Optimistic strategy? Using mathematical model, physicists resolve long-standing car parking puzzle

singapore car parking parking.sg
Terence Ong/Wikimedia Commons

Having a car is always the coolest thing, but sometimes when it comes to parking, it frustrates a person. Whenever you take your car outside, it tests your patience to find the right spot to park. On the other side, high prices for car parking irk many car owners, giving them a hard time to encounter these predicaments.

In earlier days, having a car was considered affluent and a dream for many but now, you will find at least one car parked in everyone's house. They became a part and parcel of our daily life. It is no more considered as a luxury but a necessity. Either to go shopping or attending a party – cars are the best choice.

The only two things that exasperate when it comes to cars are that first of all you can't jump into someplace with a car and then finding the right spot to park the car.

This is also the biggest challenge for the owners of restaurants, shopping malls and movie halls. Some might not have ample parking space to adjust while the others have space but they charge a hefty parking fee, where we end up with no option left but to 'pay to park'.

The 'lack of finding the right spot' to park the car and 'hefty car space charges' can sometimes spiral to a hissy fit at some parking spots.

To tackle this parking spot issue, a lot of research studies are being conducted. Finally, mathematics helped in finding a probable solution to the problems.

Paul Krapivsky at Boston University in Massachusetts and Sidney Redner at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico came up with certain strategies that could reconcile the car parking issue. The physicists have studied all the three strategies to find the better one that saves waiting time.

The "Optimistic strategy" says, the driver aims to reduce the walking time. They don't gamble in wasting their time looking for spacious spots at the lot but drive to the entrance gate. These people are optimistic people, where they always try to look for spots near the gateway which makes them easy to jump in and ride back faster.

The "Meek strategy" is very simple where the drivers try to deduce the hovering time searching for the spot, instead they pick the first available space.

The "Prudent strategy" is to encounter the middle spot between the two parked cars. They leave the entrances and the other aisle of the parking space and settle in the middle grounds, looking for proximate space between cars.

All the above three strategies look simple and effective. But the authors found that prudent strategy is the efficacious one out of the three strategies. It saves time for both walking and driving, which is a plus for the drivers.