Feds envision electronic help with truck parking

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is moving forward on a demonstration project that would alert truckers electronically of available parking. Jan. 9 was the deadline for project proposals for making SmartPark a reality. Such a technology was recommended in 2000 by the National Transportation Safety Board, which said the lack of safe, available parking contributes to driver fatigue.

Successful SmartPark technology must provide reliable parking data in all weather conditions. Officials also will evaluate plans’ ability to track parking histories and make parking reservations. The successful proposal also must show SmartPark can pay for itself after the federally funded project closes.

Officials envision a partnership among a truck stop owner, a government transportation agency and an organization with expertise in parking management technology. If user fees are to be collected, the proposal must show that truckers are willing to pay for the service.