The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is working to install sensors in parking spaces across the state’s 68 rest areas and truck stops that will alert truck-drivers to empty spots via a mobile app and signage along the highway. The sensors are intended to improve safety by making it easier for truckers to leave the highway when they get tired or when they approach the end of state-mandated travel times.
“Our best estimate is that 1,859 spaces across the state will be monitored with these spaces,” said Gorm Tuxen, president of IPsens, one of the vendors for the project. IPsens will connect the sensors, oversee the data collected by them, and then transmit this data to FDOT.
“Efficient freight delivery is vital to Florida’s economy,” Brian Blanchard, FDOT assistant secretary for engineering and operations, said in a statement. “This system will increase safety for both the traveling public and truck drivers who are required to stop after driving a certain number of hours. This system will aid them in planning their trips, so they can find a safe place to park.”
In future, FDOT may find other uses for the data collected, such as under-utilized spaces, parking shortages, and availability.
“We do a good job at making data-driven decisions more and more, and have been ready and willing adopters of new technologies, in an industry that’s kind of rapidly changing,” Mike Estey, a spokesman for the International Parking Institute and manager for parking programs in Seattle, said. “I think all those things together — and the awareness that folks have that we have been willing to adopt to change, embrace new technology and have a lot to bring to the table — have increased the perception of how parking is perceived, overall.”