Parking areas are an essential component of commercial buildings. Without a proper parking area, people will face difficulty entering the area. In the best-case scenario, they may choose to go elsewhere to shop where they find a better parking area.

The UAE government has made some policies to overcome this issue. These policies ensure ‌commercial buildings provide adequate space for parking.

What is a Retail Parking Ratio?

The retail parking ratio is a mathematical figure with the help of which you can compare the commercial building size and the number of parking spaces it must have. For the commercial or retail buildings, you can also use several places for the parking area in the building.

Sometimes, unique buildings have a minimum exit point. Therefore, parking design varies from building to building.

What is the Standard Calculation for Parking Ratio?

Let’s move on to the actual calculations for parking demand. There are several ways of doing this calculation. You can calculate the parking for a commercial building by dividing the total square feet of an area by one thousand square feet.

The division by one thousand is essential because the final ratio that will come out after calculation will be the number of parking spaces in the commercial building per thousand square feet. In this way, you will get the correct ratio for commercial parking.

Example For Parking Ratio

To explain the parking ratio, you can understand it better through an example. Here you can take the commercial area of 40,000 square feet. To get the parking ratio, you need to divide it by 1000 square feet. The ultimate value you will get is 40.

 Suppose you want the parking space for eighty cars. For illustration, divide it by 40. The last value that you will get will be 2. It will give you two parking spaces per every thousand square feet in the building.

Methods for the Calculation of Parking Demand in Abu Dhabi

In the United Arab Emirates, you can observe a keen transformation over the last few decades. The government has made changes for economic and social betterment. With the growth in these departments, ‌parking space has become a significant problem for residential and commercial areas.

In Abu Dhabi, in 2009, the Department of Transport ran a land-use survey in 46 sectors to observe the parking problem. Once the department had completed the study, the report revealed that some areas have much higher parking demand.

You can take this survey as the basis of calculation for the parking issue. This survey also helps to increase the parking supply for commercial buildings.

Method 1. Parking Survey Data

Parking survey data is one of the well-known methods used to calculate parking issues. This survey ran in the 46 sectors of Abu Dhabi to estimate the parking demand. This survey gives you data on parked vehicles at different times of the day. It shows the utilization of parking spaces available. Also, it reveals the actual demand for more parking spaces.

Method 2. Land Use Based Parking Demand Calculations

The Department of Transport (DoT) in Abu Dhabi uses this method to check land and estimate parking demand. The technique requires land-use input values: parking rates and land utilization.

Explained Method For Parking Demand Calculation

For the deep analysis of parking demand, there are a couple of factors to consider:

  • D shows the demand for cars per day
  • R indicates the number of vehicles per parking space
  • The B1 is the area you need to construct, while B shows the site for the building you measured before. This area serves several activities. If this area is a commercial building, it will attract 10 people per day per employee.

Similarly, if you are constructing a commercial building, you need to consider G’s growth factor regarding time. Growth factor G will measure the traffic rate per year in Abu Dhabi, where you are considering developing a building.

For example, you are constructing a commercial building; you don’t have any other buildings around it yet. Suppose you estimate that adjacent buildings around you will be residential and your facility will be for commercial purposes. You are considering constructing it so that your establishment will‌ compensate for the parking demand of adjacent buildings.

For that instance, you need to look at the growth rate of the population in the future. Also, estimate the present population and the number of homes with vehicle facilities in that area.

After all the calculations and estimations, the calculation for parking demand will be

CPD = D/R * B1/B * (1 + G) Years

The number of years you will use in the formula will depict the time required to construct the building.

For more accuracy in parking space management, you can use the software. The software will give you a clear idea of barrier placement for uniform queues in parking lots. The barrier should not split into the public area and adjacent roads near the parking lot.

You need to make parking spaces for each type of car and different car sizes. Similarly, the formula should fulfil the parking requirement for each type of car to avoid the after-construction mess.

Also, parking space means that each type of car has enough space to turn to each corner of the vehicle with zero difficulties.

The Example Of Formula For Parking Demand Calculation

Now let’s see the formula through an example.

The formula for parking demand calculates the parking space number into the average time a car rests in the parking lot.

If the parking space is full with four cars during peak time, you have 150 spaces for that instance. The parking supply you provide is for 600 cars in peak time. Similarly, if you estimate the parking time of each car, it will be around twenty minutes in the lot.

For instance, if you take the traffic growth rate of Abu Dhabi to 2% in a year. It will give you an estimated traffic growth rate. In the same vein, if you want to calculate the traffic growth rate for the next twenty years of Abu Dhabi.

The formula will be like

(1 + 0.02 )^20 = 1.49

For the next twenty years, you can expect 350 cars during the peak hour into 1.5, which is the round figure of 1.49 from the above calculation

The resulted calculation will be

350 * 1.5 = 525 cars.

The demand-to-supply ratio is 525 / 600 cars in parking spaces available during peak time. The ratio is 0.8, which is adequate for the parking lot.

The above-stated points are for a long-term integrated approach to the parking problems.

Other Workable Solutions To Compensate The Parking Demand In Dubai And Abu Dhabi

As a tourist hub, the growth and development are quick in the United Arab Emirates areas. Therefore, city developers need to take an alternative approach to the upcoming parking problem and provide long-term solutions.

Meeting The Parking Demand

People often ask the MAWAQIF to complete the parking demand, especially during peak hours in commercial centers. But according to MAWAQIF, increasing the parking supply will not resolve the issue completely. They have to observe the certain factors which will increase the parking demand in these locations.

●     Effective Use Of Existing Parkings

Sometimes the parking shortage happens because of the lack of information about the right parking space in the commercial center in Abu Dhabi. MAWAQIF made it easy to display the direction of parking space areas through brochures and other sign elements. It will lessen the headache of motorists in finding the right space for parking.

●     Remote Parking Services

This service effectively overcomes the parking shortage in commercial centers in Abu Dhabi. This service may involve the free transit zone and shuttle services, but it may not become as effective for residents and motorists as it may sound.

●     Semi-Automated Parking System

A semi-automated parking system is another method to increase parking space in commercial buildings. It expands the existing parking garage. With its help, you can use other spaces other than ground spaces for parking. It can also resolve your parking space issue to a great extent.

●     Parking Regulations

To control the parking problem around the commercial building, MAWAQIF considered the parking time for each vehicle in the commercial center. They define the time limit for each shopper as about two hours. It’s an effective approach to effective parking management.


The effective calculation of parking demand in retail buildings during construction will not only lessen the parking problem in the future. But it also saves a lot of time. The government of the United Arab Emirates is still working on effective parking management to meet the demand.

They use several strategies to overcome this problem. Also, they enhance the utilization of ‌parking spaces near commercial buildings. Further, MAWAQIF and other management authorities are working together to find an efficient solution.