Posted on 24 Feb, 2015
It's an all too familiar scenario for truckers: You’re running out of hours and can’t find a place to park. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could reserve a parking spot ahead of time? Well, soon you can – at least at two rest stops in Tennessee.
The system is called SmartPark, and the FMCSA is doing a six-month test at two rest stops along I-75 North -- one at mile marker 45 near Athens, the other at mile marker 23 near Cleveland. The SmartPark website says the reservation system is coming in a few weeks. For now, signs along the interstate display if parking is available, limited, or unavailable at each stop. For parking availability, you can also check the SmartPark website, download the smartphone app, or call 1-844-SMARTPK.
A similar system is in place along the I-94 corridor in southwest Michigan, with signs displaying in real time the number of parking spaces available at rest stops. The Minnesota DOT and University of Minnesota also tested real-time parking signs along a stretch of I-94.
With the SmartPark system in Tennessee, truckers who register on the website will be able to make reservations up to 24 hours in advance. Drivers can reserve up to five of the 39 spaces at the Athens rest stop or five of the 26 at the Cleveland rest stop. You’ll be able to hold the Athens spaces for up to two hours, while the Cleveland parking permits will be good for 11 hours.
Officials hope to expand the system to other freight corridors, though there are obviously some questions as to how it will work. What happens if a driver makes a reservation and doesn't show up? How do you ensure the spot is actually available when the truck gets there? We should know more in a few weeks.
How many Getloaded drivers travel this stretch of I-75 or I-94 in Michigan? Have the signs been useful? Let us know in the comments.