Automated parking systems

From Policy Atlas
Jump to: navigation, search

An automated (car) parking system (APS) (also known as automatic parking system, automated parking facility (APF), automated vehicle storage & retrieval system (AVSRS), car parking system, mechanical parking, and robotic parking garage) is a mechanical system designed to minimize the area and/or volume required for parking cars. Like a multi-story parking garage, an APS provides parking for cars on multiple levels to maximize the number of parking spaces while minimizing land usage. It utilizes a mechanical system (rather than the driver) to transport cars to and from parking spaces in order to eliminate much of the space wasted in a multi-story parking garage.




An automated parking garage can be erected on any empty lot, even in between buildings. They come in several sizes, so a city can choose which type of garage fits its needs best. The building itself is made of a metal skeleton which can be covered on the outside with pretty much what ever is needed for it to fit in the city landscape.

Automated parking systems make use of computers, sensors, cameras and mechanical components to take the car, move it throughout the garage and park it in an empty slot. The process is very simple and it requires little effort from the driver.

Once the car is driven into the multi-storied garage as usual and positioned on the ramp, the driver shuts down the engine, secures the parking brake and steps out of the car. While the driver does all this, sensors analyze the vehicle to determine it's size and overall shape. Once the driver has exited the building, the mechanical arms of the living building are set in motion. Depending on the available empty spots in the garage, the system determines where to take the car. Using various electro-mechanical components, the car is moved into the respective spot.[1]


Tradeoffs of implementing this policy may include:

  1. Higher construction cost per space (but this may be offset by the potential for lower land costs per space and the system manufacturers claim that operating and maintenance cost will be less than for a conventional ramped parking structure).
  2. Redundant systems will result in a higher cost.
  3. Somewhat confusing for unfamiliar users.
  4. Fear of breakdown (How do I get my car out?).
  5. Uncertain building department review and approval process.
  6. Necessitates a maintenance contract with the supplier.

Compatibility Assessment

If answered yes, the following questions indicate superior conditions under which the policy is more likely to be appropriate:

  1. Is there a demand for more parking?
  2. Is there a lack of sufficient space for a conventional parking structure?
  3. Is there adequate funding for building an automated parking facility?
  4. Is the facility intended to support new residential developments, offices, airports, universities or hospitals that are landlocked?
  5. Would the benefits of the amount of space saved or additional amount of cars accommodated compare favorably against the increased cost per space of an automated parking system structure?


The following questions should be considered when determining how to implement this policy:

  1. What are the requisite dimensions of such a facility - including the height of each level and volume of each space?
    1. Systems may have different dimensions for different vehicle type spaces - e.g., slightly over 7 ft. high for sedans and closer to 9 ft. for sport utility vehicles. [2]
  2. What plan will exist to address risk of an electrical or system outages?
    1. Measures designed to reduce such risks include regular maintenance, uninterruptible power supply (UPS), backup generators and redundant servers.[2]
  3. Are special fire codes or fireproofing required?
    1. In the U.S., the National Fire Protection Association standard 88A covers "the construction and protection of, as well as the control of hazards in, open and enclosed parking structures, including automated-type parking structures, other than those within one and two family dwellings." [3].
  4. How will the automated parking system accommodate individuals with disabilities?
    1. Automated parking systems should be designed to allow accessible entrances and exits for the disabled.[2]



By virtue of their relatively smaller volume and mechanized parking systems,automated parking systems are often used in locations where a multi-story parking garage is too large, too costly or impractical. Applications are all around the US.

  • For governance level(s): Local.


Notable entities who have implemented or adopted this policy include:






This paper discusses how new automobiles and automated parking can address many environmental issues from financial, to land use, along with air quality and architecturally sustainable design.

This paper describes the architecture and design of Part-A-lot, an automated parking management system. It explains the working dynamics of this system and its communication with the website to find a parking spot before arriving at the destination.

This paper presents an integrated framework for a suite of dynamic path planning algorithms for real time and concurrent movement of multiple robotic carts across a parking garage floor layout without driving lanes.


  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Frequently Asked Questions (About Robotic Parking Systems). Robotic Parking Systems, Inc. Last Accessed on March 11, 2016.
  3. NFPA 88A: Standard for Parking Structures. National Fire Protection Association. Last Accessed on March 11, 2016.
Related Policies

PolicyAtlas is maintained by volunteer contributors. For instructions on how to join PolicyAtlas, simply create an account and read about how to contribute a policy.

You can also follow @PolicyAtlas and contact us on: Twitter Icon.png Twitter, Facebook Icon.png Facebook, Instagram Icon.png Instagram and Email.