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A Comprehensive System for Assessing Truck Parking Availability

Ted Morris, Dan Murray, Kate Fender, Amanda Weber, Vassilios Morellas, Doug Cook, Nikolaos P. Papanikolopoulos
January 2017
Report no. CTS 17-02

Abstract

Commercial heavy vehicle (CHV) drivers are required under federal Hours of Services (HOS) rules to rest and take breaks to reduce driving while fatigued. CHV drivers and operators must balance compliance to the HOS rules against on-time delivery requirements as well as shorter lead times to plan their trips, thereby making location and parking availability of rest area facilities more critical. Without timely, accurate parking availability information, drivers are left with the dilemma of continuing to drive fatigued, drive beyond HOS CHV operation limits, or park illegally on highway shoulders or ramps—all potential safety hazards. In this study, a multi-view camera system was designed and evaluated to detect truck parking space occupancy in real-time through extensive field operational testing. A system architecture was then developed to disseminate up-to-the-minute truck parking information through three separate information delivery systems: 1) Roadside Changeable Message Signs (CMS), 2) Internet/Website information portal, and 3) an onboard geolocation application. The latter application informs the driver of parking availability of one or more parking facilities that are downstream from their current direction of travel. All three notification mechanisms were evaluated during the field test. Survey studies were conducted to provide feedback from commercial heavy vehicle drivers and operators to better understand their perceptions of parking shortages and utility of the parking information delivery mechanisms. Overall, the system has proven to provide 24/7 around-the-clock per-space parking status with no need for manual interventions to correct detection errors, with per parking space accuracy typically equal to or exceeding 95 percent. The concept of operations field tests demonstrated the feasibility of the technical approach and the potential to alter freight borne trip behaviors by allowing drivers and carriers to plan stops and improve trip efficiency.

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Sponsored by: Minnesota Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration