Parking Garages and Counter-Terrorism

Vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) are a common threat worldwide: cars or trucks containing large amounts of explosives capable of horrendous destruction. As seen in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, parking garages under or adjacent to high-profile buildings are prime targets for terrorists. Counter-terrorism experts continue to examine the security aspects of conventional multi-story parking garages. We thought it might be interesting to look at the counter-terrorism aspects of automated parking systems that differ from conventional parking garages.

Control is a key element in any security plan: control of an area, control of people and vehicles, control of entrances and exists. By their nature, automated parking systems provide more and easier control over all of these elements than conventional parking garages:

  • There are no people to monitor in the parking area
  • There are no stairways, elevators or hiding places
  • Vehicle entrance is only through controlled, automated “boxes”
  • There is much less area and volume to secure and monitor
  • Easier blocking of wireless electronic signals (e.g. for detonation)
Automated parking systems are significantly easier and less costly to install underground due to their much smaller volume. Without the need for massive excavation and concrete structures, it is easier to locate automated parking systems elsewhere than directly under buildings. This also makes for fast and easy application of automated parking systems in existing areas.
The entrance/exit boxes used in automated parking systems provide a number of interesting possibilities for control, protection and advanced inspection of vehicles:
  • Secure control of all vehicle passengers (inside the entrance box)
  • Remote inspection of vehicles and passengers (inside the entrance box)
  • Air sampling for explosives
  • Examination of vehicles with electronic and/or penetrating technologies
  • Boxes designed and reinforced to mitigate blast effects from VBIEDs

To discuss counter-terrorism and car parking garage solutions for embassies, consulates, commercial or financial institutions or transportation centers, contact your Skyline Parking representative.


Parking Garage Cover Up

Has this happened to you?

You’re enjoying the view of a new development: striking new buildings surrounded by lush landscaping. Or, you’re soaking in some centuries-old classic architecture on a tree-lined boulevard. Then, your eye is drawn uncontrollably to something else…a squared-off, gray structure right in the center of your vista...a parking garage. Ugh!

You might wonder why they don’t do something to cover up or disguise these relatively unsightly structures. Why not make them blend in with a some type of facade? It seems like a simple question with a simple answer. The question is simple; however, the answer is more complex.

Car exhaust is not good for people, so parking garages must be capable removing bad air while bringing in fresh air. For this reason, above grade multi-story parking garages typically have an open design - to allow for the natural exchange of air. Parking garages that qualify as “open-air” or non-enclosed structures can often not avoid the need to install expensive forced (mechanical) ventilation systems.

Since parking garages are considered “occupied space”, similar to office buildings, many building codes require that all of the air inside enclosed parking garages be changed at least every 5 or 6 minutes. In something as large as a parking garage, that’s a lot of air and large cost for hardware. Operating and maintaining a large forced ventilation system is, of course, also a significant ongoing expense.

Even if a facade does permit natural ventilation to some extent, extensive analysis and modeling may be required to satisfy local regulations. Then, there is also the possibility that a facade necessitates a more extensive fire protection system. But, that’s not the end of the challenge.

If the point of a facade is to limit visibility of the parking garage, it also limits visibility into the garage. This is contrary to the best practices for parking garage security. Limiting the view of passing motorists and pedestrians inside the parking garage creates an environment more conducive to crime.

If you want car parking and architectural aesthetics, an automated car parking system may be the best and lowest cost solution.

Contact Skyline Parking to find out all the ways you can achieve car parking, pleasant views and higher profits in a sustainable fashion - all at the same time.