Optimum Solutions for Urban Car Parking

What’s the optimum solution for parking cars in urban (read as dense populations) areas? Some would say getting rid of the cars is the optimum solution to car parking challenges. But, cars or other types of personal vehicles are going to be with us for a long time to come since complementary to the public transportation systems and they all need to be parked. That being the case, we’ll put technology aside and simply consider the optimum car parking solutions.

Before we begin, we should recognize that optimum has different meanings to car parking users, parking operators, city planners, developers and investors. The individual characteristics of an optimum solution, therefore, should be beneficial or at least neutral for all stakeholders.

Following are major characteristics of optimum urban car parking solutions:
  • Close to popular destinations – for convenience and high utilization
  • Sufficient number of spaces – to satisfy demand with minimal excess capacity
  • High-density parking – minimal land area per parking space
  • Flexible application – to easily adjust capacity and fit in greatest variety of areas
  • Safe and secure – eliminate risks for drivers and opportunities for criminals
  • Sustainable – reduces environmental and societal impact to the minimum
  • Positive experience – for car parking users and all other stakeholders
  • Ease of access
Notice that we didn’t include anything about specific technologies or costs. Urban car parking solutions require a compromise of the characteristics listed above plus costs, technology and other criteria. For example, local codes may define the number and location of parking spaces a business must provide while also limiting building and architectural options. This may preclude the use of certain technologies and have an effect on costs and other characteristics.

Optimum urban car parking solutions require thinking beyond the application and modification of conventional parking structures. Very large, centrally located car parks may be great solutions in certain locations and may be poor solutions in other locations. Various technologies make underground parking easier, more attractive and less costly than conventional solutions.

As various governmental, community and activist groups try to impose a broad range of goals and criteria on the urban landscapes of the future, urban car parking solutions become more difficult to achieve. Contact us to learn how to compare urban car parking solutions to define the optimum for your application.