Minnesota Truck Parking Assessment System

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The Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota published its final report on truck parking availability systems in January 2017.

Truck Parking Background

Truck parking can become a major safety concern when the driver lacks timely information on where there is available parking. Without this information, the driver is forced to decide between either continuing to drive fatigued to search for available parking or to park illegally (i.e., on highway shoulders and ramps). Either situation poses a serious safety concern.

Truck Parking Study Assessment

This study focused on developing and testing a novel comprehensive Truck Parking Availability System (TPAS) along the Interstate-94 corridor in Minnesota.

In the study, three information delivery mechanisms were tested extensively through a concept of operations field test: 1) a commercial operator accessible web parking information portal, 2) an in-cab geolocation application that integrated within an existing on-board logistics device to support driver and carrier trip operations, and 3) roadside electronic message signs.

The team developed and deployed a multi-camera based per-stall truck parking detection system to allow around-the-clock, continuous parking detection at three state-sponsored truck parking facilities. The facilities have been in continuous operation, providing parking detection data for between 1.3 and 2.7 years, thus demonstrating overall operational efficacy across seasonal and weather variations in Minnesota.

Truck Parking Study Conclusions

The primary objective of this research project was to develop, test and demonstrate a comprehensive ITS approach to deliver truck parking information to drivers and carriers.

From the continuous operation of TPAS, it is evident that persistent parking detection over a variety of time periods and environmental conditions is achievable.

A concept of operations test evaluation indicated that drivers and operators who used the system during the test period could improve their productivity and better comply with federal HOS regulations for their long-haul trips.

Results of comparative participant/non-participant usability assessments with in-cab notifications supported a clear impact in driver and carrier attitudes and perceptions for utilizing TPAS notifications to more efficiently plan and complete long-haul trips.

Specifically, an increase of over 30 percent of drivers indicated significant impact for helping them comply with HOS regulations, and similarly an increase of 60 percent indicated it “significantly” helped them with their ability to find parking during their trips. More than half of all users traveling along the corridor (drivers and operators) indicated “positive” or “very positive” impacts of TPAS on their productivity.

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