Cars, whether combustion engine or electric, are getting bigger. So, it stands to reason that parking spaces should grow to match. Or does it? While some governments, such as the UK’s, are advocating for this, there is concern from parking operators at the changes and outright opposition from some mobility thought leaders. Intertraffic World’s Lauren Dyson talks to the experts.
We have all been there. You have skilfully manoeuvred your car into a tight parking space, but then you have to breathe in and open your door ever so slowly – just enough – so that you can squeeze through that tiny gap between your car and the one next to you. If you dread parking in public car parks, you are not alone. Research commissioned by AppyParking+, revealed that almost half of motorists (46%) find parking to be the most stressful part of driving. The study also revealed that motorists are likely to give up on a space twice a week and 38% of motorists will just keep driving until they find a space that works for them.
Part of the problem is, while cars have become bigger over the years, the size of parking bays has stayed the same. Parking guidelines for the UK were first published by the Institution of Structural Engineers in 1976, with the requirement for public bays to be 2.4m (8ft) wide x 4.8m (16ft) long. The guidelines were ideal in the 1970s, when the average family saloon was almost 20cm narrower than the equivalent today. But as side-impact safety systems have improved and driver preferences have changed, many people own bigger and wider cars that simply take up more space.