Learn how North Dakota State Parks uses Rekor's tech to discern visitor patterns

Learn how North Dakota State Parks uses Rekor's tech to discern visitor patterns

North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department (NDPRD) needed a solution to understand visitor patterns and plan for upcoming needs. NDPRD selected Rekor One™ Traffic Management to replace an outdated system and propel their parks into the future.

Organization
North Dakota Parks and Recreation
Industry
Government Agency
Location
Bismarck, North Dakota
Application(s) used
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About

The North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department (NDPRD) is the state agency charged with administering selected parks and recreation areas that are deemed to have state-wide or regional significance. Presently, the department manages 19 beautiful destinations, ranging from historic state parks to primitive recreation areas. In addition, the department has responsibility for the following functions within the state of North Dakota:

  • Off-highway vehicle planning and safety program
  • Snowmobile safety programs and trails
  • Nature Preserves Act
  • Outdoor recreation grants and statewide recreation planning

Challenge

NDPRD needed a solution to help state park leadership understand visitor patterns and plan for future park needs. Traffic and visitor metrics are significant to any state park program and have historically relied on antiquated systems and sending staff to manually count vehicles.

In this instance, NDPRD wanted to replace their own antiquated, inductive loop traffic detectors. An inductive loop traffic detector is an insulated, electrically conducting loop that is installed in the pavement. The relatively crude nature of the loop means that small metal masses cannot trigger the relay, meaning that bicycles and motorcycles are not detected and, even worse, vehicles with trailers are often counted twice. All told, this meant NDPRD's data was not entirely accurate.

In an attempt to rectify this data, NDPRD would take the count and divide it in half. But, all this meant was that NDPRD was relying on staff to make educated guesses on the number of visitors at any given time.

Solution

The decision was made to send a Request for Proposal (RFP) seeking a new, modern traffic counting system to automate the visitor tracking process and help future-proof the state park experience.

After reviewing all RFP submissions, Rekor stood above the competition and NDPRD selected the Real-time Traffic Analytics application within Rekor One™ Traffic Management to replace their outdated system and propel their parks into the future.

Initially, NDPRD included three properties in a pilot—Icelandic State Park, Fort Stevenson State Park, and Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park. But, after the success of the pilot, NDPRD implemented the Real-time Traffic Analytics application of Rekor One Traffic Management at all destination properties and parks managed by NDPRD.

Onboarding

Immediately after being selected, Rekor jumped into action. Installation technicians were sent to approved North Dakota destinations to connect Rekor Edge Series systems. Camera mounting locations were selected based on optimal visual coverage and the ability to effectively capture vehicles entering and leaving the parks. As vehicles are recorded, the data is instantly processed, transformed into accurate visitor counts, and made made available within the Rekor One™ Traffic Management web-based dashboard.

In order to make the web-based dashboard as approachable as possible, Rekor held multiple training sessions with NDPRD employees to demonstrate ease-of-use and available features. After this initial onboarding, NDPRD was assigned a dedicated Customer Success Manager for additional check-ins. These consistent check-ins review new and upcoming features, as well as resolve any issues.

"Rekor is one of the easiest companies that we've ever implemented a new technology with." - Lynn Spomer, Field Operations Administrator

Result

The transition process to Rekor One™ Traffic Management was extremely smooth and has allowed NDPRD to set accurate and proper benchmarks. NDPRD staff members even vetted the new system by comparing against manual car counting.

Park managers can now pull detailed analytics that show how many vehicles are in a destination at any given time and even check how many visitors are moving from one destination to another. With this knowledge, NDPRD employees are now providing clear reports to state government officials at budget meetings. These definitive reports allow proper requesting of funds.

Conclusion

The North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department looked outside the box to find a solution that would automate visitor counts and allow staff to focus their time on other pressing issues. NDPRD found that solution with Rekor One Traffic Management. This new intelligence enables proper resource and staff allocation, while also allowing accurate funding and maintenance requests to preserve the beauty of all properties.

Future looking, NDPRD would like to leverage the Rekor infrastructure already installed and integrate applications for virtual park access, day passes, parking management, and more -- all of which are possible with Rekor One.