A fascinating article on MotherJones.com points out that there are about a quarter of a billion cars and light vans in the USA and about one billion parking spaces to cater for all those vehicles.
Applying the same ratio for Ireland (with about 2.5 million cars) indicates that there are about ten million spaces here. Ten million spaces takes up a lot of space in a small country - approximately 110 square kilometres in fact or an area the same size as Dublin City. That’s a lot of space and a lot of space which is vacant most of the time.
It also represents a real cost to society – just look at your local shopping centre, the space allocated to parking is probably at least the same size as the space allocated to the retail units themselves.
Or you may work in an office building with underground carpark – a carpark which is empty at night and at the weekend. Or perhaps you live in an apartment block with underground car parking? Could that space be used more effectively?
With driverless cars coming err… down the road and other developments including Uber and Lyft, many countries – including Ireland – may find that we have drastically over engineered the amount of parking space needed in the future.
Uber announced last year that its drivers are making in excess of one million trips a day – could the millennial generation decide that they no longer need a car and definitely don’t want to tie up significant capital in buying and a maintaining a vehicle (and taxing and insuring it)?
Services such as the Dublin City website showing available car spaces may become a curious anachronism for future generations who have either eschewed the car or use driverless cars which conveniently take themselves elsewhere to ‘lay up’ until needed again.