California, Arizona, Texas and New Mexico transportation officials are collaborating on a technology-based system to make sure long-haul truckers stay in tip-top shape.

The four-state consortium is building a Truck Parking Availability System (TPAS) with the goal of preventing long-haul drivers from putting themselves in dangerous situations when needing to stop for a rest along Interstate 10.

“Truck drivers along this corridor frequently have difficulty finding authorized parking, which can result in decisions to park in unauthorized or unsafe locations, such as along highway shoulders, or to continue driving beyond hours-of-service limits,” project officials said. “This will reduce the amount of time and fuel spent looking for parking.”

Officials say they will implement a technology that “detects, monitors and provides” real-time truck parking availability using “roadside dynamic message signs, smartphone and in-cab applications and online via websites and traveler information sites.”

Once online, the system will track available truck parking at 37 public rest areas and 550 parking spaces throughout the four states that make up the I-10 Corridor Coalition.

It will be done, in part, with use of a $6.85 million grant awarded in April 2019 from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment.”

The I-10 Corridor Coalition has also agreed to match those federal funds, bringing the total project funding to $13.7 million. The project’s launch is anticipated for 2023.

“This system will provide real-time truck parking information to assist truck drivers and dispatchers in making informed parking decisions, and improve safety, mobility, operational and environmental elements,” the Arizona Department of Transportation said in a statement.

“One of the questions is how close to the facility do you notify people of truck parking spots,” said Tony Bradley, the organization’s president and CEO. “Obviously, as people are driving from Point A to Point B, they’re trying to plan where they can take a rest. Really, it’s what information will allow that driver to determine whether they should pull off at the next rest area, or the next rest area. Some of it’s just spacing of when the notification happens.”

In addition to those spatial notifications for drivers, the Corridor Coalition will determine the key information dispersed to truckers to ensure they have the best chance of obtaining a spot to rest.

The coalition is asking for stakeholders’ input through a survey running until Oct. 30. Interested members should visit i10connects.com/participate.

“We are encouraged by the progress,” said Bradley. “We like the fact that it is a multi-state collaboration. It involves a heavily trafficked corridor, so we’re looking at a holistic approach as opposed to a patchwork approach.” 

©2020 The Arizona Daily Star. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.