Truck overflow parking was occurring at some rest areas while several others were remaining underutilized.
Construction recently finished work on the state’s first permanent installation of a Truck Parking Availability System (TPAS) at a cost of $1.9 million at five rest areas and two weigh stations in Brevard, Flagler and Seminole counties.
The project is part of a statewide Florida Department of Transportation effort to help truck drivers locate safe and available parking for rest purposes, which Federal regulations require for truck drivers.
TPAS provides real-time information and helps drivers locate safe options by tracking how many spots are available and relaying that information to dynamic message signs located several miles ahead of the rest area or weigh station. With the information, drivers can decide whether to exit the interstate or proceed to the rest area or weigh station.
The system uses sensors embedded in the asphalt of truck parking spaces at the rest area or weigh station. The sensors detect when a vehicle is occupying that space. The information is then sent to the state’s SunGuide® system and transmitted to the electronic message signs.
The FDOT initiated the project after studies revealed truck overflow parking was occurring at some rest areas while several others were remaining underutilized. As a result, some truck drivers resort to the unsafe and illegal methods of parking on the interstate mainline, ramp shoulders, or in vacant lots.
Following a two-year research effort to examine available technologies to help address the system, Florida applied for and received a federal Accelerated Innovation Deployment (AID) grant to design and install TPAS at several locations along I-4, I-10, I-75 and I-95 throughout the state.
The locations now using the system include the following:
I-95 northbound rest area located 4.6 miles south of State Road (S.R.) 514 (Exit 173)
I-95 southbound rest area located 3.6 miles south of S.R. 514 (Exit 173)
I-95 northbound rest area located 1.5 miles north of S.R. 46 (Exit 223)
I-95 southbound rest area located 2.9 miles north of S.R. 46 (Exit 223)
I-95 northbound Truck Comfort Station (Weigh-in-Motion station) located north of S.R. 100 (Exit 284)
I-95 southbound Truck Comfort Station (Weigh-in-Motion station) located 3.3 miles south of Palm Coast Parkway (Exit 289)
I-4 eastbound rest area east of S.R. 434 (Exit 94)
In addition to this project, two other Truck Parking Availability System projects are currently underway, including on I-75 in Marion and Sumter counties.