How can we make truck parking work?
Smart truck parking technologies are the best-in-class solution to address industry-wide truck parking shortages. The benefits are clear: these solutions improve access to available parking spots for drivers who need rest and reduce the time spent searching for safe parking, improving overall highway safety and productivity.
But how does the technology work? Truck parking solutions collect and analyze data on available and occupied parking spaces, then communicate that information to drivers on the road. These solutions use various data collection methods such as embedded sensors, loops, cameras, or a combination thereof, to track and predict occupancy at rest areas.
A functional diagram of a typical truck parking management solution is provided below.
What should I look for in an effective truck parking management system?
An effective truck parking management application is a fully developed commercial off the shelf software platform that can run on an onsite server. Features of a well-developed and tested Truck Parking Manager could include features such as an open IP protocol for easy integration to third party systems, and any additional features which would lower total cost of ownership including real-time device health monitoring, remote maintenance and reporting.
One value-add feature to consider is the system’s predictive abilities. Systems based on real-time data cannot predict parking availability at a future arrival time. Industry-leading truck parking management systems offer the ability to deploy a predictive algorithm, which calculates the likelihood of availability. The algorithm blends historical data with real-time data to predict future parking availability at a much higher accuracy than systems which rely only on real time data.
Accurate Truck Identification
Some solutions have been developed to provide the optimal accuracy in determining truck presence while also providing the ability to discern smaller vehicles occupying truck bays. These elements are both key to providing accurate parking availability. Deployable and referenceable systems will inform their design with historical technical performance. For example, multiple sensors may be placed strategically within each truck stall to help identify the size of vehicle. With this design, a commercial tractor-trailer unit will activate all of the sensory inputs while passenger vehicles will only activate one or a subset of the sensor array, allowing for classification between trucks and passenger vehicles. The multiple sensor setup also provides redundancy and additional data for post process algorithms to further enhance accuracy.
Are there benefits for fleet owners, administrators, and rest area and DOT managers?
Most definitely! Smart truck parking solutions collect immense amounts of data which can be compiled into many actionable formats. Whether you’re a rest area manager looking to track and predict parking trends, or a driver who needs to rest for the night, the leading smart truck parking solutions have been built to adapt to meeting diverse needs in the industry.
A smart truck parking solution can add immense value at the operational and policy levels of your organization. Additional value-adds for owners and administrators include providing real-time and historical information to increase system uptime, tracking actual lot use, and informing decision-making.