When you are familiar with a car park, you know which floor or secret corner you will most certainly find an available spot. Those “always empty” areas may be a blessing for the regular customer, but parking managers and operators probably don’t have the same view.
Underused space means that the car park is not reaching its full potential either in terms of revenue, or providing customers with clear access to all sections of the car park or both.
Ignoring external issues, a low usage rate can be linked to two main issues, low demand or bad design. When it is related to demand, commercial initiatives need to be put in place. It might be necessary to adjust the pricing strategy, add other services or improve communications and marketing. A thorough study will indicate the most suitable strategies to balance supply and demand.
In the event that the capacity of the car park cannot be fully utilised in view of current market forces (regardless of the additional strategies undertaken), it’s worth investigating the possibility of repurposing a section of or the entire car park. Options include implementing end-of-trip facilities, installing a car wash station or parcel lockers. At grade areas can be turned into public space or amenity
On the design side, the problem usually results from drivers having difficulty in accessing certain parts of the car park. As we have written before in the post Car park design – an interesting beast, the ideal scenario is to get the design right before the construction phase.
However, not always is best practice design put in place and retrofit solutions are required, including re-designing the car park’s traffic flow and implementing more effective wayfinding and signage to direct people to those areas.
Exploring the full potential of the car park means that investors have a better ROI and customers enjoy a better parking journey.