Economic Development and Environmental Sustainability
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2014 7th Issue: The Future of Three-Dimensional Parking System in China

Time: May 29, 2014      Source: IEEPA

With the rapid development of social economy and the automobile industry, cars have become a popular vehicle for Chinese families. However, the increasing number of cars has exerted huge pressure on urban transportation. According to China Automobile Development Report (2012-2013) made by Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, until the first season of 2013, the number of private cars in China would exceed 10 million, and the number of automobiles per 100 households would exceed 60 in the next 10 years. More than 10 million private cars further mark China¡¯s status as an auto superpower, revealing our economic growth, industrial development and the quality of lives. On the other hand, the fast increase of private cars is also criticized for the problems it brings about, such as crowded road, polluted air, energy and land shortage, and parking difficulty. Consequently, finding a new way of parking is significant in effectively solving the parking problem, protecting land resources, conserving energy and reducing emission.

1.       China¡¯s parking problem

China¡¯s parking problem not only concerns social development and environmental protection, but can also be the bottleneck for implementing national automobile, urban transportation and other relevant policies. It is high time that we solved the parking problem. As a result, it is a top priority to have a clear picture of the parking problem, make sensible plans and policies, and finding effective solutions.

(1)     Lack of parking space

The construction of parking facilities in large cities falls far behind the increase of vehicles. The imbalance between parking space and cars is a widespread problem of large cities in developing countries, and is the most direct cause for the parking problem. Currently, malls, administrative office areas, entertainment zones, tourist attractions and residential districts in large cities are places where the parking problem is the most serious. For example, central Shanghai needs parking places for more than 1.2 million vehicles. Now, there are only places for 0.9 million cars while 0.3 million suffer from the shortage of parking area. Even under such circumstances, some parking lots are occupied for other use, aggravating the parking problem.

(2)     Random parking

Because of the shortage of parking places, administrative staffs are appointed to roadsides and sidewalks to charge parking by the hour, worsening the problem of random parking. Not only the main and secondary roads, but also other available places such as public lawns, sports fields, and private yards have all become parking lots. Random parking does harm to normal social order and people¡¯s lives, generating serious safety risks.

(3)     Low utilization ratio

Though there is the problem of parking area shortage and random parking, the utilization ratio of downstream parking facilities is still very low. Though there are plenty of parking facilities allocated for public buildings, the utilization ratio is low. Because of the difference in price and convenience, the utilization ratio of ground parking lots is higher than the underground parking lots, curb parking lots higher than the off-road parking lots, worsening the parking problem.


(4)     Imperfect charging system

Imperfect charging system is another cause for the parking problem. The charging system, lacking in scientific proof, gives rise to park-seeking traffic jam in rush hours, not only damaging urban public spaces and transportation, but also resulting in random parking.

2.       National and Local Policies

The increasingly prominent problem of difficult parking has raised the three dimensional garage to the level of key project in parking market. After all, the development of three dimensional garages is in need of political support.

The National Development and Reform Commission of People¡¯s Republic of China has published Contents of Key Industries, Products and Technologies Supported by the Government (amended version of 2000) and Guidelines of Industrial Restructuring (2005). Both documents have pointed out that the government encourages and plays an active part in building urban three dimensional garages and improving urban infrastructures. Whereas, the investment is huge yet the immediate return is by scattered parking charges. Obviously, the return on investment and profit margin are hard to predict. Besides, policies of fiscal subsidies on urban stereo garages building have not been formally made. Local policies can be seen in different cities though, such as preferential policies of land supply, fees remission and tax incentives for public garages. Even some big cities have already launched subsidies on stereo garages, such as Nanchang, Hangzhou and so on.

3.       Advantages and Prospects of Three Dimensional Garages

Compared with traditional parking systems, intelligent three dimensional garages are advantageous in less occupation of land, more efficient use of space and high intelligence. Besides, three dimensional garages can help save huge amount of human resource and realize energy conservation and emission reduction. Unique entry and exit design enables to beautify the surroundings. Undoubtedly, urban three dimensional garages lead to multi-win achievements of mitigating the problem of difficult parking, realizing energy saving and emission reduction, promoting low carbon and environmental protection and optimizing urban public environment.

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