Ten motorcycles per car parking space?

Small motorcycles and scooters can be amazingly space efficient to park. Up to 10 small motorcycles can be parked in one car parking space. 

I wrote about this in May 2010 on Reinventing Urban Transport in a post titled: Motorcycles squeeze into urban nooks and crannies

Here is an edited version of that post. 

Parking on the door-step (literally) in Hanoi

The space efficiency of motorcycles is important for many Asian cities.

Traffic engineers usually assume that motorcycles consume about half the road space of a car. In other words, two-wheelers' PCU value is typically given as 0.5 'passenger car units' in heavy traffic.

But motorcycle parking can usually squeeze in many more than two machines per car space.

These Taipei scooters may be an extreme case. How do they get them in and out?

For the Asian cities parking study (carried out in late 2009 and early 2010 but not yet published), we found motorcycle parking space norms of up to 10 two-wheelers per car space.
Singapore’s parking standards specify perpendicular car slot dimensions and its minimum and preferred size for motorcycle slots. Together these suggest that between 4.6 and 6 motorcycle spaces take the same area as a car space (Land Transport Authority 2005). In India, motorcycle spaces are assumed to take 0.16 of an equivalent car space, suggesting a little over 6 two-wheelers per car space (CSE India 2009). Viet Nam’s parking standards suggest a standard area of 25 m2 per car and 2.5 to 3.0 m2 per motorcycle, or about 8 to 10 motorcycle spaces per car space (Vietnam Ministry of Construction 2004).

The other extreme is one motorcycle per car parking space. Vancouver bikers did this recently when they protested the lack of designated parking for their machines by taking entire parking spaces, and paying for them. [Update: here is a more in-depth account of the Vancouver protest.]
Image credit: Bobskoot's blog.

By the way, the space taken by moving motorcycles also depends on the situation. A recent UK study "suggested that the slower the traffic, the lower the PCU value for motorcycles. In fast traffic they are hardly more space-efficient than cars. The study found "the PCUs of motorcycles in congested flow to be 0.40, 0.55 and 0.75 when the speeds of passenger cars are ranging from 10 to 20, 20 to 30, and 30 to 40 km/hr respectively." Presumably lower PCU values at low speeds reflects the ability of two-wheelers to lane-split and make their way through stalled queues of larger vehicles - a common sight in Southeast Asian cities.


  1. IN the Philippines, protest from bikers could be a different thing. Normally, they do noise barrage :)

    nice blog here.. i have been planning to put up a transport related blog but haven't had the time to start it out.

  2. In Thailand I'm always amazed by the Harley Davidson bikers. They almost always park at 90 degrees to the kerb and the length of a HD is more then the width of an average car so the HD's butts poke out into the middle of the street. Dangerous or not? Smaller bike owners in narrow streets park at around 45-60 degrees to the kerb getting almost the same number of bikes in a space (compared to 90 degree parking) but without the dangerous butt sticking out. I'm of the opinion the the HD owners want their bikes damaged so they can spend the insurance money on something decent (e.g. Honda) rather than noisy crappy HDs.


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