Parking for truckers along Interstate 10 will soon be easier and safer thanks to the I-10 Coalition Corridor’s new innovative Truck Parking Availability System.
Prior to COVID-19, up to 10,000 semi-trucks travel along the I-10 in Arizona per day, estimates Laura Douglas, Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) Communications Project Manager.
“[These] truck drivers frequently spend a significant amount of time looking for a place to park and rest for a required break, or at the end of their workday,” Douglas said. “Drivers who have not found parking before exceeding their hours of service are often forced to park in unauthorized, unsafe locations such as highway shoulders, on and off-ramps, or on local streets.”
An Arizona Truck Parking Study conducted for ADOT by CPCS in May 2019 found that of the top 15 undesignated truck parking locations in Arizona six of them were along the I-10 (Exit 45; Interchange Exit 200; Quartsize Exit 17; Texas Canyon Rest Area Mile Post 320; Ehrenberg Rest Area Mile Post 5; Interchange Exit 53).
But this isn’t due to limited truck parking availability, according to the study.
“Arizona has available truck parking even during the times when demand is highest,” according to the study. “It is possible that available truck parking spaces are not known by some drivers.”
“Right now, a truck driver may decide to stop early because they can see a spot on the road or they’re like ‘You know what, I’m not going to risk it and I’m going to pull over now’ because they don’t have any way to make an informed decision,” said Tony Bradley, President and CEO of the Arizona Trucking Association.
In April 2019, the I-10 Coalition Corridor was awarded a $6.85 million U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Federal Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment (ATCMTD) Grant to fix this problem by implementing a Truck Parking Availability System (TPAS), according to I-10 Connects’ website. The states comprising of the Coalition, California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, decided to match this grant bringing the total project funding to $13.7 million.
The TPAS will monitor and report on over 550 truck parking spaces across 37 locations in four states through dynamic roadside signs, a smartphone application and a website, according to I-10 Connects’ website.
“[TPAS] increases public safety by reducing fatigue-related crashes with associated reductions in congestion and delay, reduced time searching for parking, reduced emissions and fuel use, and limits damage to public highway infrastructure,” according to the ATCMTD grant application submitted for this project in June 2018.
“Freight volumes are expected to increase which will just exacerbate the truck parking problem so this is one part of a multi-faceted solution,” Bradley said. “At the end of the day, we need to keep our truckers safe and rested,” Bradley said.
The TPAS project is scheduled to be completed by summer 2023.