Tuesday, April 25, 2023
Because, have you ever thought that a parking lot could be sustainable? Perhaps not; you may have taken it for granted that we are talking about a mere facility dominated by columns, concrete ground and of little relevance. However, parking lots can be sustainable. Here are some examples.
Many people might think that park-and-ride facilities, far from reducing emissions, actually increase them, since it means moving away from the place where parking was intended, usually in the central area of a city. However, experience tells us that parking in the center is not exactly sustainable; not only because you produce emissions where most people are concentrated, but also because there is usually no parking and you have to drive around several times to find a parking space. For all these reasons, park-and-ride facilities are a sustainable alternative. If used, they will provide a more direct route and reduce potential emissions in central areas. Not to mention that, during the walk or public transport journey to the place you are going to, you will pollute less, or not at all. This is the most widely used alternative so far: Madrid, for example, already has several park-and-ride sites, something that also occurs (on a smaller scale) in smaller municipalities such as Sant Joan Despí or Castelldefels, in Catalonia. The boom is such that public administrations such as the Junta de Andalucía include guidelines for the installation of this type of parking lots.
Multi-level and modular parking lots
A park-and-ride may pollute less, but it is true that its mere construction will generate emissions, in addition to taking up space that could be used for another infrastructure. For this reason, multi-level parking garages are an alternative, since construction will always be vertical, eliminating the need to occupy new land. In addition, the modular units allow the space to be readapted to suit the needs of the moment, so they will be multipurpose. An example of this is the Basque company Anrotech, which has been developing multi-level and modular parking facilities since 2016 at sites such as the Doce de Octubre Hospital or the Garbera shopping center in San Sebastian.
Parking lots with EV charging stations
The advantages speak for themselves. Those parking lots that have a connection for recharging electric vehicle batteries will almost completely reduce the emissions generated. In addition, a no less important detail: by expanding the electric charging fleet, they will continue to give impetus to a form of mobility whose greatest obstacle is precisely access to parking lots with electric chargers. It goes without saying that if, in addition, it has areas where non-electric zero-emission vehicles (bicycles and non-motorized scooters) can be parked, the reduction will be even greater. There are already parking lots with charging stations in much of Spain: in fact, companies such as elparking help users find the one closest to their home or workplace.
In this section we can also mention photovoltaic parking lots, that is those with solar panels integrated into the roofs. In addition to generating renewable energy such as solar, which can also be used for self-consumption, they protect the cars from the sun's rays. These parking lots can be found at Seville airport, at the San José Caves in Vall D'Uixo-Castellón, or at the Walqa Technology Park in Huesca.
Shared car parking
Carsharing has long been strong in our country, either in its traditional version (hourly car rental for a single person / family) or in the more modern (car in which several people who do not know each other share the journey and expenses). The existence of parking facilities for this type of vehicle, by itself, does not reduce emissions (the infrastructure can be identical to that of any other parking lot), but it will if we take into account that, with the existence of these facilities, the use of private cars will be reduced. Carsharing parking lots can be seen near the major transportation infrastructures of large cities: in Madrid, for example, the area around Ifema has numerous spaces dedicated to this type of parking.
Smart cities: intelligent parking, traffic forecasting...
Smart cities, in themselves, already have as one of their primary objectives to reduce emissions in public and private transportation. And even more so when they have intelligent parking lots, which can introduce innovations such as automatic space reservation or occupancy forecasts, which will ensure that no vehicle makes the journey in vain (polluting along the way), but instead drives to them knowing that it will be able to have a space. Onda (Castellón) and Rubí (Barcelona) are already familiar with this type of parking lots.
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