What is ANPR and what is it good for? Find out who uses it and where you might have seen it before here. We've got all the details on a plate for you.

Ever heard of ANPR? It’s one of those fancy abbreviations that most people either don’t know what it means or forget what it stands for and what it does. Let us help you out with that so that the next time you see a sign that says ‘ANPR in use’, you’ll know what it means.

ANPR – Automatic Number Plate Recognition

Imagine having a camera that can link up to a computer that can automatically read the number plate of a vehicle when it passes? Yes, that’s what ANPR does. It records an image that is automatically read by the computer and the vehicle registration number is recorded.

Once the information is captured by the camera, it’s then cross-referenced and can be used to inform the police and help to prevent criminal activities. It’s clever when you think about it. You tend to find advanced cameras like these being used in smart cities, where they can help provide better security, prevent car theft, and help with managing the traffic.

Where you’ll find ANPR cameras

The most common place you’ll find ANPR cameras is on the motorway, checking the average speed of vehicles. You can only begin to imagine how many ANPR cameras are used on the motorway by Highways England and you can’t miss them either with their bright green casing. Just remember though, they might not always be green.

Motorways are just one of the places where you’ll see them, you’ll also find them used for tolls, car parks, and much more. They can also be placed in fixed permanent locations, but information like this would remain undisclosed for obvious reasons, like helping potential offenders.

Traffic monitoring

It’s all about the flow of traffic and variable speed limits these days. Without Highway England’s camera, where would we be? Probably stuck on the motorway. They do their best to control the flow of traffic and keep everyone moving. Smart motorways are taking over so no doubt you’ve gone past these quite a bit.

When your car goes past the camera, your number plate will be read and converted into a reference number. This reference number is also known as a tag, so consider yourself tagged. Each time your number plater passes the ANPR camera, the same tag will be generated.

Car park

As you can tell, ANPR cameras are all about being smart and they aim to be as smart and convenient as possible. They even help manage car parking too. With the help of on-site ticket validation and counting systems, car parking has never been easier.

With maximum stays, permits only, and limited free time parking, it’s easy to lose track of what parking options are available when you’re out and about. You’ve got parking automation, security, ticket-less parking, access automation, and automated payment processes in some places too.

Car parking is just next level these days giving us customers an experience we’ll remember. Secure and efficient, workflow all around is improving day by day, and who doesn’t want that.

Toll automation

Toll stations are still about and are usually well-known for causing a bit of traffic now and again and even some accidents. Sometimes you’ll have staff monitoring the toll station, and you’ll get the odd ticket or two that doesn’t come out.

Nowadays the ANPR is taking over with being connected to online payments so that drivers can pay for their toll tickets without stopping, even better! This means that the ANPR can help with traffic monitoring, helping accidents and traffic jams by reading the number plates and generating a toll ticket too.

What’s does ANPR have for us next?

The growth of ANPR is getting bigger and bigger and will just continue to keep growing in size no doubt, with smart cities popping up left, right, and centre soon. It’s a real piece of technology that has done and continues to do wonders for transport departments.

From reducing traffic delays, giving us low emission zones, and just helping to manage car parks, tolls and so much more, there’s not much that ANPR can’t do for us, is there? Who knows where we’ll be by 2025 at this rate. The smart network will be covering even more miles before you know it.

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