Evaluation of Iowa Truck Parking Information and Management System

Project Details









Iowa Department of Transportation

Principal Investigator
Jing Dong-O'Brien

Transportation Engineer, CTRE

Co-Principal Investigator
Neal Hawkins

Associate Director, InTrans

Co-Principal Investigator
Skylar Knickerbocker

Research Scientist, CTRE

About the research

Iowa is one of eight participating states of the Mid America Association of State Transportation Officials (MAASTO) region, along with Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin, that are involved in a multistate truck parking initiative to develop a real-time truck parking information management system (TPIMS). This system will collect and provide data to the freight transportation industry to inform drivers of available parking spaces at pre-determined locations along certain corridors. The MAASTO’s vision is to “strengthen America’s freight network by helping commercial truckers make safer, more efficient parking decisions through a user-focused information service that consistently provides timely, reliable parking availability information.” The TPIMS will enable remote monitoring and detection of available truck parking spaces at public and private parking facilities on designated, major interstate and highway corridors across the eight-state region.

Although other states in the MAASTO region will disseminate the parking availability information through conventional variable message signs, the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) has proposed to broadcast the truck parking information through apps, Iowa 511, and in-cab information systems, eliminating the needs for installing and maintaining variable message signs. In 2017 Iowa DOT selected eX² Technology as the prime contractor to design, build, operate and maintain a real-time TPIMS program along Iowa’s I-80 corridor. The field deployment is expected to take place from February 2018 to the end of September 2018, followed by a 60-day burn-in period from November to December 2018 for testing and validation. The system will go live on January 4, 2019, and remain in operation for 3 years.

The Center for Transportation Research and Education (CTRE) at Iowa State University is tasked to evaluate the performance of the TPIMS, in terms of the accuracy, reliability, and effectiveness. In particular, during the TPIMS deployment and testing period CTRE will collect relevant data to evaluate the accuracy of the parking availability data collected by the sensors. After the system goes live, CTRE will develop various performance measures to evaluate the effectiveness of the innovative information dissemination approach through apps, Iowa 511, and in-cab information systems, compared to the conventional variable message sign approach.

The objective of this research is to collect sensor and video/image data to evaluate the accuracy of the parking availability information generated by the TPIMS. CTRE will participate in the discussion during system design and implementation to make sure necessary data are collected and transferred to CTRE in an efficient and timely manner.