Last Update:  June 7, 2021

Purpose: This operating policy and Procedure provides guidelines for the collection, retention and privacy of license plates recognition date at the University of Iowa

Review: This policy will be reviewed annually by Parking and Transportation with any revisions being sent to the Associate Vice President of Business Services  


The University of Iowa (UIowa) uses license plate recognition (LPR) technology to manage parking on campus. The Department of Parking and Transportation uses vehicle‐mounted systems, facility camera installations and/or handheld devices to enforce parking. The department’s personnel shall be properly trained prior to using LPR equipment.

By using UIowa’s Parking and Transportation website (including its parking permit management portal) and participating in parking permit programs, customers acknowledge and accept the practices and policies outlined in this document.  

Data Collected

The LPR system captures two images of observed vehicles: a context image of the vehicle and its immediate surroundings, and an image of the license plate. Images are usually taken of the rear of a vehicle, but an image of the front of a vehicle may be taken when the vehicle is backed into a parking space, parked in a driving aisle, or parked in any other way which provides better visibility of the vehicle’s front. Images taken are not of a resolution that allows for identification of vehicle occupants, if any.

Along with the images, the LPR system also records the global positioning system coordinates and date/time information of the observation. Further software processing of the license plate image generates an alphanumeric version of the license plate number which is also stored with the record. The LPR system itself does not contain individual parking patron’s account information but may be linked to such information by Parking and Transportation.

UIowa employees and students use their HawkID and HawkID password (UIowa single sign‐on) to access the online ordering parking portal through the department website. Whether or not users sign into the online ordering parking portal, UIowa automatically receives data for customers who have single sign‐on access to the system. Data Parking and Transportation receives automatically has been approved by UIowa as information needed to administer parking and transportation services effectively.  

Use of data

Parking and Transportation uses LPR data primarily for the purpose of parking enforcement, analyzing campus parking utilization and managing the parking programs and services at University of Iowa. As such, personally identifiable LPR data is accessible only by limited parties, such as the staff of Parking and Transportation, their agents and vendors, and the ITS personnel that maintain the data and websites.

LPR data is used to determine a vehicle’s access permissions in a given parking area or controlled access area of campus. LPR data is also used to support the issuance of a parking citation if needed.  Parking and Transportation may use parking information to assist the UIowa Department of Public Safety with active investigations on the UIowa campus.  

LPR data may be subject to aggregate data analysis and reported both to groups and individuals within UIowa and to outside groups (e.g., City of Iowa City, Johnson County Metropolitan Planning Organization) and for research, educational, and publication purposes. No identifiable information will be contained in the reports.

Any use of LPR data outside of these stated purposes must be detailed documented and approved in writing by the Director of Parking and Transportation.  

Data Retention

Data collected by the LPR system that does not result in a parking enforcement action and is not part of an ongoing law enforcement investigation will be purged after 30 days, but accessible for 365 days. Data that results in parking enforcement action will be retained with the citation record for up to 10 years.  Data associated with an ongoing law enforcement investigation shall be retained with the investigative record according to established university record retention policies.

Access to Records

Access to records created and maintained by the LPR system is restricted to trained Parking and Transportation staff. All staff with access to the system shall use unique identifiers and passwords to access records and all login activity, record additions, and other activity is logged. Access to the system by others is prohibited.

Public Notification

The Department of Parking and Transportation will notify the public of its LPR data collection activities and policies posting a data collection and privacy policy on its website in addition to requiring parking permit buyers to indicate acceptance and understanding of this policy when purchasing a parking permit.