It’s amazing how rapidly technology is evolving within our industry. Just like the latest cellphone release, I always look forward to the latest development and service features from our vendors. And this year at the Parking Industry Exhibition (PIE) in Las Vegas, I was not disappointed. As I walked the trade show floor, I was excited to learn about a new product that is taking an innovative approach to enforcing parking through immobilization.
It’s a device that attaches to the windshield of the vehicle, blocking 99% of the driver’s field of view and making the car essentially un-drivable. It uses commercial-grade suction cups to latch on, and comes with a host of security features that make unauthorized removal nearly impossible.
Aptly named The Barnacle, its inventors believe it can change the way that parking enforcement is done, making the process more efficient. It looks like a modern approach to a traditional problem.
“We realized there were inefficiencies in traditional enforcement activities, and we wanted to create something that could improve the process, while making it easier on everyone involved,” said Kevin Dougherty, President of Ideas that Stick, the company developing The Barnacle Parking Enforcement System.
They are doing that by creating a device that is easier to store and transport, lightweight, easy-to-handle and very user-friendly.
“From an administrative standpoint, we wanted to help agencies reduce the overall cost of managing their enforcement activities,” Dougherty said. “By making the device compact and stackable, we were able to free up scarce storage space in customer facilities and allow smaller enforcement vehicles to carry more of the devices.
“Its design also allows for ‘green’ deployment methods, transporting the devices in a handcart or electric scooters,” he said. “The immobilized vehicle is also towable when the device is deployed, which can eliminate a duplication of effort and resources for the enforcing agency.
“The personal safety of the parking enforcement officer also played a major role in how we’ve developed The Barnacle,” he said. Oftentimes, enforcement personnel must take a heavy “boot” and attach it to the tire on the “traffic” side of the vehicle. This can present a dangerous situation for the employee. And from a practical and ergonomic standpoint, the action of having to bend down and lift these unwieldy devices leads to workplace injuries and lost productivity every year.
The Barnacle addresses these concerns, Dougherty said, by being deployable from either side of the vehicle, making it possible to always be able to work from the safety of the curb.
Additionally, it is lightweight (production models are predicted to weigh 15 pounds or less). And because it attaches directly to the windshield, there is no bending down to deploy or recover it, he said.
For the motorist, The Barnacle can be quickly removed after they pay their outstanding fines over the phone, which means there is no long wait before they can be on their way, he said. As many motorists know, waiting for a boot removal can be a lengthy ordeal.