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There’s an old brainteaser that asks which weighs more, a pound of feathers or a pound of lead. Obviously, but not always to some people, they weight the same. But let’s consider another query: what holds more cars, a few of acres of parking lot, or an automated parking garage that takes up less than an acre? You’ve probably figured it out already. With automated parking structures you can fit more cars into less space. But how does that work? Here’s how automation increases capacity in parking structures.

Verticality

The first and most obvious reason why automation increases capacity is that automated parking facilities go up rather than spread out. Depending on the system, cars are transported from the entryway to a specific spot in an elevated and grid-like bank of parking spaces. When you build upwards, you make greater use of the “air space” on a piece of land. Rather than taking up unnecessary space with a parking lot, you aim for the sky, leaving the land around it free and clear.

Efficiency

Automated parking facilities are more efficient than parking lots and even parking garages because the parking process involves less driving around. Traditional lots and garages require customers to drive around in search of a spot. That means dozens of drivers starting, stopping, searching, and avoiding each other as they jockey for spaces. That can mean mini-traffic jams, near-misses, and actual accidents that, at best, slow down the process of parking. Automated parking removes the possibility of human error, as well as the circumstances that lead to the above chaos and collisions.

Supply Meets Demand

Here’s one more way how automation increases capacity in parking structures. You will know when you’re at capacity immediately and can shut down and reopen as needed. It might not be readily apparent that a parking lot or garage is full, which can lead to drivers entering and taking up space in the lanes in search of a parking space. That makes it harder for people already parked there to exit, of only by a matter of minutes, which can lead to further slowness and gridlock. On the other hand, a fully automated or semi-automated parking facility can be opened and closed as spaces develop, and drivers aren’t allowed in to impede the process.

No Lanes, No Ramps, No Problem

Automated and semi-automated parking facilities are mostly human-free. A driver arrives, parks their car on a platform, and gets out. The platform then rises or descends to the parking area without them. The system doesn’t even require a valet. Because of this, human beings need never enter the parking facility, which means that unlike a traditional parking garage, there’s no need for the architect to add ramps, lanes, or walkways. This provides more space for parking overall, while increasing safety and security as well. What an excellent trade-off!

This post was originally published on Harding Steel