickets, fault recording with faults related to the doors and windows to the equipment of Operational System. The various risks associated with implementing an automatic car parking system includes incurring huge costs on moving to a new technology, the unfamiliarity of users with the new parking system, system breakdown and issues during high volume of traffic. The proposed outcome is said to be quite positive as it will be a definite upgrade over common ramped parking spaces regarding space and cost efficiency, less emission, better security and easier navigation.
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