Disabled motorists’ parking spaces—particularly at small businesses—are often filled with vehicles without an authorized placard or license plate. To make matters worse, many cities have seen a significant increase in placard applications and distribution. For example, a recent survey found that placard use in downtown Portland, Oregon, has increased 72% in the last five years. Similarly, 2.5 million California drivers have placards, amounting to a ratio of 1 in 10. Therefore, the likelihood of fraud is definitely there.
“Evidence certainly exists that there is a problem with accessible parking placard fraud, and that the issue needs to be addressed,” says Mark Perriello, President and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities. Although a serious concern for many towns and cities, the enforcement of Illegal placard use takes a back seat to more serious crimes—until now.
Pondera Solutions, a California-based technology company, has devised a way to combat several types of fraud—the latest of which is illegal placard use. A Google-powered, cloud-based analytics solution, Pondera’s Fraud Detection as a Service (FDaaS) system combines technical intelligence with department data to quickly pinpoint suspicious–and possibly fraudulent–activity. By sifting through massive data sets, FDaaS identifies individuals who are receiving placards and validates that data against third-party data sources. If any discrepancies exist, state and local agencies are alerted so that follow-up investigation may take place.
The Pondera system does not prove fraud. It simply reports indicators of it. The state or local agencies would follow up on the information. Because FDaaS uses machine learning and Google’s geospatial mapping technology, it continues to “learn” over time, uncovering new and emerging methods of fraud. Ultimately, the system is designed to safeguard resources intended for those who are truly in need of disabled parking spaces.
“When someone abuses accessible parking, they make it more difficult for people with legitimate disabilities to find the parking they need to participate in society,” said Perriello. “They also increase the stigmatization of people with disabilities, by creating a climate where all use of accessible parking is called into question.” In the long run, disabled parking permit fraud and abuse hurts the disabled population, Perriello said.
Currently, a number of jurisdictions in discussions with and are considering implementation of Pondera’s system. The company hopes to initiate production with one or more companies by the end of 2014.
For more information regarding Pondera’s Fraud Detection as a Service system, check out the full article on GovTech.com.