Brief History of Parking Garages

History of Parking Garages

Parking garages were a result of the “automobile boom” of the early 1900’s. As the number of cars grew exponentially, the need for easy and accessible parking became higher and higher. Also, cars in these days were much more sensitive to weather. Maintaining a vehicle’s longevity was done by parking them inside. In these days, parking garages had two roles: providing parking for a driver and protecting the vehicle. Older parking garages relied on ramps to allow vehicles to ascend and descend to other floors. The ramps had to be constructed to be small enough to not reduce parking space but large enough to be separate floors of the garage. These parking garages also had parking attendants who were in charge of parking the guest’s vehicles for them.  Those who actually used the parking garages were not allowed to park their own cars.

Old Parking Garages

The D’Humy ramp system, shown above, used less space than previous garages by combining garages with smaller ramps and staggered floors. (Source) A few decades later, in the 1950’s, the construction of parking garages in the United States skyrocketed. Theses garages now allowed people to park their own cars close to a downtown area without any hassle. It was around this time when parking garages began to resemble the garages that we see today. The structures now include underground parking, more intricate designs, and engineering that made parking much easier. Today, internal ramps are still the most common way for vehicles to move between levels due to its simplicity. However, technology has allowed for other solutions.


Parking Garages Miami

Above: An innovative and stylish car park located in Miami, FL.(Source)

Automated Parking Systems

Automatic vehicle parking is somewhat rare, but a viable way to move cars between floors nonetheless. Automated parking systems allow better protection for the vehicles since they are separated from one another and difficult to access. These systems also allow for drivers to park their cars and find them more quickly due the layout of the system.  One downfall of automated systems comes down to technical failure. If the system malfunctions during peak parking hours, drivers will not be able to utilize the parking structure as quickly as before or even not at all.

Below: This automated car parking system in Germany holds almost 1,000 cars. A large robotic arm transports vehicles to and from each parking space. (Source) See a video of this automated parking system here.

Automated Parking Garage

Parking garages are a staple for any major city’s downtown area. The ability to maximize parking in a limited amount of space while generating revenue benefits consumers and businesses.


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