We have talked about the commercial truck parking problem before: how drivers can spend almost an hour a day looking for legal parking; how some drivers opt for unsafe, illegal parking; how there are significantly more trucks on the road than spaces to put them at a rate of about six to one. While governments, state and national, are slow to solve the problem, it seems some private companies are taking steps to mitigate the trouble. Most notably, ITR Concession Company (ITRCC) with their toll road in Indiana.
Using a system of sensors and cameras, ITRCC can track which spots at its rest stops are occupied or open along the approximately 156-mile stretch of highway. ITRCC has installed “smart signs” that dynamically update the number of available parking spots for each location listed on the signs as drivers pass them.
While it is but a band-aid on the greater problem of truck parking, being able to inform drivers of any open spots to reduce the amount of time they spend searching is still an admirable goal that should turn some heads in the industry.
“Our goal is to give commercial drivers the opportunity to plan their trips more accurately,” said Rick Fedder, ITRCC’s COO. “The information will assist in reducing congestion at our parking facilities while also empowering drivers to make quality choices about when, and where, they choose to rest.”
While the idea of being able to track the number of free parking spaces is nothing new (it is commonly found at colleges and amusement parks), this is the first time we have seen it directly applied to the commercial trucking industry in such a sophisticated manner. Hopefully, governments and their various departments of transportation can implement similar systems at public rest stops as well. While not as effective as outright building new parking, it is a quick and cost-effective method at relieving the strained pressure drivers endure almost every day in finding a place to park for rest, all while not requiring the allocation of additional land.
It is certainly a better step forward than what Minneapolis’ city council implemented.
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