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CARMATRIX – A Parking Solution for Urban Living

Automated parking systems are on the rise, making it possible for city dwellers to have their cars—and park them too. Designed with space efficiency in mind and to allow high-density parking in urban residential buildings, automated parking systems can triple the capacity of traditional parking garages by “stacking” cars one on top of another. Many brands of automated parking systems exist, and they all eliminate the need for parking attendants or valets. One brand, called CARMATRIX, allows tenants to self-operate the system by activating a key pad with a code assigned to a designated parking space or swipe a preprogrammed card. When the system receives the signal from the access code or card, parking platforms—or parking stalls—move from side to side and up and down until the desired parking stall is at grade. When the stall is in place, a safety gate rises and tenants can then walk onto the parking stall to access their car. The entire process can take anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes depending on the location of a vehicle in the system.

It is important to keep in mind that vehicle height and weight limits do apply to the CARMATRIX system. Typically, a vehicle must be under 6 feet tall and weigh no more than 5,000 pounds, so if you own a sport utility vehicle, a midsized model is your best bet. The system can also detect the size of a vehicle and store it accordingly. A lighter vehicle may be stored on an upper level, while a heavier sedan may be stored at ground level. The CARMATRIX system is electric with chain-driven lifting and sliding mechanisms. No hydraulics or cables are used. Additionally, this system can be configured for specific buildings based on the type of building and its parking requirements.

In addition to saving space, CARMATRIX systems are more economical and end up costing less to build per parking space than traditional parking garages that typically require costly excavation for underground parking.

Also known as “robo parking,” these systems have been around for decades. But in contrast to earlier models that were manually operated, recent and modern systems are computerized and automated. In the past six years, BergerABAM has designed the structural framing and seismic anchorage for more than a dozen CARMATRIX systems in cities around the country, including Portland, Oregon; Arlington, Virginia; Boston, Massachusetts; and Los Angeles and San Francisco, California. For a demonstration of how the CARMATRIX system works, watch this video that features our client Harding Steel, who are experts in the parking lift industry and who have been manufacturing these systems since 1968.