IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

Florida to Connect State Rest Areas for Highway Safety

The Florida Department of Transportation is working to install sensors across the state’s 68 rest areas to take the guesswork out of parking for tired truckers.

Truckers in Florida will no longer have to wonder whether a rest area has available parking spots before exiting the highway.
Sensors are to be installed in parking spaces to alert them to empty spots in all of the state’s 68 rest areas and truck stops, via a mobile app and signage along the highway. The upgrades, being done by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), are intended to improve safety by making it easier for truckers to leave the highway when they get tired or 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, the cloud-based smart parking technology company serving as 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, the company official said.
“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.”
Parking systems outfitted with sensors are becoming more common in cities across the country. The data is often used to glean information about under-utilized spaces, parking shortages and availability.
The Florida project to assist truckers will provide data “primarily for better immediate utilization, through the distribution of space availability information to the trucking community,” Tuxen said, adding FDOT may find other uses for the data collected.
Data-based decision-making is a trend in the parking industry, Mike Estey, a spokesman for the International Parking Institute and manager for parking programs in Seattle, told Government Technology in June 2018.
“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,” Estey 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.”
Skip Descant writes about smart cities, the Internet of Things, transportation and other areas. He spent more than 12 years reporting for daily newspapers in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and California. He lives in downtown Yreka, Calif.