Why are car parks flat?

May 19th, 2009

Interesting question.

But why was I thinking this?

Driving around – I thought it was neat how all roads are virtually flat and smoothen out the bumps.

Then I was like, ok same with car parks.  But what about car parking buildings?

Quick calculations (using the old 1, 2, square root 3) we can find if we elevate a 4m car park 30 degreees, we can accommodate a flat surface area saving of 15%.

That is, if you elevated every car park in a building, you would have 15% more room for extra car parks.

So why haven’t they done it?

  • Most likely the fundamental assumptions haven’t been questioned
  • Comfort / Usability
  • The norm

From a cost perspective

  • Increase car density within a car park (thus higher ROI for the same surface area)
  • Setup price discrimination, flat car park 50c/hour

Clearly there are some issues that need to be investigated…such as safety, consumer reaction, cost of setting up.

Flipping the fundamental assumption that parks need to be flat – yields a whole new insight.

Crazy huh? This exact approach is what is going to differentiate your firms service offering, flipping solutions on their head to deliver something no one else can.  What better way to obsess about your customers?

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6 Responses to “Why are car parks flat?”

  1. Mathew Sanders Says:

    I’d wondered why the car parks in Auckland Sky City were on a slope, but I’d not thought about it giving extra space. Smarts!

  2. Nathaniel Flick Says:

    Ben, great post!

    I had a thought though, 30 degrees is a severely steep grade; in fact, you’d find it hard to walk up it, and cars would struggle a little as well.

    The general public has trouble parking on the flat at the best of times. 😀

    And imagine car parking breaks failing and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. You’d need to implement some sort of car restraining device that can be activated by the user or automatically.

    I imagine the only other thing stopping this sort of construction is the added cost. Horizontal floors are a lot cheaper and faster to build.

  3. Ben Young Says:

    @Mathew I’ll have to check them out.

    @Nathaniel Yes you’re right, someone on Twitter pointed out the steepest street in the world is 19 degrees… so 30 degrees way way too steep. However you get the idea behind it. The physical barriers for the car and the occupants are just the same as parking on a hill I would imagine.

  4. Nathaniel Flick Says:

    Take this idea all the way: Bring your car to a garage and it places your car for you (like a book on a shelf) until you need it again. No worries about finding a park!

  5. Ben Young Says:

    They have such things in Japan, you pull onto a shelf which then stores your car away.

  6. Nathaniel Flick Says:

    Carparks are big money — we should get on that right away! 😀

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