Driver input sought for multi-state survey of truck parking in I-10 corridor

A survey of drivers is the latest step in an ongoing four-state project to improve parking on the lengthy stretch of interstate 10 from California through Texas.

The ultimate goal of the I-10 Corridor Coalition is a truck parking availability ystem that will alert drivers as to the availability of public parking spots along the 1,680 miles of I-10 through California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. There also are state-specific initiatives aimed at increasing parking in their individual areas. The target date for the launch of TPAS is 2023. 

The survey can be found here. 

The 27-question survey ranges from the basic to more specific questions about a driver’s parking needs on I-10. For example, the survey asks the respondents whether they have any privacy concerns about a system that monitors truck parking availability.

Most of the questions are multiple choice but there are also questions that allow the respondent to share specific desires, such as: “What type of accommodations should be provided for oversize/overweight parking?” and “What factors drive your decision to select a public of private stop?”

The survey also reveals how something that seems simple on the surface — alerting a driver about parking availability on the road ahead — can end up to be far more complicated. For example, how does a driver get notified of the availability of parking? A question asks respondents to rank their preferences on how they would be notified. The options include roadside changeable signs, through a dispatcher, some sort of integrated system in a cab, an I-10-specific app or some sort of smartphone application. 

Another question: How frequent would the information need to be updated for a potential user to feel confident it is in real time? 

The shortest answer in the survey takes  minutes, the longest 16 to 20 minutes (with a write-in option for “other”).

Deadline is October 30

The deadline for the survey is Oct. 30. Laura Douglas, a communications project manager with the Arizona Department of Transportation, said in response to an email from FreightWaves that the survey has received about 100 responses already and she hoped to triple that by the end of the month. 

Tony Bradley, the president and CEO of the Arizona Trucking Association, said the Arizona Department of Transportation had already done a similar survey. But that effort is aimed more at identifying and improving inventory rather than the creation of the TPAS that is the larger goal of the I-10 Corridor Coalition. 

Bradley said the Arizona effort has involved both the public and private sectors. “Our plan was to look at short-term solutions and long-term solutions,” Bradley said.

The TPAS effort for the I-10 coalition goes back to a $6.85 million grant received from the U.S. Department of Transportation in April of last year. With state matching funds, it put $13.7 million into the project’s hands, according to TPAS information on the project. 

“The I-10 TPAS is a technology system that will detect, monitor and provide real-time truck parking availability information to truck drivers, dispatchers and other interested stakeholders,” the coalition said. It listed the various forms of communication that are on the survey as the methods it may use to notify drivers of truck parking availability.

Number of current public spaces: 550

The universe of truck parking spaces now available in the four states is spread out over 37 public rest areas. But that only covers 550 spaces for a 1,600-mile stretch. 

However, it could eventually be expanded to bring in privately owned parking spaces, according to Douglas. “The TPAS and associated truck parking availability data feed is being designed to accommodate expansion to private parking in the future if funding is available and private parking providers are interested in taking part in the system,” she wrote in response to a series of questions sent to her from FreightWaves. 

In her email, Douglas said the next step in the project after the survey is to develop the TPAS concept of operations and system requirements, which will “identify and document user needs” based on the survey and other input. That will then serve as the guide for the “design, construction and launch of the TPAS,” she said in her email.

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