For Full Story: Ocala Star Banner
Article By: Staff report
The Truck Parking Availability System (TPAS) recently installed at four rest areas and two weigh stations in Marion and Sumter counties is part of a statewide effort to help truck drivers find safe and available parking.
As the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) continues to address the need for truck parking along major state highways, a nearly $1.6 million project has installed the Truck Parking Availability System at four rest areas and two weigh stations in Marion and Sumter counties.
FDOT opened the first operational system in late June for locations along I-4 and I-95 in Brevard, Flagler and Seminole counties.
The TPAS projects are part of a statewide FDOT effort to help truck drivers locate safe and available parking.
FDOT initiated the project after studies revealed truck overflow parking was occurring at some rest areas while others were 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, according to the agency.
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 grant to design and install TPAS systems at several locations along I-4, I-10, I-75 and I-95 throughout the state.
The TPAS system 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 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 these locations in Marion and Sumter counties:
• I-75 northbound rest area, 4 miles north of County Road 484 (Exit 341)
• I-75 southbound rest area, 3 miles south of State Road 200 (Exit 350)
• I-75 northbound truck comfort station (weigh-in-motion station), 10 miles north of State Road 44 (Exit 329)
• I-75 southbound truck comfort station (weigh-in-motion station), 2 miles south of CR 484 (Exit 341)
• I-75 northbound rest area, 6 miles north of State Road 50/U.S. 98 (Exit 301)
• I-75 southbound rest area, 1 mile south of County Road 476B (Exit 309)