License Plate Recognition Technology


Plate to Permit Program


A new parking permit system is now in place at ECU, with simple, online registration and payment for parking zones. Once registered, vehicles parking in University lots will no longer have a parking decal to indicate the eligible zone. Parking privileges are identified by license plates, rather than a decal or hangtag. Temporary hangtags will not be needed for visitors, part-time or temporary employees as they will be identified by license plate too. Students, staff, and faculty will begin using the system for the 2022–2023 academic year, with vehicle registration beginning this summer.

Staff/Faculty Registration (including Emeritus):  Sale Dates TBA
Student Registration:  Opens 8:00 a.m., TBA (New resident students should wait until they receive their housing assignment to assure correct parking zone options are listed.)



What changes with this new system?

  • When you purchase your parking permission, you will no longer need a parking permit decal. Parking zone enforcement will be based on your registered license plate(s). Basically, your license plate is your parking permit.
  • You will NOT receive a parking decal.
  • If you have only a rear-facing license plate (standard for NC), you will need to park head-in. In the future, you will be able to purchase a special plate from the parking office if you wish to pull-through or back into a parking space.

What stays the same?

  • Parking fees will be increased for the 2024 – 2025 academic year.
  • You must register your vehicle(s) with ECU Parking and pay the applicable fee to park on university property.
  • You will complete your vehicle registration online and pay the annual parking fee.
  • You will still be allowed to register up to six vehicles.
  • If an alternate vehicle is being parked on campus, you will need to contact the Parking Office to update license plate and vehicle information.


How does the system work?

Your license plate becomes your parking zone designation “permit”. The License Plate Recognition (LPR) technology system is integrated into ECU Parking vans which recognize registered license plates. Control officers are alerted when the system’s camera identifies a vehicle without permission for the zone, displaying the information on a screen. The control officer can then verify the information and alert an enforcement officer if a citation is needed. By giving citations, parking is better controlled, ensuring ample parking for registered vehicles.

The recognition technology needs a clear license plate view. Unless a vehicle is registered in a state that issues both front and rear plates, individuals will no longer be able to park forward-facing without risking a citation. However, for those who have a rear-only plate and backing-in or pulling through a space is preferred, ECU Parking will offer a unique LPR-readable front plate for purchase in the near future. This front plate will be tied to the state-issued plate and be valid as long as the plate number remains the same.

Rest assured, ECU does not collect nor store private information on vehicles.

Why is ECU switching to the LPR system?

Other universities have found that using license plate recognition shows cost savings and operational efficiencies. ECU Parking Services forecasts the department will save $85,000.00 by not buying decals. Using the software system shortens the patrol time, and also provides reports such as occupancy in specific lots, which was previously counted manually.  Parking lot use data helps determine space allotment for various lots and zones and allows Parking Services to make adjustments as needed.


License Plate-to-Permit FAQ