On any given day, thousands of tractor trailers travel Interstate 75 (I-75) in Central Florida, and now those truck drivers have an extra tool to help keep them – and every other driver – safe. Construction is wrapping up for the Truck Parking Availability System (TPAS) in Marion and Sumter counties, which are now operational.
TPAS provides real-time information and helps drivers locate safe options by using in-ground sensors or motion detection video to track how many spots are available, which is relayed to dynamic message signs located several miles ahead of the rest area or weigh station. With the information, drivers can decide whether to exit the interstate to find a place to park, or proceed to the rest area or weigh station.
The system is installed at six locations in Marion and Sumter counties. The locations are:
- I-75 northbound rest area located 4 miles north of County Road (C.R.) 484 (Exit 341)
- I-75 southbound rest area located 3 miles south of State Road (S.R.) 200 (Exit 350)
- I-75 northbound Truck Comfort Station (Weigh-in-Motion station) located 10 miles north of S.R. 44 (Exit 329)
- I-75 southbound Truck Comfort Station (Weigh-in-Motion station) located 2 miles south of C.R. 484 (Exit 341)
- I-75 northbound rest area located 6 miles north of S.R. 50/U.S. 98 (Exit 301)
- I-75 southbound rest area located 1 mile south of C.R. 476B (Exit 309)
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is addressing the need for truck parking as a nearly $1.6 million project installed TPAS at four rest areas and two weigh stations in Marion and Sumter counties as well as opened the first operational system in late June for locations along I-4 and I-95 in Brevard, Flagler and Seminole counties. The projects are part of a statewide FDOT effort to help truck drivers locate safe and available parking.
The FDOT initiated the project after studies revealed truck overflow parking was occurring at some rest areas while several others were remaining underutilized. As a result, some truck drivers resort to the unsafe and illegal methods of parking along the interstate, on ramp shoulders, or in vacant lots.
Following a two-year research effort to examine available technologies to help address the system, Florida applied for and received a federal Accelerated Innovation Deployment (AID) grant to design and install TPAS at several locations along I-4, I-10, I-75 and I-95 throughout the state.
Media inquiries should be directed to the FDOT Communications Office at 386-943-5479 or [email protected].