Researchers to Study Truck Parking in Iowa, Wisconsin

Truck Parking
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Researchers from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), the University of Wisconsin-Madison and ParkUnload are conducting a truck parking pilot study to better understand how truck drivers use existing parking spaces and to test the benefits of using a mobile parking app.

The study, funded by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration under a cooperative grant program, will select certain truck parking spaces along Interstate 80 in Iowa and along I-39/90/94 in Wisconsin.

Under the program, select truck parking spaces will be painted green and informational signs equipped with Bluetooth technology will communicate with the ParkUnload app when a driver’s phone is in close proximity to the parking zone. Once the app detects the marked zone, the truck driver can park and check in to the selected parking space on the app. The app will show other drivers remaining spaces at the facility. Signs also will also provide drivers with additional information.

“Insufficient truck parking presents a safety hazard for all highway users when drivers park in unauthorized locations, drive when fatigued or drive past their hours of service to find safe parking,” said transportation specialist Brian Routhier with FMCSA’s Technology Division. “We’re hoping this study will provide a better understanding of the truck parking needs along these corridors and whether a truck parking app is beneficial to drivers.”

Drivers who travel along the corridors can get started and participate in three steps:

  • Download the ParkUnload app.
  • Park and check in to the parking space in the app.
  • When leaving, check out in the app.

“For the pilot to work, we need drivers to download the app and check-in when they park in a designated parking space,” says TTI Senior Research Scientist Jolanda Prozzi, lead researcher for the study. “If we can collect actual, on-the-ground information, then we can better understand, plan for and prioritize truck parking investments.”

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