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New Orleans testing parking meter cameras that automatically issue tickets

The cameras could give you a ticket without an enforcement officer being there

NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans is testing out a high-tech system to write parking tickets, without you ever seeing a parking enforcement officer.

Placed at two different spots downtown, new meters monitoring parking electronically are currently gathering information the city will study.

"There's always room for improvement on trying to make things more efficient," Deputy Director of Operations Josh Hartley said. "We're looking at the vehicle types that park here, looking at the violations that come in, how long people are actually parking here."

So how does it work? After you park your car, you find your spot number and put your money in the meter. If your time runs out, a sensor in the spot will tell a camera nearby to take a picture of your plate and you could get a ticket.

"There's potential with this technology that if there's a violation activated, this system could automatically generate a ticket," Hartley said. "Versus having staff actually have to come walk to this site and issue a paper ticket you'd normally see on a windshield."

The meters are expected to make enforcement easier by adding extra lenses, instead of eyes, to the street.

"We are wanting to make things more efficient," he said. "This does not eliminate jobs, what it actually does is it would allow us to utilize our resources better in other parts of the city that we normally are not monitoring."

So for the next 31 days, the city will see how it does.

"Same rates, same rules apply and everything," Hartley added.

And if all goes well, installation around town could be put into drive, holding people accountable for their parking.

The trial is free for the city, it's unclear how much the system would cost if implemented. It's already being used in other cities in the United States. 

If the city of New Orleans moves forward with the meters, it's expected they'll first be put into the busy parts of downtown and then into other areas.

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