Along busy highways, finding a safe and legal place to park a semi truck can be a challenge. When rest stop spaces fill up, truck drivers may park on the shoulders of highway ramps or nearby roads, creating safety concerns. Others may continue driving and become fatigued or violate federal regulations that limit commercial driving hours.
Through a partnership with the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the American Transportation Research Institute, University of Minnesota researchers have developed a system to help drivers find safe and legal parking more easily. The Minnesota Truck Parking Availability System, developed by a team at the Center for Transportation Studies, automatically counts the open truck parking spaces at rest stops and informs drivers of availability in real-time.
The system feeds images taken by networks of digital cameras into image processing software developed by the researchers to function in all kinds of weather and lighting conditions. Following early demonstrations, 60 percent of drivers said the system helped them find parking during their trips.
Currently, the Wisconsin and Minnesota transportation departments are working together to implement the system at public truck stops along the I-94 corridor between the two states. Meanwhile, the University’s Office for Technology Commercialization has filed a patent to commercialize the system and expand its reach in other areas.
For more information, see the full story in CTS Catalyst.
Photo credit: Michael McCarthy, Center for Transportation Studies