Eight Surprising Facts About Parking

Fun facts, world records and trivia from the parking industry

From shocking statistics and world records to firsts and unusual stories, the parking world is full of fun facts and interesting trivia. Here are just eight of our favorites:

1.      The Average Car Spends 95% of Its Time Parked

Aerial view of cars parked in bays in a lot

According to research conducted by Go City Wide, 95% of a car’s lifetime is spent being parked. So is it any wonder that parking is such a big business with so much technology behind it?

2.      People Spend 17 Hours a Year Looking for a Parking Space

Sand timer on an empty road

Not only does a person spend an average of 17 hours a year looking for a parking space, but it is also estimated that parking search traffic accounts for one-third of inner-city traffic, creating 1.3kg of CO2 emissions per search.

The fact that the average person spends almost an entire day of the year simply looking for parking space, whilst generating so many harmful emissions, proves that municipalities and parking operators need to invest in smart parking technology.

3.      ‍68% Of Land in Cities Is Devoted to Parking Spaces

Aerial view of a parking lot

In residential areas, an average of 35% of land is used for parking lots whilst in urban cities and non-residential areas between 50 and 70% of the land is dedicated to parking. In fact, in the US there are 8 parking spaces for every car. According to Bloomberg, the United States has over 2 billion parking spots for about 250 million cars. That’s way more parking spaces than are needed to cover demand.

This oversupply of parking spaces is in part down to parking minimum regulations that enforce a minimum amount of parking spaces for every square meter of a building. By tackling these minimums and investing in innovative parking solutions to optimize available parking spaces, a huge amount of land could be utilized for different purposes.

4.      The World’s Largest Parking Complex

West Edmonton Mall entrance

West Edmonton Mall, the largest shopping center in North America, is home to the largest parking lot in the world. The parking complex can house a whopping 20,000 cars whilst an adjoining lot can hold 10,000 malls.

Meanwhile, the largest underground car park, containing 6,652 parking spaces over three levels, is located at the LIVAT Shopping Center in Daxing, Beijing. And Kuwait boasts the largest automated parking facility, with space for 2,314 cars.

5.      The World’s First Multistory Parking Garage

Street Sign saying Denman Street City of Westminster

From largest to firsts, the first known multistory car park was opened at 6 Denman Street in central London in 1901. The facility had space for 100 vehicles spread over seven floors. One thing is for certain, parking garages are now able to make much better use of the space available to them!

6.      The World’s First Parking Meter

On-Street Parking Meter

The first ever parking meter in the world, the Park-O-Meter No. 1, was installed in Oklahoma on the 16th of July 1935. Carlton Cole Magee, Chairman of the Traffic Committee in Oklahoma City, is credited with its invention. The mechanical clock, which was attached to a pillar, counted down the remaining time after a coin was inserted and first charged $0,05 per hour.

7.      The World’s Loneliest Parking Meter

Red, white and blue fireworks

With a population of 7,000 people, Winters, California, is home to just one parking meter, surrounded by 100 free parking spaces. Dubbed “the lonely parking meter” it is thought to have been installed as an April Fool’s prank in response to challenges finding available parking.

Whilst parking remains unenforced in Winters, the meter generates $100 per year from unsuspecting visitors or residents wanting to show children how an old-fashioned parking meter works. The revenues generated are used for the Independence Day fireworks, making the lonely meter a dearly beloved town feature.  

8.      40% of All Car Accidents Causing Physical Damage Occur Whilst Parking

Hand touches damage to the rear wheel trim of a blue car

A study shared by Mercedes-Benz found that 40% of all car accidents that result in physical damage take place during maneuvering and parking. And, research by Allianz found that 8 out of every 10 of these accidents take place when people are leaving their parking space or maneuvering.

Such statistics highlight the importance of creating a well-designed parking lot, with the necessary protection products and surveillance technology.