Minnesota installs regional truck parking technology at rest areas

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Minnesota is the latest state to install its truck parking technology, known as Truck Parking Information Management Systems. TPIMS is part of a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant awarded to eight Midwest states more than two years ago.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation recently announced it has begun installing technology at rest areas that will monitor parking availability in real time and broadcast that information to truckers using dynamic message signs. These signs will be installed along the Interstate 35 and Interstate 94 corridors. Parking information also will be found on MnDOT’s 511 website.

The seven rest areas with the technology will be at Lake Lakota, Big Spunk Lake, Enfield, Elm Creek, St. Croix, Heath Creek and Forest Lake.

MnDOT will use in-pavement sensors that detect the presence of the truck above it and send the information to MnDOT’s Regional Transportation Management Center, according to a news release. This information is relayed to dynamic message signs, which will display the number of available parking spaces.

“Truck drivers sometimes spend 30 minutes or more looking for parking spots. We want to help them find safe, reliable parking so they don’t waste time looking, which decreases their downtime, and so they can move their products faster," said Dan Rowe, state project manager, in a statement. “There will also be less fuel consumption and reduced emissions.”

In 2015, Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin were awarded a share of a $25 million TIGER grant for a regional TPIMS project. Each state received approximately $1 million to more than $3 million. All eight states also will contribute a 10 percent match of the deployment costs. MnDOT’s portion will cost approximately $1.4 million while the agency contributes $177,500.

TPIMS will send truckers parking availability information through traveler information websites, dynamic truck parking signage along interstates and smart phone apps.

The entire network is expected to become fully operational by January 2019. Some states’ systems will become active sooner, including Minnesota.

 

 

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