As long as there are vehicles on the roads there will be a need for parking. This is perhaps most obvious in inner cities where car parking can be incredibly expensive. It’s estimated that some parts of Australia charge more than $80 per day, that’s a significant expense to deduct from your earnings.
In fact, these high charges are indicative of the issues being faced by car owners across the country. But they are not the problem, the high prices are simply a result of the lack of available parking. If you increase space availability these prices are likely to decline.
The Main Parking Problem
In the most basic terms, more cars are arriving in cities every day than there are parking spaces. In short, there isn’t enough parking. It’s this fundamental issue that drives all other parking problems.
A lack of spaces does not encourage car park owners to widen the spaces available as this will reduce space numbers and their revenue. However, the truth is that cars are approximately 25% wider today than they were 50 years ago. Some, are as much as 55% bigger, such as the classic mini. This results in narrow spaces which makes it difficult to exit your vehicle and increases the risk of it being damaged. Consequently, owners of more expensive cars are reluctant to use narrow car parking spaces, creating increased competition for the few wider spaces in a city.
Even if you can afford the cost of parking, the simple fact appears to be there isn’t enough and car use is growing.
The good news is there are a number of possible solutions to alleviate the issues. While some of these solutions are obvious, some are surprisingly creative.
The most obvious way to boost parking spaces and alleviate the issue of parking is to add more spaces. However, while this is a practical approach, it’s not necessarily the best solution.
In the first instance, there is limited space available in cities, and in the second it may not actually be necessary to create additional spaces.
If this option is adopted the best approach is to build multi-story car parks where possible. This doesn’t mean the car parking increases in height, it’s feasible to create car parking underground.
Alongside extending existing car parks downward, it’s also worth looking at disused sites, such as old underground lines that can be converted to car parks.
Perhaps the simplest and potentially the best idea is to use the spaces currently available. While commercial car parks tend to be packed, there are many spaces available in apartment blocks. These are available because the owners or renters don’t have vehicles.
These spaces can be rented through an established system of parking spacers like in Melbourne and in other cities. Learn more here to know how they’ve been doing it. The result is an abundance of new spaces for commuters and shoppers and a little extra in the homeowner’s pocket.
This approach is already being adopted with a great deal of success. It illustrates the fact that parking is available, it’s simply inaccessible without the consent of the homeowner.
Improve Public Transport
Public transport is intended to be fast, efficient, and better for the environment. Yet, many people still prefer to rely on their cars.
Reducing the need for car parking can be achieved by making large out-of-town parking areas and subsidizing the public transport system. It will need to provide an easy option for people to get to their office in all weathers and at all times.
Investing in the public transport system can eliminate the need to park in cities, combine it with congestion charges and driving restrictions and it will quickly become the most popular option. The result will be significantly less traffic in cities and alleviate the need for additional spaces.
It can sound like it’s coming from a science fiction story but automated mechanical parking systems do currently exist. This is an expensive and complex solution but it has the capability to safely store thousands of cars in very little space.
You simply step out of your vehicle and the system moves it to a designated slot for you. It can then be returned to you as soon as you need it.
These systems can increase the number of cars parked in one area because there is no need to allow room between them for exiting the vehicle and the ceiling heights can be different on different levels. The machine will know where to put your car until you need it again.
Although expensive, it’s a much more practical approach and increases the number of vehicles that can be parked in one space.
Take the automated machinery one step further and AI can be used to help you identify a parking space and get to it. It’s estimated that 25% of congestion is from driving around in circles looking for a space.
The right AI machinery can locate spaces and direct a driver to them, from the moment you arrive in the city a space is reserved for you and you’ll be directed the shortest route possible to it. AI will monitor all available spaces and allocate based on need and locality.
Further research and refinement are necessary for this process but it is a matter of time before AI is helping to alleviate the car parking problem.
Encouraging the purchase of city cars will increase the number of small cars driving around a city. This translates to a need for smaller spaces or being able to put more cars in the current car park spaces.
In contrast to larger vehicles needing more space, it’s possible to reduce the footprint needed by cars and effectively increase space availability.
Of course, there will need to be a local incentive to help people switch from larger vehicles to small cars.
There are many other possible options which can be employed to help alleviate the car parking problem. But, the fundamental issue remains the same, as long as humans are relying on cars then the space for them to park is essential.
Eliminate the need for vehicles and you won’t just eliminate the parking problem, you’ll free up land across the cities.