We are used to seeing cars parked at ground level or in the basement, but it’s a common sight in Bangkok to see them parked above ground level. It’s a great space-saving parking solution which allows free traffic movement and curbs congestion. Enabling maximum space and time utilization, parking lots above ground levels are the most suitable considering Bangkok’s peculiar geology. But, why are cars parked above ground level in Bangkok?
1. Geological Composition
Bangkok is a geologically vulnerable city because of its high groundwater table which results in land subsiding due to the low-permeability of soil that covers the groundwater table in certain areas. An average 49 feet thick layer of soft marine clay, also called Bangkok clay, this soil makes up most of the city’s top layer below the surface. It makes underground construction very risky, and hence, above ground construction qualifies as the most geo-efficient form of construction. Elevated parking lots counter this land composition issue in cities like Bangkok that face recurrent floods due to heavy rainfall.
2. Space Crunch
Public on-street parking takes up unnecessary ground level space, whereas multi-level off-street parking in Bangkok features vertical lots that do not take up horizontal space. When cars are parked in such lots, they free up street space for pedestrians and motorists. In this way, Bangkok ends up saving a lot of space with automated parking lots.
3. Traffic Congestion
With rising population and insufficient public transport, it’s no surprise that many people are using personal cars as modes of travel for comfort and convenience. However, using personal cars in crowded areas can be problematic due to traffic congestion and space crunch. Bangkok has adopted above ground level parking to resolve this through parking guidance systems that display spot availability on signboards outside the lot. In addition, it will decongest vehicular movement at the entrance and exit of the lot.
4. Weak On-street Parking Management
Parking congestion stems from weak on-street parking management, which obstructs traffic movement and leads to motorists mistaking sub-optimal utilization for parking shortage. There may be spots available at unreachable locations like the middle of lot surrounded by poorly parked cars. In this way, multi-level car parking in Bangkok strengthens on-street parking management due to its vertical stacking system.
5. Solving Parking Woes with Technology
Elevated parking infrastructure along with automated parking guidance systems are a significant step towards a less congested parking experience. The sensor-assisted parking lots give enhanced space availability utilization with accurate navigation to the motorists. Mechanical lifting and traversing of vehicles within these parking lots saves time and human energy required in manual parking.
6. Towards Sustainable Development
However, considering that parts of Bangkok are more than 5 feet below sea level, it presents alarming fears like the city may be submerged by 2100. Mindful development of above ground level structures in South Asian countries is proving to be an anchor in the event of natural blows like floods, earthquake, and storms. Car parking is thus becoming more efficient in the wake of technological advancements that assist human convenience while providing environmentally sustainable measures.