Science & Tech

Students tackle Harvard Square parking problems

1 min read

Recommend robotic garages

A group of students who studied parking problems in Harvard Square issued wide-ranging recommendations, including installing wireless access-control gates at the more than 50 lots across the University, increasing parking fees in Cambridge coupled with increased enforcement of permits, establishing satellite parking lots and shuttles to encourage people to park there, and installing robotic – instead of conventional – garages in new construction projects. The robotic garages were perhaps the students’ most interesting proposal. The robotic garages, though little used in the United States, are everyday technology in many other countries, with thousands in use in Asia and Europe. The garages are not cheap, but might make sense when compared with the cost of building conventional underground garages, which run about $60,000 per space. The students estimated that the automated garages might be able to save the University thousands of dollars per space, which, if garages for hundreds or thousands of cars were built, could add up to real savings. “It costs an incredible amount of money to dig a pit in the ground, cover it with concrete, and make a garage,” said one student, Benjamin Yolken.