In December 2016, WisDOT joined several other Midwestern states by installing a Truck Parking Information Management System (TPIMS) to usher in the next generation of truck parking technology.
TPIMS uses sensors and cameras to create real-time information about the availability of truck parking. Drivers can monitor for open parking spaces using tools such as dynamic roadside signs. TPIMS enhances safety and efficiency by helping commercial truck drivers plan rest periods without having to exit the freeway and waste time and fuel looking for appropriate space.
Wisconsin's TPIMS monitors 157 stalls at four eastbound rest area locations along 172 miles from Dunn County to Columbia County on I-94 eastbound.
TPIMS was made possible by a federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant gained in partnership with other Midwestern states.
Why monitor truck parking?
TPIMS builds additional certainty into the parking process, which is important for commercial drivers. The search for adequate, safe parking can take time and sacrifice earning potential. Lost time spent looking for parking can create losses in productivity.
Availability of parking can lead drivers to stay on the road looking for a spot, or alternatively choose to park in unauthorized and sometimes dangerous locations such as abandoned parking lots or roadside shoulders. Unauthorized locations raise additional concerns regarding driver safety, roadside safety and deterioration of infrastructure.
TPIMS is another step WisDOT is taking to be freight-friendly in order to enhance economic development. Each year, an estimated 341 million tons of freight valued at $445 billion is moved by truck on Wisconsin roads.
The system also is a step to enhance highway safety. In Wisconsin, "reduced alertness" by commercial drivers has been a contributing factor in 623 traffic crashes from 2011 to 2015. These crashes resulted in 23 fatalities and 514 injuries.
Using the technology
- All truck parking remains first-come, first-serve. The system simply creates a real-time monitor to display availability.
- Electronic message boards located along the highways will give commercial drivers real-time tallies of available spaces at upcoming rest areas.
- Additional truck parking is available at Wisconsin's rest areas and Safety and Weight Enforcement Facilities.
Wisconsin’s truck parking technology is part of a wider effort throughout the Midwest. Visit trucksparkhere.com to learn more.