The Business Case for Modular Car Parks
Where additional car parking is needed urgently or temporarily a modular solution is usually the best option. The modular design and build system offered by Osborne and Siderpark is probably the easiest way to add an additional deck to an existing car park or bring vacant land into use quickly.
Speed, however, is only part of the business case. Detailed demand analysis is needed to ensure that there will be a return on the investment.
The need for additional car parking is always generated by some type of land use. This could be a town centre, transport hub, hospital or event venue. All of these will have different patterns of use that will influence the ideal design and location of any additional parking facility, along with its financial viability.
Location is Critical
Research or customer feedback might show clearly that people want more parking spaces. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they will use spaces in the location you are proposing. In many cases people are surprisingly reluctant to walk even short distances to or from a car park.
Potential demand has to be disaggregated to convert projected visitor numbers into car parking demand. For example, do people travel on their own or in groups? How many of the potential visitors will use another car park because it’s the first one they see or because it offers a faster route out when they’ve finished their business?
The suitability of a location will be influenced by the road system and how easy it would be for people to get to or from major routes at key times of the day. It will also be determined by usage patterns. Workers using a long stay facility for eight or more hours might not mind a ten-minute walk; for somebody popping to the shops for an hour it would probably be unacceptable.
Dwell Time and Car Park Design
Dwell time is a major design consideration. With longer stays you can often get away with narrower traffic lanes, fewer barriers and a greater density of parking spaces. For short-stay, people usually need to get in and out quickly to support the necessary dynamic capacity. There’s also the question of demand concentration and whether users tend to arrive and leave within short time windows at particular times of the day.
Parking is a uniquely demand-led service. Top-down planning (which is what usually happens) rarely delivers a reliable model or business case. By working with specialist demand analysis consultants, Town Centre Planning, we are able to offer a complete service including demand, pricing and revenue forecasting, alongside our design, build and maintain offering.
The modular nature of the product also makes it easier to modify the design to accommodate changed usage patterns or expand or contract the number of spaces as required.