2001 Public/Private Partnership Awards




            Reduced traffic congestion and safer streets leading to a more economically vibrant downtown are the key achievements of San Francisco’s parking management and red light photo enforcement programs administered by PRWT Inc. and Lockheed Martin IMS.

            Through this innovative partnership, the San Francisco Department of Parking & Traffic (DPT) has leveraged the technological resources of these private-sector service providers to save lives and improve the flow of traffic in both residential and commercial neighborhoods – all while generating additional revenue to offset the cost of the programs to taxpayers.

Parking Management

            With 440,000 vehicles registered within the 45 square miles that comprise the city and county, accommodating the demand for San Francisco’s 28,063 regulated parking spaces requires highly effective management, regulation and enforcement. The city’s partnership with PRWT and Lockheed Martin IMS has produced a comprehensive and integrated solution to the processing of parking citations and parking management requirements, which are supported by a complete system of data processing hardware and software.

            Since the start of the parking management program in November 1998, the city’s collection rate on parking citations has increased from 66.6% to 73.1%. Average monthly revenues from parking fines have climbed 28% from $4.1 million to $5.2 million – an increase of more than $13.7 million annually. The average yield per citation issued is now $28.35 compared to $22.35 before the start of the program. All surplus revenue is funneled into public transit programs, which help reduce motor vehicle traffic into the city.

An innovative Parking Citation Processing System has contributed greatly to the improved performance by automating and expediting the process of identifying vehicle owners, issuing timely notices and collecting payments on the more than 2.2 million citations issued annually. 

            The hand-held computers provided to the city’s nearly 300 parking control officers have greatly improved the speed, accuracy and efficiency of the citation writing and scofflaw enforcement process. Another feature of this automated reporting system is that it enables DPT to better manage the deployment of parking control officers, which is critically important during special events. For instance, the DPT is responsible for traffic management and control at all games at Pac Bell Park, the new downtown baseball stadium located near the Bay Bridge and Financial District, where traffic congestion is an extremely sensitive issue. The information made available through the Hand-Held Parking Citation Issuance and Reporting System helps the DPT manage the deployment of more than 35 parking control officers at each game. Their presence has greatly reduced congestion problems.

Red Light Photo Enforcement

            Ensuring the safety of pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists on the streets of San Francisco has been a major focus in a city where there were 23 deaths caused by motorists running red lights between 1992 and 1998, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. San Francisco was among the first major U.S. cities to implement a red-light camera enforcement program in 1998.

As part of its partnership with PRWT and Lockheed Martin IMS, the DPT has 13 red-light cameras that are alternated among 26 of the city’s most dangerous intersections. During 1999, the first year of the program in the city’s South of Market district, collisions caused by red light runners dropped 46%.  Citywide, the number of red light-running crashes was down 14%.

Equally impressive, the number of red light violations captured on camera has been cut in half citywide, including an 80% drop at Fifth and Howard streets – the site of the first camera installation. In response to the success of the technology in deterring red light runners, six additional cameras will be installed over the next two years, for a total of 25 cameras alternated among 32 intersections.

Most of the program costs are funded by a $271 fine imposed for each violation – the fine amount is set by the state. As part of their contract, PRWT and Lockheed Martin IMS are responsible for camera installation and construction, image and citation processing, and adjudication support.