Parking facilities

Parking facilities can be both indoor and outdoor, public or private. It can be a parking garage, or a parking space that belongs to the property of a person’s house.

Underground car park

These are the different types of parking facilities:

Parking lotParking lot outside

A parking lot is an area that is assigned for parking. Normally, the parking spaces are marked on the ground with white or yellow lines that form squares that each fit one car. Parking lots are common near shops, bars, restaurants and other facilities that require parking. There are parking lots that are open throughout the year, but there are also improvised parking lots that are specially assigned for an event. For example, when there is a music festival that only happens once a year people can decide to open a nearby meadow to provide parking spaces for the visitors of that particular music festival.

Parking garages

A parking garages is also called car park, parking structure, parking building, parking ramp, parkade or parking deck.

There are several types of parking garages:

Single level parking garage

A single level parking garage is a parking garage that only has only one floor.

Multilevel or multi-storey parking garage

Multilevel or multi-storey parking garages are parking garages that have multiple floors to park at. The design of a multilevel parking garage can be very different. The most common design is a garage with ramps to move from one level to another. Less common are parking garages that use lifts to go from level to level. Then there are also parking garages with robotic systems that move cars from one level to another. The floors of the parking garage can either go up, down or both.  

Underground parking garage

An underground parking garage has levels below the surface and none above ground. Most often underground parking garages are located in city centers where there’s not much space available to build a parking facility, but there is a big need to build one.  

Automated parking garage

The car park operates as followed: You drive your car onto a platform in the garage. Then the automated parking system will move your car to the available parking space somewhere in the tower. The cars can be moved vertically and horizontally with the use of hydraulic or mechanical lifts. There are several benefits to a multilevel parking facility with an automated parking system. For example you can stack more cars in a compact space because the cars are parked by robots. Also parking spaces can be smaller because no one needs to get in or out of the vehicle and people don’t park it themselves; the robotic system doesn’t need as much space to park a car than a human does. You do need to clean the equipment every once in a while, plus at least one to four times a year someone needs to check the equipment to see if it all still works properly. The number of times for a service check depends on the equipment that is used.

Carports

Carports are usually located on people’s driveways next to their house. These carports are covered places where one or more cars can be stalled. They are private property that comes with the house. Car ports do not have four walls: Normally they only have one or two walls and sometimes they are attached to a wall of the house it belongs to. Car ports offer protection from bad weather conditions like rain and snow.

Carport

Parking spaces on the side of the street

Also parking spaces on the side of the road where metered or spaces that are laid out for the use of parking, are considered parking facilities. Commonly you can identify such spaces because there are one or more squares lined out with yellow or white paint that fit one car. You as a driver are supposed to park your car in between the squares. In other areas there aren’t any parking spaces drawn on the streets. This usually only happens in residential areas where it isn’t crowded.

Automated Parking System (APS)

An Automated Parking System or APS is a mechanical system that moves cars from the entry to an available parking space. It uses multiple levels and stacks cars vertically to use as less land as possible to park as many cars as possible. It’s entirely automatic and doesn’t require any staff. Automated Parking Systems are sometimes also called:

  • Mechanical Parking System
  • Robotic Parking System
  • Rotary Parking System
  • Automatic Parking
  • Stacker Parking
  • Etc.

Automatic parking systems are very space efficient. You can simply stack all the cars plus the parking space doesn’t have to be as wide as in a conventional parking lot. You can stack more cars in a compact space, because cars are moved by platforms and lifts. The system doesn't need as much space to park as a human does. There’s no need for ramps, pedestrian areas etc.

Semi-Automated Parking System

A Semi-Automated Parking System uses a mechanical system to move cars to their parking space, only it needs a human action to work, either by the driver or an attendant. This action can be as simple as pushing a button.

Advantages for customers:

  • No need to search for available parking spaces
  • No need to walk through the parking garage
  • Time saving
  • Consistent parking experience
  • Your car is parked safe and secure (no worry about theft / damage)

Advantages for municipalities / Property owners:

  • Space efficiency
  • Environmental friendliness (No driving around inside)
  • Visual impact increased
  • Increases public safety (Less opportunity for theft, accidents, assault)
  • Money-saving advantages
    • No people inside means no litter / fights / accidents / etc.
    • No people inside means no need for signs / lighting / pedestrian areas / etc.
    • Cars inside aren’t driving but are moved automatically, which means no need for an expensive ventilation system
    • No need to employ staff (except for occasional maintenance)

Conventional Valet Service vs. Automated Valet Service (Customer advantages)

  • You hold on to your own keys
  • Nobody drives your car
  • Environmental friendliness (engine is turned off)
  • No need to / not having the feeling that you need to leave a tip

How does it work?

The customer enters the parking garage and drives the car onto a platform. There he shuts off the engine, puts the brake on and steps out of the vehicle. The system detects the overall size and shape of the vehicle with the use of sensors. This is an important step in the process: The system analyzes where he can park the car (the smallest space possible).

Usually there’s a payment terminal for the customer to pay for parking. He receives a ticket or key with a customized code.

As soon as the customer leaves the parking garage, robotic arms and platforms are set in motion. They move the car vertically and/or horizontally to the available parking spot.

When to customer comes back to pick up his car, the system uses the code from his ticket to know which car to bring back to the platform. The customer can then enter the vehicle and leave the garage.

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