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How to design a car park

Parking lot design: a guide with layouts and dimensions

Do you need to deliver a parking lot project? Here are some various design layouts and dimensions to consider and a DWG example ready for you to download

Car park design can be complex, having to take into account the average size of vehicles, the space needed for manoeuvring and the adapt building to host it. If you are tackling the difficult task to design of a car park, it is essential to:

  • use an architectural software to design forecourts, roads, flowerbeds, outdoor lighting, etc.
  • gather a range of information about dimensions and parameters to be respected for efficient design.

Here you can immediately download the car park project example (.edf, .ifc, dwg).

Which are the 4 most common types of parking

A car park is a specifically designed space for all the road users in the way that they can safely park their vehicles. Therefore, it’s a place, a space or an area dedicated to vehicle parking

Car parks can be considered as an integral part of the urban mobility system: the fluidity of circulation is heavily influenced by parking conditions.


Parking garages are also called car parks, parking structures, parking buildings, parking ramps, parkades or parking decks but the following represent the main differences. In rhis article we will cover 4 different types:

  • Single level parking: A single level parking garage is a parking garage that only has only one floor with manouvering carried out by the driver
  • Multilevel or multi-storey parking garage: Multilevel or multi-storey parking garages are parking garages that have multiple floors to park at. The design of a multilevel parking garage can be very different. The most common design is a garage with ramps to move from one level to another. Less common are parking garages that use lifts to go from level to level. Then there are also parking garages with robotic systems that move cars from one level to another. The floors of the parking garage can either go up, down or both
  • Automated parking garage: The car park operates as followed: You drive your car onto a platform in the garage. Then the automated parking system will move your car to the available parking space somewhere in the tower. The cars can be moved vertically and horizontally with the use of hydraulic or mechanical lifts. There are several benefits to a multilevel parking facility with an automated parking system. For example you can stack more cars in a compact space because the cars are parked by robots. Also parking spaces can be smaller because no one needs to get in or out of the vehicle and people don’t park it themselves; the robotic system doesn’t need as much space to park a car than a human does
  • Carports: Carports are usually located on people’s driveways next to their house. These carports are covered places where one or more cars can be stalled. They are private property that comes with the house. Car ports do not have four walls: Normally they only have one or two walls and sometimes they are attached to a wall of the house it belongs to. Car ports offer protection from bad weather conditions like rain and snow.

How to design a car park

Car parks are classified in relation to their architectural shape in:

  • Covered – located in closed areas or in the basement of a building hosting both cars and motorcycles. Enclosed car parks consist of several levels or floors and the passage from one level to another is ensured by ramps.
  • Outdoor  – external car parks have a single floor designed for vehicle parking and manouvering. One of the characteristics that must be addressed with attention is its integration with the surrounding environment and landscape.

Buildings used as car parks can also be sub-categorised in relationship to their shape and size:

  • Horizontal development (surface parking)
  • Vertical development (underground parking, in elevation or both).

The horizontal development car park is surely the cheapest both from the cost, build and maintenance point of view but loses its convenience from an area exploitation point of view.

On the contrary, vertical car parks allow for a greater use of the area:

  • Underground car parks have higher construction costs as they require excavation and waterproofing;
  • Vertical car parks, on the other hand, have the significant problem of having to fit into the urban context.

render of a multi-storey car park: vertical development| BibLus

Parking lot layout and dimensions

The basic sizing of spaces dedicated to vehicle parking must start from the overall average dimensions of a car and its necessary operative spaces.

  • In the European Union and Switzerland the average size of a parking space is about 5 m long by 2.50 m wide;
  • The United Kingdom is slightly smaller with a minimum of 2,40 x 4,80 metres.
  • In Canada, we have a minimum vehicle size parameter of 2,60 x 5,20 metres.
  • The United States have an average vehicle parameter size set to 18ft x 96inches (5,48 x 2,44 metres), even if there are variations in some states.

In Europe, Canada and in the United States, parking areas, auto-workshops or similar, lane widths range between 4,80 and 5,00 metres in those sections in front of the box or the parking space orthogonal to the lane, but good practice standards (given the tendency to increase the dimensions of vehicles) increase these dimensions by 0,50-1,00 metres.

Then we have the parking “tilt angle” in relation to the access lanes. In fact, we have:

  • 0° (parking in line, parallel to the lane direction) – the most widely used configuration in urban environments.


parallel parking

Download the “Line parking” scheme here – available in the DWG CAD file format

  • 90° (the perpendicular or “comb” layout – perpendicular to the access lanes) – most appropriate when there are two parking sides served by a central access lane. It is a convenient option when a two-way traffic is provided and there are two rows served by a single median lane, as it allows the best ratio of sqm/parking space.

Download the “Perpendicular” scheme here – available in the DWG CAD file format


30°- angle-scheme-parking


Download a  30° Angle Scheme layout in the DWG CAD file format


45°- angle-scheme-parking


60°- angle-scheme-parking

Download a 60° Angle Scheme layout in the DWG CAD file format

These distinctions implicate the possibility of varying the car park’s plan view in order to save space and optimise vehicle manaouvering.

Linear parking

A multy-storey car park: Les Yeux Verts

For implementing your car park project, you can get inspired by the model reproduced with Edificius for this article and based on a multy-storey car park realized in France, in Soissons, near the famous Abbey of Saint Jean-de-la-Vigne from the Jacques Ferrier Architectural firm.

The building can accomodate up to 600 car parking spots and develops across a surface of around 13.200m². It is composed of a concrete and galvanized steel structure and is lined in vertical spruce wood columns that, varied in angle and spacing, create a chain effect.

The architectural design software eabled us to perfectly recreate the multistorey car park with all its iconic details: the wooden façade with the eye-shaped openings and the roof gardens spreading over it.

You can try to achieve the same results by downloading the 3D model of the project and open it with the free trial version of Edificius.