Automated Parking: A Solution For Overcrowded Garages

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Automated Parking: A Solution For Overcrowded Garages

It’s no surprise that as the population in the United States continues to grow, so too does the number of cars on the road. With nearly 253 million cars in operation today, vehicle population has hit a record level according to IHS Automotive, a research firm focused on the automotive industry. That figure is up 1.5% since 2013. By comparison, there were 225 million cars on the road in 2000, and ten years prior, there were 193 million cars on U.S. roads.
Simultaneously, urban populations are seeing a boom for the first time in 100 years. According to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau, the nation’s urban population increased by 12.1 percent from 2000 to 2010, outpacing the nation’s overall growth rate of 9.7 percent for the same period.
These two factors – population and vehicle growth – are escalating the cost of real estate, particularly in U.S. urban regions. Automated and mechanical parking garages provide realistic solutions for urban density in 21st Century cities. Why? They have the ability to accommodate twice as many vehicles in the same space as conventional parking, which is an essential resource in urban areas where land is at a premium.
While automated parking is an emerging solution in the United States, it has been tested – and proven – in Asia and Europe for the past 20 years. Now is the time for this solution to become mainstream in cities across America.

Benefits of Automated Parking
There are a variety of benefits that come with automated and automated garages. These benefits include:

Land Savings: One of the most notable benefits of automated parking is the sheer amount of land that can be saved by developing an automated garage versus a standard garage. The ability to park vehicles door-to-door and bumper-to-bumper allows automated parking garages to use 30-50% less land than needed for a conventional garage with the same capacity. That means twice the number of parking spaces can be accommodated in the same volume of space. It also means land acquisition costs are decreased substantially.
Automated garages use narrower spaces than traditional parking facilities because pedestrians do not have to be taken into consideration, meaning vehicles can be parked inches away from each other and without the need for stairwells, elevators, and ramps; less space is needed.

Environmental Savings: Automated garages are the greenest out there. Automated parking garages are so much better for the environment in fact that there is an opportunity for additional LEED points when developing an automated garage versus a standard ramp garage.
Automated garages mean lower car emissions and reduced fuel consumption – cars are turned off as soon as they enter the parking bay. No longer do cars idle for long stretches of time when trying to exit after a local event, nor do cars need to drive up and down ramps, or back in and out of spaces – all of which contributes to air pollution. With automated parking garages, fuel savings average 83%, while toxic substances in the air drop 68% for VOCs, 77% for carbon monoxide, and 83% for carbon dioxide when compared to conventional parking systems.

Safety: For consumers, the additional safety that comes with automated parking is an important aspect. In an automated parking garage, the driver simply drops off the vehicle at a convenient drive-in entry cabin. When returning to pick up the car, the driver can wait in a safe, well-lit pick-up zone until the vehicle is delivered automatically. This system eliminates the concern and worry of being alone in a dark garage, searching for your car.
Beyond the vehicle owner, the car is actually safer in an automated garage. Without having to deal with pedestrians, bad drivers, lackadaisical parking attendants, dents, dings, and scrapes are practically eliminated.

types of systems
Lift & Slide is a semi-automated, self-parking, high-density system arranged on two to four levels. The upper and lower level parking spaces move vertically and the at-grade spaces move horizontally to allow upper or lower level cars to come up or down to the at-grade level and be driven off the platform. Ideal for smaller garages (15-50 cars), this system is cost-effective, simple to install and operate, and perfect for apartments, condominiums, or wherever space constraints pose a problem. Multiple units can be linked together, meaning there are no horizontal limitations to the system.
Automated systems require very little space – typically half that of a conventional garage, and can be as long as needed. The largest automated parking facility in the world is located in Dubai. It is also known to be one of the most luxurious. These systems are the ideal solution for larger scale apartments and condominiums, hospitals, office buildings, and universities and are most economical when servicing a minimum of 200 cars, with no limit on the maximum number of cars they can handle.
Automated parking systems now offers an alternative that saves a significant amount of scarce land space, preserves the budget, is environmentally friendly, and is much safer for citizens and consumers. The range of solutions available allows for nearly any type of facility of any size to utilize this already-proven technology.

Wes Guckert, PTP, is President of The Traffic Group headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland. For more information please visit www.trafficgroup.com or contact Wes at: wguckert@trafficgroup.com.

 

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Wes Guckert
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