When comparing a conventional parking garage to an automated one, there are many benefits that come to mind, such as convenience, ease of use, luxury aesthetics, and peace of mind. But an often-overlooked benefit is increased safety.
Conventional parking garages are often dark and unsightly structures that eat up valuable real estate in the city and can be huge liabilities for property owners. Parking structures, as critical as they are for population-dense areas, can also come with some risk.
That risk can come in the form of common safety hazards, including vehicle damage that might occur while trying to find a parking spot, criminals breaking into non-occupied automobiles, or even the fear of assault when a driver has to walk to their vehicle alone or late at night. Although there are numerous ways for property owners to minimize these hazards, automated parking systems (APS) provide a solution to all of them.
Tens of thousands of vehicle accidents occur annually that result in injury and even death. You might be surprised to learn that 20% of accidents happen in parking lots and garages annually. Automobile insurers also report that the number of claims spikes during the holiday shopping season due to how congested the parking structures get.
The National Safety Council (NSC) held a poll revealing another common cause for collisions occurring in parking structures. Respondents to this poll noted that they typically engage in distracting activities while navigating through a parking lot which includes programming a GPS, texting, using social media, sending or receiving emails, or even taking photos or watching videos.
With an APS, all the driver needs to do is park their vehicle in one of the spacious transfer areas, checkout at the kiosk to ensure nothing important was left in their vehicle, trigger the system safety check, and then be on their way. It’s as simple as that. This removes the headache of navigating through congested parking structures and eliminates any exterior variables damaging your vehicle by simplifying the entire process.
Recently published FBI crime data shows that parking lots and garages were the third most common site of violent crime. There are numerous factors that contribute to why parking structures leave many people vulnerable such as:
- The vehicles themselves provide cover for those looking to steal, vandalize, or even harm people.
- Covered/leveled parking structures' sheltered design provides numerous opportunities to conceal undesirable behavior.
- Human security guards are unable to watch every corner of a garage which provides even more opportunities for crimes.
In an APS, the automated system handles the vehicle storage and retrieval process, thus greatly reducing, or even eliminating any opportunity for crimes to occur. Once the vehicle is parked in the well-lit transfer area, the outer doors are closed and your vehicle is not touched by a human again until it is retrieved and the doors open for you to get in and be on your way.
Tom Scannapieco, president of Scannapieco Development Corporation, 500 Walnut, put it best when he stated: “[Our Residents] also like the fact that no one gets in their car. There's no muddy shoes or dirt. There's nobody who opens a car door in the garage and knicks their car. They could leave their pocketbook, their handbag, their change in the car. No one is in the vehicle. I like to say when they get their car back it still has their radio station on the radio.”
Although many public parking garages have remained in use, the COVID-19 pandemic has led people to be more conscious of touchpoints and spreading germs. There has been an uptick in people driving to avoid public transportation, resulting in crowded parking garages that have become potential hotspots for spreading the virus.
In a conventional parking garage, common touchpoints and high traffic areas include: waiting areas, pay stations/kiosks, elevators, stairways, doorknobs, and interactions with a valet. However, in an APS, you can enjoy a contactless experience by utilizing an integrated parking app on your smartphone. With this app, you can retrieve, or schedule to retrieve, your vehicle at your convenience, see the exact location your vehicle will be returned to with a countdown of how long it will take, and even avoid the kiosk/pay station when exiting.
Removing additional human interaction and reducing the amount of time someone has to wait in high traffic areas from the parking experience can help minimize their exposure, providing additional comfort in a time where people are more conscious of the spread of germs.
Increase Safety with an APS
An APS serves as the answer to all the issues presented by conventional parking by simplifying the entire process. By putting the control fully in the driver’s hands when parking and eliminating additional human interaction, it greatly reduces vehicle damage/accidents, potential crimes, and exposure to diseases.
If you would like to learn more about how automated parking could maximize the value of your development while also increasing safety for your residents/users and their vehicles, reach out to one of our experts for a free consultation today!