Why are car parks flat?


Ben Young, serial entrepreneur, speaker, author and founder of bwagy shares daily ideas on his blog in small digestible bites, aimed to make you rethink business, marketing and the world around you. check out http://blog.bwagy.com

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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  • Sam says
    awesome!! keep asking 'why', there is so much we just accept without question. parking for elderly or disabled would still need to be flat for access reasons. peoples peace of mind and comfort might be a factor, but hence the price discrimination.
  • shiny says
    Wheel chairs may have issues and the engineering implications of loading factors would dramatically alter. I would like to see more of these for maximising area..this is an automated storage facility for new VW cars.
  • Onaphobia says
    Hmm... part of the reason for parking buildings is for convenience, and parking closer to the stores. If you then make people climb a hill to get to the stores, or climb a hill to get back to their car when they're carrying shopping it's not exactly making it easier. Also, if shopping carts/strollers/wheelchairs are involved it's just asking for trouble really...
  • Ian says
    For what it's worth, there are no flat carparks in Christchurch.
  • Matt says
    The cost implications would outweigh the benefits by a long shot, manoeuvring would be more difficult, plus depending on the direction of the slope its either going to make your door harder to open and want to close on you or swing into the car next to you. Panel beaters are likely to be the only ones who like this idea.
    • JasonMantis says
      My mate Mitch loves it. It makes him feel more like a tech startup boss, which is what he is, haha.
    • Well, there is an automated robotic car park that takes your vehicle and deposits it in a tiny space, right here in Auckland at the Ironbank building, not 500m from here. Check it out...

      • shiny says
        Wonder what the wait would be at the end of the day? Think you'd need to plan your next appointment carefully...
        • JasonMantis says
          If I'm right, he electronically books it from his office; by the time he walks downstairs it's ready. Mind you, it's not a huge building.
        • Paul says
          They've already done it - check out the Sky tower carpark and the crown plaza carpark in Auckland, both are on the slope.
          • JasonMantis says
            I don't think that's what he means Paul. He's referring to tilting each car up 30 degrees so that you can squeeze more in, kind of like books on a bookshelf...
            • Owen says
              Dont quite think he's talking about tilting each car Jason, pretty sure he means by tilting the entire floor by 30 degrees, the floor space becomes larger.
              • JasonMantis says
                Read the original article Owen. He writes about tilting each car. Paul said they've already done it. I said that's not what he meant.
              • Snick says
                I saw an episode of myth busters where they tested if adding a layer onto a car, with indents similar to a golf ball would improve efficiency. Turns out it did by quite a decent amount, just like it does on golf balls. Why not do this with planes, cars, etc?

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