Chicago to do clean sweep of parking violators

Say what you will about Chicago, it's not afraid of multitasking.

City officials last week issued a request for qualifications for a project that would put high-resolution digital cameras on the city's street sweepers. The surveillance cameras would take photos of illegally parked vehicles and the vehicles' license plates.

Last year, Chicago issued 345,206 parking tickets to drivers who didn't obey "No parking" signs posted to indicate street sweeping was scheduled for that area.

Chicagoans argue that the 'No parking' signs are made of paper and, given that it's the Windy City, frequently blow away.

Each day, the proposed sweeper cameras will forward images of the parking violators' license plates and cars to the Chicago Department of Revenue.

Sweepers will be outfitted with two cameras, which will be required to work in both daylight and at night and be able to perform a progressive scan of 1,024 by 768 pixels at a rate of 30 frames per second. Each sweeper driver will also operate a ruggedized PC with a touch-screen monitor, which will be mounted in the cab. The PC has to have at least a 1.8-GHz Pentium M processor.

The system will also use a Global Positioning System to record the location and time of each violation and a wireless cellular connection, which will transmit the violation data to a main server.

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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