In America on average there are about 5 paved parking spaces for each car on the road. That is roughly about 1,000 square feet per car adding up to millions of square miles of black, asphalt-covered, sun-heat-absorbing, rain-water-drain-preventing, parking lots, which sit unused most of the time.
The fact that overall on average cars get more allocated space than most big city dwellers raises a number of ethical and other concerns. Yet the problem is bigger than that. Just some of the other negative consequences are loss of productive farm-land, local climate warming and its consequent big-city heat-waves. (For example, if Los Angeles were to paint its flat-roofed buildings, parking lots and streets white, there would be an estimated decrease in temperature of about 5 °F (i.e. about 2.5 °C), which in turn will reduce heat-wave severity and related deaths, alleviate smog, and decrease air-conditioning electric consumption and costs across the board.)
One way of alleviating the disproportionate allocation of space for cars is creating smart, totally automated car parks which can reduce costs, improve efficient usage of space, reduce traffic congestion and save driver’s time, all at the same time. There are already a few, mostly European and Japanese, companies who have working examples of automated car parking. Unfortunately, despite their positives, smart car parks are still rather rare in both Europe and Japan, and virtually unavailable in the US and Canada.
Here are some good examples of how we could implement automated car parking in our cities too.
The first video shows an underground public parking with a total of 404 parking spaces located in the city center of Budapest, Hungary.
Here is another example from Germany:
Given that it is North America which gives meaning to the term car-culture, isn’t it time that we also invest in or try and become the leaders in smart, automated car parking technology?
Isn’t it about time to be able to simply walk to the parking booth and just ask: “Hey (computer) dude, where is my car?”