How Our Cars are Outgrowing the Traditional Parking Space

With our cars becoming so much wider and larger than they were 50 years ago, and the standard size of a typical parking space not really changing, is it time for our car parks to be overhauled and designed differently? With family cars and 4 x 4’s becoming more and more norm, we have all most likely been there, squeezing yourself into (and out of!) what seems like the only tiny space left, in a packed car park. It is not the easiest or most comfortable thing to do and it is only getting worse as cars continue to grow to suit our needs. According to Accident Exchange, a courtesy-car firm, there are now almost 2,000 parking prangs a day, costing us British motorists £1.4 billion in the past 12 months, representing 30.85 per cent of claims recorded by the company. National Car Parks (NCP) has widened some bays in London and other cities to deal with increasingly large cars and it is looking to widen others 'wherever possible'. It is inevitable that people will complain if the car park is continually full so town planning going forward is only going to become more complicated. In the UK, for the record, a standard parking space is 15.7ft (4.8m) in length, by 7.8ft (2.4m) in width. But cars such as the Audi Q7, Land Rover Discovery, BMW X5 and the Mercedes GL-Class are all longer than 4.8m. There are also lots of smaller models which have increased in size. There is perhaps one saving grace of this problem, and that is the rise of the self-driving car. These will. in fact, reduce the space required for parking even further, especially if there is a sharing scheme in place.

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