Truck drivers passing through Minnesota along the Interstate 94 corridor will now have some new technology to help them find a place to park when they need a break.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation is currently testing technology that uses a network of digital cameras to monitor parking availability in some rest areas west and northwest of the Twin Cities.
The new technology incorporates in-cab messaging and electronic signs to alert drivers when parking spaces are available at upcoming rest stops. Dispatchers can also access a website to relay real-time information to the driver.
The technology is now available at the Elm Creek Rest Area on I-94 (two miles south of Interstate 494), the Big Spunk Lake Rest Area between Albany and Avon, and the Enfield Rest Area near Monticello.
“So far, the results have been positive. We’ve had 95 percent accuracy in determining the availability of spaces,” MnDot project manager John Tompkins said in a news release.
Tompkins said that the new technology will not only help truck drivers and carriers plan their operations more efficiently, but also help drivers avoid stopping, when fatigued, in unsafe locations such as freeway ramps.
MnDot plans to review results of the testing phase in December to determine if the project will be expanded to further rest stops.
The technology was developed by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies and funded by MnDot and the Federal Highway Administration.
To find out more, visit the project’s website here.
Here’s a video of the project produced by MnDot: