Profile America: Automated Parking

Sunday, December 4 — Black Friday is behind us, but the holiday shopping season continues to build. People jamming the malls are rediscovering one of the travails of the season — finding a place to park. When the mall spaces are filled, many turn to commercial garages. One innovative solution opened this week in the nation’s capital in 1951. The Park-O-Mat garage was completely automated, and held 72 cars in 18 levels of space just 25 by 40 feet. Without entering customers’ cars, the attendant would use two elevators to park or retrieve the vehicles. This took less than a minute to accomplish. Today, in a nation with over 260 million motor vehicles, there are almost 12,600 parking facilities across the country, generating nearly $7.5 billion in revenue annually. 

Profile America is in its 20th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.

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