Iowa DOT debuts I-80 truck parking information system

Iowa DOT just announced that the state will begin implementing infrastructure and smart technology that will allow truck drivers to make safer parking decisions along Interstate 80.

Truck parking information management system

The state is creating a truck parking information management system that will allow drivers to more accurately plan their trip and easily be able to tell where there is safe truck parking.The truck parking information management system will provide truck drivers with real-time parking availability at rest stops and truck stops along I-80 in Iowa. This system plans to be fully operational by January 4, 2019, according to the press release.

Phil Mescher, an Iowa DOT transportation planner, said, “We are committed to providing the means for safe, efficient, and convenient travel throughout the state. Having this system in place will help truck drivers better manage their hours of service and provide a safer, more efficient travel experience for motorists along I-80.

Availability and awareness of available truck parking is an ongoing national highway safety concern, which our system will address head-on.

Truck parking will be assessed by in-pavement and entrance/exit ramp sensors in order to calculate the number of vacant parking spots and number of trucks at any given stop.

The parking information system will be available through Iowa’s 511 Traveler Information System, as well as through existing and future in-cab routing systems and a hands-free Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) compliant mobile app.

This idea came about as a part of Mid America Association of State Transportation Officials’ efforts to make roads safer for truck drivers. This project is a part of a $25 million federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant awarded to eight partnering states: Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Each state awarded the grant is responsible for constructing their own parking management system; however, in the future, it is the hope that all the parking systems will be able to link together to make one regional system.

No Parking Here

Within the trucking industry, safe and reliable truck parking is a big issue. There have been countless instances where a truck driver has found him/herself in terrible situations because of the nationwide lack of truck parking.

For example, just last month, a truck driver was stabbed at a Hesperia truck stop over an argument with another driver over parking. The victim was found bleeding on the ground when paramedics arrived and had to be rushed to the nearest hospital. The man that stabbed him is currently being held in jail on a $50,000 bail.

Further, Oregon State University recently studied the high economic cost of having too few safe places for commercial truck drivers to park and rest along Highway 97 through central Oregon.

Salvador Hernandez, a transportation safety and logistics researcher at Oregon State, said, “Current crash data collection forms don’t have an explicit section for truck-parking-related crashes, but we can operate under the assumption that specific types of at-fault truck crashes, such as those due to fatigue, may be the result of inadequate parking.”

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