Unexpectedly Intriguing!
December 14, 2009

Parallel Parking Steps 1-5 (Source: California DOT) Perhaps nothing inspires more dread during the busy shopping season than the prospect of having to perform the most difficult maneuver most people might face while driving: parallel parking.

Data for Your Car and Parallel Parking Situation
Input Data Values
Total Overall Length of Your Car
Distance Between the Centers of the Front and Rear wheels (Wheel Base)
Distance from the Center of the Front Wheel to the Front of Your Car
Radius of Your Car's Curb-to-Curb Turning Circle (Turning Radius)
Width of the the Parked Car Next to Your Car


Minimum Length of Space You Need to Successfully Parallel Park
Calculated Results Values
How Much More Space Than the Length of Your Car You Need to Successfully Park
Minimum Length of Space You Need to Successfully Parallel Park
Fortunately for readers of Political Calculations, we now have the tool you need to decide if you should even attempt to squeeze your car into that tiny space between those two big cars parked alongside the road. The tool below was developed by Simon Blackburn of the University of London (HT: PhysOrg, who was commissioned by Vauxhall Motors to write The Geometry of Perfect Parking, which provides the mathematical formula we need to determine how big that parking space needs to be for your car!

The rest is just a matter of entering your car's and your parking situation's relevant information into our tool. The default data is that for a Corvette C5 (we can dream, can't we?!), with several of the dimensions entered in units of inches, which we've divided by 12 in the input fields below to convert into feet. We did make one assumption since we didn't have the specific data: that the distance from the nose of the car to the center of the front wheels is half the difference of the car's overall length and its wheel base.

And now that we've developed and presented this tool for your use, let us reassure you that we have absolutely no interest in discussing the subject of parallel parking, or the parking of vehicles any kind, any further. Interestingly, we note that Professor Blackburn also strongly affirms that he has little interest in discussing the subject given his greater interest in more challenging fields of mathematics, and he also notes that Rebecca Hoyle of the University of Surrey, perhaps the only other person in the world to have done similar math, isn't interested in parking as a research topic either.

It seems that aspect of parallel parking has similar rules to those of Fight Club.

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