Concrete Pavements for Car Parking – Features and Design Considerations

Concrete pavements for car parking are constructed as on-grade structures which are not subjected to heavy traffic and movement as compared to highway concrete pavements. They provide access to both heavy and light delivery vehicles. Concrete pavements as car parking slots offer superior performance when compared with other pavement types

The main features and design considerations of concrete car parking slots are briefly described in the article.

Features of Concrete Pavements as Car Parking Slots

Concrete Pavement for Car Parking
Fig.1.Concrete Pavement for Car Parking; Image Courtesy: www.concreteparking.org

Concrete pavements form a hard surface which protects the soil underneath the pavement from high design loads. When compared with asphalt pavements, concrete pavement as parking slots offer high stiffness. Also, the load coming over concrete pavement is distributed over a large area of subgrade, thus avoiding chances of settlement.

The size of concrete pavement for car parking can vary from small to large depending on whether the slot is for small multiple housing projects or for large shopping centers. These parking pavements are less deformed and demand less maintenance compared to other parking slot types. This pavement type is easily installed and also offers long term strength and durability.

Design Consideration for Concrete Pavements as Parking lots

An economical and straight forward design is followed for constructing concrete pavements as a car parking facility. ACI 330R-80- (Guide for Design and Construction of Concrete Parking Lots) follows the design of concrete parking lot as per Portland cement association’s thickness design method.Knowing the value of subgrade reaction (k), expected vehicle loads and number of load repetitions for 20-year pavement life, the design thickness can be determined from the nomograph given in ACI 330-01.

The thickness method is an empirical method ( AASHTO Design Method) used to design highway pavements. As concrete pavements used for parking lots are not subjected to high dynamic forces and loads as in highway pavement, the design load conditions are reduced accordingly and designed.

Some of the considerations for the design of concrete parking lots are:

  1. Concrete parking lots are not just concrete pavement. It must incorporate slabs, joints, drainage facilities, and light poles. All the elements must go together.
  2. Concrete parking lots are constructed directly on the existing soil grade instead of a subgrade that is compressed. The only requirement is to place on a subgrade that is compacted and leveled in order to prevent cracks and sinking.
  3. A thickness of 4 inches is suitable for concrete parking lots that carry light vehicles. For carrying bigger and heavier vehicles, the thickness of the concrete pavement can be 5 to 6 inches. The thickness varies based on the number of load repetitions, the weight of vehicles and the condition of subgrade.
  4. The slope is provided for concrete pavements to facilitate proper drainage. The minimum value of which is 1/8 inch per foot, 1/4 inch per foot and maximum can be 6%.
  5. Entrances of parking lots can have a slope of not greater than 8%.
  6. Joints are properly planned and provided for concrete pavements to avoid future cracks and repairs.

Benefits of Concrete Pavements as Car Parking Slots

The main benefits of concrete pavement car parking lots are:

  1. Simple Maintentance requirements for concrete pavement.
  2. Good drainage property even on flat slopes.
  3. Good resistance to deformation.
  4. Both the parking -stall and the traffic lane can be incorporated.
  5. Concrete pavement is less affected by the leaking oil and petroleum products from the vehicle.
  6. Concrete pavement is less susceptible to rutting and potholes under heavy load.
  7. Concrete parking lots can be given any color.
  8. Concrete parking is less heated up and less toxic. It can be constructed by using recycled construction materials like slags, recycled concrete aggregates, etc which hence make this a green and economic construction.

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