Your smart car parks itself – less sprawl; more livable cities

Moving ITS-Park Infrastructure Forward: Designing Example Garage Modules

Posted by itsparker on June 3, 2010

I assume that the underlying smartcar technology of ITS-Park will be publicly demonstrated within the next several years. The result should be a high level of consumer interest, and a push by the auto and technology industries to make the smartcar option available. But the push of technology availability also requires the pull of parallel infrastructure development. (Yeah, it’s the old chicken/egg question – how do you get both started together?). Catalyzing the infrastructure side of the potential ITS-Park business appears the most difficult issue – cities must sell themselves on the tremendous impact that ITS-Park garages can/will have on the structure, livability and sustainability of their cities. I suggest the need for a two step process to encourage cities involvement in ITS-Park infrastructure application:

Step One – Industry develops preliminary designs of ITS-Park garage modules

Step Two – Cities use the ITS-Park module designs as the basis for conceptual urban design improvements

Step One: Designing ITS-Park Example Garage Modules

I have previously demonstrated the theoretical possibilities of large space and economic savings through the construction of ITS-Park garages which are designed to store smaller cars than today’s SUV’s. My results are summarized below. Of course, these rough estimates need verification through realistic designs by veteran garage designers.

Car type Square feet/vehicle Cubic feet/vehicle Cost/vehicle*
SUV self-park 282 2500 $13,000 to $29,000
Camry ITS-Park 197 1515 $7,000 to $15,400
Mini-Cooper ITS-Park 140 980 $5,200 to $11,000
Transformer ITS-Park 148 775 $3,800 to $8,500

*Depending on suburban or urban setting and land values

The Step One need is to develop preliminary ITS-Park designs – in modular form – that can be used by city planners/designers as elements of improved urban designs for sections/segments of their cities. Cities need a realistic perspective on the potential positive impacts of ITS-Park garages when combined with new urban designs. For Step One, I suggest the following process:

  1. Garage design experts work jointly with materials associations to create realistic ITS-Park modular designs (funding source to be decided). I envision, at least within the U.S. context, one garage designer working with The Aluminum Association; another with the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute; another with the American Institute of Steel Construction. These teams will meet with together, including auto and technology industry representatives, to define preliminary requirements/assumptions for their designs, such as:
    • Each module to hold 500 cars
    • Three design sizes and weights, such as:
  • Module A – 15 feet long by 5 foot high by 6 feet wide; weight TBD
  • Module B – 12 feet long by 5 feet high by xx wide; weight TBD
  • Module C (transformer car) – 12 feet long by 3.3 feet high by 5.7 feet wide; weight TBD
    • Load/unload lobby assumed input/output dwell times
    • Lobby design means for separating cars and pedestrians
    • Each ITS-Park garage three floors high
    • Vehicles movement speeds, accuracies and clearances

2. The expected outputs from the design work will be:

(A) A set of plans that can be used by city urban design teams, including floor plans, structure and exterior concept.

(B) Estimated price range per module.

(C) Expected garage external vehicle queuing needs

ITS-Park is now just a gleam in my eye. I like to believe that it also is a gleam in the eye of all the “lurkers” on this blog who I have yet to hear from. I’d especially like to hear comments from professionals who have been deeply involved in the design of self-park and mechanical garages. Is it possible at this early date to produce preliminary ITS-Park module designs that would be sufficiently relevant for cities to use as references? What sources of funding might be possible? My next blog post will delve into the questions of Stap Two – What cities might do with these preliminary ITS-Park module designs.


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One Response to “Moving ITS-Park Infrastructure Forward: Designing Example Garage Modules”

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