Automated Parking Systems – Street Access and Entry/Exit Level Design Considerations
Welcome to the 4th part of our Automated Parking System design Considerations series. In case you missed it, the previous articles can be found here.
One of the major benefits of implementing an automated parking system is the superior user experience. The ease of access to and from the automated parking system and inside the entry/exit bay rooms plays a major role in this experience.
Please note that different project sites will dictate different design solutions. The information below addresses the design consideration, but is not intended to cover all possible sites.
Subject to site constraints and system design, the position of the entry rooms should be as far as possible from the street to allow maximal vehicle queuing
Street Access and Entry/Exit Bays
The automated parking system is programmed to deliver the vehicle facing out. If the site has street access from both sides, the designer should consider positioning the entry bays on one side and the exit bays on the other side, which provides the following benefits:
- One way entry/exit traffic provides for better vehicular flow and lower probability of “traffic jams”
- Also eliminates the need for vehicle rotation devices inside the automated parking system, lowering the system price and the space required for vehicle handling.
However, when the site dictates that the garage entry and exit to be located on the same street, the design should allow for separate lanes to drive in/out. For narrow sites that allow for a single lane or a single bay (serving both for entry and exit), the design should consider integrating a parking gate to control the bay access.
When designing a system with limited curb cuts and multiple entry/exit bay rooms, it is often required that the user maneuver the vehicle to and from the bay rooms. It is important to allow for sufficient turning radi to maintain ease of access and prevent vehicle damage as a result of complexed maneuvers.
Designing a space outside the bay rooms for users to load/unload their vehicles improves system performance and enhances user experience. It allows for better staging by minimizing the dwell time the users spend in the bay room (which is a negative factor on system performance).
Lobby (Waiting Area)
The biggest challenge of automated parking systems is the psychology of waiting. While the system delivers vehicles faster than any other type of parking operation, when the user must wait for their vehicle, the perception is that the overall process takes longer. Designing a comfortable lobby (waiting area) with means to keep the users busy (such as music, TV, coffee machine) and comfortable seating contributes to the superior experience. In addition, providing notification tools such as monitors or apps showing the status of the retrieval process will help eliminate many of the negative feelings associated with waiting. The user has the impression that the process moves must faster because they receive visual cues that the unseen retrieval process is moving smoothly and quickly.
In our next article we will continue to address the topic of entry/exit level design considerations.
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