Healthcare facilities need to provide a sufficient number of parking spaces for patients, staff, service traffic, and the public. At a minimum, parking standards or requirements developed by local authorities having jurisdiction should be consulted since these will reflect the availability of public transportation, public parking facilities, or other alternatives. This article provides some general rules-of-thumb for estimating the number of parking spaces for patients being admitted/discharged, visitors to inpatient nursing units, hospital staff, outpatients, and emergency patients and their escorts.
Generally, the peak parking demand for acute care hospitals and outpatient facilities occurs weekdays during the day shift. This is when the demands of the peak shift staffing and outpatient traffic coincide. Inpatients being admitted or discharged ― along with their escorts ― will also be greatest during the day shift. Separate space is needed for service vehicles who tend to access the hospital site during the weekday business hours as well. A formal parking or site traffic study may be necessary to ensure that there is adequate parking, particularly during peak periods ― with the highest demand generally between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Some general rules-of-thumb to estimate the number of parking spaces required for various types of parking are as follows:
Inpatient admissions/discharges — one space per each five hospital beds — this generally accommodates inpatients being admitted/discharged (with their escorts) for an acute care hospital with a four day average length of stay at 85% occupancy; inpatient facilities with longer lengths of stay would require less parking spaces.
Visitors to inpatient nursing units — a maximum of one space per bed — this will depend greatly on the community, both in terms of the number of visitors per inpatient and daily visiting patterns (daytime versus evening), and will also depend on hospital visitation policies.
Hospital staff (including physicians) — up to one space per each day shift employee — this should be considered the maximum and would be reduced by the availability of public transportation, offsite parking due to a constrained site, or other staff incentives to minimize onsite parking.
Outpatients — up to three spaces per exam/procedure room — maximum demand assumes that each exam/procedure room is occupied by a patient with one patient waiting and another patient leaving (including their escorts).
Emergency patients — one space per each four average daily ED visits — assumes that up to 75 percent of the average daily visits occur during the peak eight-hour shift with an average turnover of about three hours.
This article is an update of a previous post.