[Published June 2018]

This summer, Stanford is changing how parking permits are purchased and enforced, moving to a virtual system that is expected to be easier and more flexible for Stanford users. With this new parking permit management system, you will no longer have to display a physical parking permit. Your license plate becomes your virtual permit.  

Stanford Commute Club members who park on campus will be using virtual daily or carpool permits and will have new ways to manage memberships through the system.

Benefits of the New System

The new system has a number of advantages for the Stanford community:

  • Increased Speed and Convenience. You will be able to purchase parking permits anywhere, at any time, from a variety of devices. Permits are valid immediately, so you don’t have to make a trip to our office or wait for a permit to arrive in the mail.

  • Greater Flexibility. Register multiple vehicles on the same parking permit, so you don’t have to transfer one permit between vehicles. Rental and loaner cars can also be added to the system on the day they are being used, with the permit activated in real time.

  • Improved Sustainability and No Lost Permits. Did you know we replace hundreds of lost permits each year? With the new system, you won’t have to worry about paying to replace a lost or stolen permit. In addition, our office will stop printing and distributing tens of thousands of permits annually, which is a plus for sustainability at Stanford.

  • Automatic Renewals. If you are a Commute Club member, your membership will continue until you choose to cancel it or you become ineligible. For those who drive, if you purchase a long-term virtual permit, you can choose an end date years in the future, so you don’t have to remember to renew your permit every year.

We invite you to read more about these and other benefits and view an illustration.

Phased Implementation

The new system is being phased in between June and September. For an overview, please refer to our illustration of the two-phase implementation.

Over the coming weeks, here’s what you need to do:

  • All Affiliates:
    If you need to purchase daily, monthly, or long-term permits during the week of June 18, please purchase them by June 15. Online ordering will be shut down temporarily between June 19 and June 22 due to the system upgrade.

  • Parking Permits:

    • If you have a current, valid permit, continue to display your physical parking permit. Your current physical permit remains valid through its expiration date or Aug. 31, 2018, whichever occurs first. Daily physical “scratcher” permits remain valid beyond August, with expiration dates of December 2018 or 2019.

    • As of June 25 or later, if you are purchasing a new parking permit, enter the license plate and vehicle information correctly for all vehicle(s) you plan to park on campus and select the date range for permit(s) you purchase.

  • Commute Club:

  • Departments:

    • Enter contact information for department representatives who are authorized to purchase department permits in our Department Contact List form.

    • Please purchase a sufficient quantity of physical department permits to meet your needs through Aug. 31. Purchase them before June 15 to ensure you can continue to use the current department-permit process while we work with you to ensure a smooth transition for your department.

  • No other action is needed until June 25. Until the new parking management application system is launched on June 25, no other action is needed at this time. Please wait until the new system launches on June 25 to confirm or enter your vehicle information. We will let you know when the new system is available.  

Please refer to What Steps Do You Need to Take? for actions to take over the summer. 

Who Is Affected By This Change?

All Stanford affiliates who purchase Stanford parking permits or who are members of Stanford’s Commute Club will use the new system. This includes commuters, residents, and departments that purchase parking for visitors.

This change does not affect those at SLAC, Porter Drive, or other off-campus sites unless they purchase parking permits to visit the main campus. Visitors (general public) will continue to use parking pay machines, the ParkMobile app or metered visitor spaces.

How Do Virtual Permits Work?

It’s as easy as one, two, three:

  1. Enter vehicle information and purchase a parking permit. Customers enter vehicle information, including the license plate number(s), for as many vehicles as they plan to park in Stanford-enforced parking areas. Be sure to purchase a permit for the day(s) you plan to park on campus and confirm your license plate is entered correctly. You will be able to enter the time period you want the permit to be validwhether for a day, week, month, or year(s).
  2. Enforcement officers will scan license plates of vehicles parked in Stanford-enforced parking lots and garages. Using a mobile, hand-held, or vehicle-mounted system, they will scan license plates one vehicle and one area at a time, similar to the way they currently inspect permits in windshields.
  3. The system will identify parking violations. Enforcement officers will determine whether to issue a citation when the system identifies a vehicle that does not have a permit or has the incorrect permit for the parking space. During the transition to a fully virtual system, the officer will check the front windshield to determine whether a correct and valid physical permit is displayed. If not, a parking citation will be issued.

Helping You Through This Transition

We understand that you may have questions and some potential concerns. We want to help. We are providing Frequently Asked Questions and will provide “how to” guides and more to support you through this transition. For most Stanford affiliates, including departments that purchase permits, no change is needed until Sept. 1. In the meantime, we will work with you to  to address concerns you may have and ensure you are comfortable with the new system.

What About Privacy and Security?

We understand and respect concerns about privacy and data security. With the new system, we will only collect, store, and use data for parking and transportation program-related uses (i.e., parking enforcement, program management and improvement, and communications) or to comply with Stanford’s policies or the law. Those accessing the data will be strictly limited, and they will be required to log in, enhancing security and accountability.

The principles we developed to manage our program are based on Stanford University data management practices and have been informed by License Plate Recognition (LPR) data management practices from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). In addition, our program is consistent with Santa Clara County’s Automated License Plate Recognition Policy. For more information, please visit our privacy policy and LPR data management practices pages.

Why Is This Happening?

There are several reasons for this change, including the fact that we need to upgrade our current database. As we evaluated options, we selected a system that would position Stanford to improve and advance its programs, including the opportunity to offer new commute incentive programs and real-time parking availability notification systems in the future.

In addition, virtual parking permits are one of a number of changes our office is making over this academic year to enable us to manage our programs remotely once our office moves to Stanford Redwood City in 2019. Since we will no longer have a physical presence on campus, we are transitioning all of our programs to be managed online. From transit passes to parking permits, P&TS is going virtual.

How Can I Learn More?

We invite you to review our website, which includes what to expect between now and September, Frequently Asked Questions, and a video featuring Brian Shaw, executive director of Parking & Transportation Services, explaining this change.  

Contact Us

Whether P&TS is located on the main campus or at Stanford Redwood City, we will be glad to assist you. Our customer service staff will be available for phone consultations to answer your questions or provide assistance online. While we remain on campus, we also are glad to assist you in person with this new system transition and other transportation needs.

If you have questions, please visit our new parking management system microsite or contact us at transportation@stanford.edu or 650.723.9362.

Photo: Chris Gill