Traffic Control Made Easy at Missouri College: PlateSmart ALPR Helps People Be Safe

A private Missouri college found itself challenged recently in managing high volumes of traffic coming onto its campus. From students to staff to members of the local community availing themselves of the campus’ many popular resources — including a museum and a restaurant — it became clear to the school’s security team that traffic management needed improvement to keep staff and students safe. Thus, the college chose the innovative PlateSmart ARES automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) solution as part of its traffic control system.

Key to implementing such a system was the school’s IT team, which told the college’s security vendor that it needed a system that would automatically check vehicles coming through the main entrance against a white/black list. This would ensure that only authorized vehicles entered the campus.

“The school needed an ALPR solution that could be integrated with the school’s existing Milestone Systems video management system,” said Mike Budz, director of sales, PlateSmart. “PlateSmart’s long-time partnership with Milestone meant that the PlateSmart ARES was the perfect fit.”

According to the school’s CIO, the system also needed to be able to add license plate data to the school’s existing SQL database.

“We manually capture driver’s license information and vehicle photos the first time a car enters the campus,” the CIO said. “All of that is in a SQL database, and PlateSmart’s ability to work within SQL was a huge selling point.”

The PlateSmart ARES system was installed in August 2018. The software uses two cameras within an ALPR scanning zone to read the rear license plate on every vehicle as well as the front one, if it is available. If the vehicle is on the college’s white list of approved vehicles, ARES triggers a stop light to turn from red to green, authorizing the vehicle to pass. If the vehicle is black-listed, however, ARES maintains the red stop light while triggering visual and audible alerts within the gatehouse. It also triggers emails to be sent to key stakeholders with vehicle information from the SQL database.

When a plate is detected that is new to the system, the red traffic light doesn’t change until a security officer captures the driver’s information and manually turns the light green.

While the ALPR system worked well out of the gate, the CIO and his team spent months optimizing it. He said PlateSmart’s object recognition technology, which allows it to read a license plate even if it isn’t optimally positioned for the camera, made it faster and easier to dial in.

“The PlateSmart system has done — and continues to do — its job very reliably,” the CIO said. “Right now, it reads about 48,000 plates a month. Of those, about 70% are first-time visitors. The PlateSmart solution allows us to focus on those while maintaining traffic flow for the other approved vehicles.”

To learn more about PlateSmart ARES and how it can help you with traffic control and perimeter security, visit