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Parking problems

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Parking problems are an increasingly serious issue in all first world countries and more and more so in the less developed locations.

Ultimately, this boils down to supply-demand. The motorised road vehicle is becoming more and more popular and the word ‘traffic-jam’ is familiar to the ears of even young children. Word has it that the traffic-jams in Bangkok are the worst in the world.

Essentially, the supply of land is fixed (or nearly so) and demand for parking goes up and up. The resulting price therefore rises and rises in the classic way illustrated in books on elementary economics.

Why is this? There are, we submit, two top reasons:

  1. Cheaper motor vehicles
  2. Over-easy driving tests and life-long driving licences

The manufacturing of motor vehicles got a fillip as a result of Henry Ford’s manufacturing innovations and then a further one from automation as exemplified in the extreme in Japanese and Korean robot car manufacturing robots. Labour savings pass on to the customer markets and cheap cars etc make for two and three car families. This impacts parking problems.

In many countries driving tests are fairly easy. One has to show that one obeys the laws of driving safety in a variety of ways and can park sensibly, and not a great deal else. Furthermore, the driving licence is permanent unless a really serious incident takes place.

Not much can be done about the increasing cheapness of motor vehicles that flows from automation. However, driving licences can be made time sensitive; the licence can be made valid for, say, ten years, and after that the person has to retake the test to continue driving legally. Examiners can test reaction times as part of the test insofar that slow reaction times are conducive to making accidents. Average reaction time for a simple stimulus is about a quarter of a second – 250 milliseconds.

Parking problems come to a head in the centres of the mega-cities of the world. Here land prices are high and many people flock to these prime locations for work and for play. The usual answer is the same as for living space and office room: Build upwards.

Owing to the limitations of different types of street and off-street parking, e.g. parallel parking as opposed to end-to-end parking on curb-sides enterprising businessmen have created the visual eyesores that are multi-storey car parks. Nearly always, these are money-making businesses that use the desperation of motorists to park in places where on-street parking is almost completely unavailable and restricted to certain days and times of day and expensive.

Parking experts categorise parking as:

  1. Parallel
  2. Perpendicular
  3. Angle
  4. Other

But these are limited in terms of creating parking spaces.