From horizontally moving to high-speed cars, there are many breakthroughs in elevator service that PA and other areas could benefit from to make travel easier and more efficient. Both are goals of a pioneering new elevator development — though the passengers may be a bit unexpected.
Japanese construction company Gilken has developed a project called ECO Park, a fully automated underground parking garage that utilizes elevators to transport and store cars. The company has launched four ECO Parks in Japan and is planning to set its sights on the United States.
How Does ECO Park Work?
ECO Park functions similarly to a standard elevator — just with a few unique innovations. Customers pull their car into the vehicle-sized elevator on the garage’s first floor and exit, as the car is whisked downward and pulled into an empty spot in the tiered structure. Drivers are given a magnetic card when checking in a vehicle, and the unique codes on the card allow them to retrieve their cars when they’re ready to exit the garage.
Pros of ECO Park
ECO Park is designed with land efficiency in mind. On average, cars sit parked for about 23 hours a day. With cities becoming more crowded by the day, and land sorely needed for new development and freer pedestrian travel, parked vehicles are consuming precious real estate.
Space optimization is also key. The typical ECO Park takes up about six square meters, yet fits the same number of cars as a traditional 10 square-meter underground garage. While it saves space, ECO Park also saves time: It only takes about 25 seconds for a driver to retrieve his or her car and be back on the road.
Cons of ECO Park
Unsurprisingly, one of the biggest challenges to ECO Park going global is cost. Each garage costs about $4 million to construct and takes more than four months to make, figures that might sway garage designers against this type of model.
Since it is an automated system, ECO Park is also dependent upon electricity; in the event of a power outage, the system will be frozen. However, ECO Park is equipped with ample safety measures, such as a sensor that detects human activity in the elevators, which will prevent movement.
As technology advance around the globe, exciting innovations in elevator service in PA and beyond will continue to rise to new heights.