Automated Parking Tries Again, and Again, and Again


Automated Parking Tries Again, and Again, and Again

Had lunch the other day with a couple of folks from the automated parking industry. You probably don’t know them, they aren’t players, yet. I felt guilty when the check came and picked up the tab, although I had been invited by them.

I spend the mean yelling at them about the problems in their industry.

Almost weekly I hear about a new deal that is "coming down" using automated parking. And of course, it doesn’t come to fruition. There are, as of this writing, two, count em TWO successful projects in the entire country vor 15 years of work.

If you ask the reps of manufacturers, the fault lies with the owners, consultants, operators, and architects. Baloney. The fault lies with the industry. They simply don’t know how to sell these mechanical marvels. 

The approach they take, and my luncheon partners took, was that the units are competitive, safe, secure, and popular. They need less maintenance, and really, REALLY are neat. That’s it….

Well, that ain’t going to hack it. The approach is to find applications where the ONLY thing that will work would be this technology.  In the two places where its installed (Hoboken and a condo in DC), that’s what happened. Tiny foot print, need parking to proceed, automated was the solution.

In all other cases, the projects seem reasonable, but then simply stall out, fall out, or are argued out by competitive technologies (read that concrete).

No industry has been successful by being "repped" in North America. You need to have a presence, open an office, get full time people who can learn the market. Make a commitment.

There is no other way.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

4 Responses

  1. Let’s not forget the biggest hurdle of having the approved zoning specifically addressing the use of automated parking in urban areas. Local approved legislation is what needs to get this idea going. Nothing will get done until that happens. I would love to develop the concept but can’t understand what is holding this up.
    Looking for any info to enlighten me to the obstacles that hold this up.

  2. Mike — I obviously wasn’t clear – I was referring to Automated/mechanical parking, you know, those systems that take your car mechanically and put it in a slot and then return it when you are ready to leave.

  3. Am not sure what kind of automation that JVH is referring to but we have successfully automated over 60 sites in North America (both surface and garage). The quick return on ROI for the owners and operaters has been substantiated and the valuation of the properties increased measurably.
    The cash shrinkage and manpower requirements have been reduced for the operators.
    True, there are some sites where automation with parking management systems has marginal return but these are the exception and not the rule that we are finding.
    We will be happy to provide any details requested on the above information.

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