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Road Runner: Real-time parking system seeks to keep truckers safer along I-10
Road runner

Road Runner: Real-time parking system seeks to keep truckers safer along I-10

Long-haul truckers stopping to rest and/or eat park their rigs behind the TTT Truck Stop, 5451 E. Benson Highway. A truck parking availability system is in the works for I-10 between Texas and California.

Arizona transportation officials are collaborating with out-of-state officials to make sure long-haul truckers stay in tip-top shape.

The Arizona Department of Transportation is building a truck parking availability system, along with California, New Mexico and Texas. The goal: 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, which 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 have 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,” ADOT said.

Included in Arizona officials’ efforts is input from trucking industry advocates, such as the Arizona Trucking Association, to determine “best practices and find features that would be beneficial for drivers, all the way down to the design of the sign” said Tony Bradley, the organization’s president and CEO.

He said the organization has been working for the past two years with ADOT to address truck parking issues and determine the system’s most beneficial elements.

“One of the questions is how close to the facility do you notify people of truck parking spots. Obviously, as people are driving from point A to point B, they’re trying to plan where they can take a rest,” Bradley said. “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.

“Another feature is determining whether or not to actually list the number of spaces available. Because obviously, that changes in real time, or if you simply do an ‘almost full’ notification, versus ‘two spots left’, because there’s a very real chance that driver may see two spots left and by the time they get to that facility, the two spots are full,” Bradley said.

Ahead of any final decisions, 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 about the project. “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.”

Down the Road

Railroad work will affect traffic in Sahuarita: Drivers in Sahuarita should expect significant delays, possibly up to an hour for some motorists, due to urgent maintenance along the Union Pacific Railroad.

Tracks will be reset on the crossing nearest to Sahuarita Road and Nogales Highway completely closing the road from 5 a.m. Wednesday to 7 p.m. Thursday.

Sahuarita Road will be closed from Azatlan Avenue to Nogales Highway. Westbound traffic will be able to U-turn at Azatlan. Eastbound traffic will be able to turn left or right onto Nogales Highway.

For westbound drivers, an available detour is North Wilmot Road to West Valencia Road onto South Nogales Highway.

Eastbound travelers can use North Nogales Highway to East Valencia Road onto South Wilmot Road.


Today in history: Oct. 5

Stories behind 11 Tucson-area street names:

Contact Star reporter Shaq Davis at 573-4218 or sdavis@tucson.com

On Twitter: @ShaqDavis1

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