Access to proper rest is essential for the well-being of a truck driver. The physical health of the driver is inarguably important, but beyond that, so is the driver’s ability to safely operate the vehicle. The average daily run for a long-haul truck driver is close to 500 miles. Multiply that by the millions of truck drivers on the road at any given time in the US and you’ll see how important it is that they have adequate access to comfortable places to rest.
After initially introducing their design package in 2016, the Mid America Association of State Transportation Officials rolled out the Truck Parking Information Management System in eight states this year. This makes it drastically easier for transportation jobs in Nashville TN and throughout the middle of the country to find rest.
How Does It Work?
The Truck Parking Information Management System (TPIS) makes use of existing Intelligent Transportation Systems in the participating states. These systems exist within each state’s infrastructure. They operate things such as the live traffic cameras, overhead electric road signs, and help trucks. The same system that lets you know how long it will take to get to the next few exits is utilized by TPIS.
Along with this information, TPIS uses data-collection and vehicle-detection technology to monitor select public and private parking lots. These lots were selected based on trucking volume, demand, and capacity for improvements. The technology used to determine the amount of free spaces varies from state to state, but the most common are in-ground sensors, gates, and video monitoring.
This information is then gathered and disseminated in several ways. These methods include signs on the side of the highway listing the lot and available number of open spaces, navigation apps, and 511 traveler information websites.
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Where Can I Use It?
TPIS became available in early 2019 in eight midwestern states: Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. These states are working together to ensure the system runs smoothly.
The system has lot locations throughout the main freight corridors of the participating states. Many existing apps and tools have already incorporated the information into their systems, so there’s a chance you already have access to the information. Additional systems continue to incorporate the data, but even if you don’t have access to these systems quite yet, the roadside signs convey the same information and are just as helpful in the moment.
Why Is It Important?
Truck Parking Information Management System is important because the trucking industry is important. Not only do the taxes and fees paid by the trucking industry cover almost 38% of the US Highway Trust Fund, the industry also employs over ten million people. 3.2 million of these people are traveling across the country in large trucks to deliver the goods and products necessary for daily life.
The areas in which TPIS is offered serve a high volume of truck traffic which can make it difficult for these drivers to find adequate parking when they are ready to get some rest. It’s estimated that up to 6,000 fatal crashes occur each year because of drowsy driving. Everyone knows drinking and driving are a terrible combination, but most don’t realize that drowsy driving hinders the operator of a vehicle in very similar ways.
One of the biggest challenges for long-haul truck drivers has been finding parking. This has led fatigued drivers to park in unauthorized spots which put not only the operator of the truck, but passing motorists in danger. Along with that, the process greatly reduces national freight productivity.
It’s in everyone’s best interest if safe, convenient, and more efficient parking is available to those who not only need it most, but can most benefit from it.
How Did It Happen?
The process began in 2016 by the Mid America Association of Transportation Officials. They partnered with the Federal Highway Administration which helped them secure TIGER grant funding to help get the project started. They set out to improve safety by providing reliable information to drivers. Harmonious operation between states and implementing the system in a sustainable manner were also important to ensure long-term success of the program.
Obviously, these eight states, although important, don’t constitute the entirety of American trucking. Other states have expressed interest in the program and are reaching out to the first eight to learn the preliminary steps as well as see what opportunities for improvement arise.
Securing grant money for another mass rollout might seem daunting, but it was surely daunting to MAATO back in 2016.
If you’re looking for a route that makes use of this new system, M&W Transportation’s Indianapolis Terminal is located just off of two of these main supported thoroughfares.
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