In recent weeks Drivewyze has added parking space availability information from two states into its system, enabling that important data to be available on an electronic logging device (ELD) rather than through a state’s website.
The provider of weigh station bypass solutions has been branching out in recent years to provide other information through its system, which increasingly is integrated into ELDs rather than sitting in the cab as a stand-alone product. In what it is describing as the first available parking space information available through an ELD, Drivewyze has added data from a feed provided by Indiana and Iowa.
Brian Mofford, Drivewyze’s vice president for government experience, told FreightWaves that an estimated 10 states are collecting parking space data and distributing it through a website, often under the general “511” heading for information. The problem is that a driver rolling down the highway is rarely in position to log into a website to see what spots are available ahead.
By integrating the data into an ELD or telematics, Mofford said, the information is now available at a driver’s fingertips, or the driver can be alerted visually without needing to do anything.
A prepared statement by Drivewyze on the program said a driver would be notified 25 miles out from a rest stop about the availability of parking spaces. An update on the availability would then be sent five miles out.
Mofford said the systems that states use to measure available parking at a rest stop vary. “Some use a type of in-ground sensors like magnetic pucks; others use things like radar or triggers at the exit or entry that count the number of vehicles coming in and out,” Mofford said. Some of those systems will also employ cameras to provide “visual confirmation” of the data from the other systems, he said.
The data that is gathered is not available just through web systems, Mofford said, but also is often displayed at on-highway message boards that alert a driver to the number of spots available at an upcoming parking spot. “All those sensors are tied and networked together, providing feeds that we can tap into,” Mofford said.
Drivewyze’s parent, Intelligent Imaging Systems, already was in the business of trucking parking technology, Mofford said, “so we are familiar with the format.”
Once a decision was made to pursue this initiative, Mofford said that with the knowledge of how Indiana was doing this, “it didn’t take too long to get them up and running.” That service launched at the end of April. Iowa became available June 11.
The pandemic proved to be a spur. Once the economy started shutting down but truck drivers’ importance was rising, “we thought, what is the most impactful thing we can do,” Mofford said. “So the whole team kind of rallied.”
In its statement announcing the launch, Drivewyze said the Iowa feed covers 22 locations with more than 500 parking spaces. It does include the Iowa 80 Truck Stop, one of the country’s largest, which is located on interstate 80. Other rest stops are on interstate 35 and 29.
Brian Heath, Drivewyze’s CEO, said data shows that at peak times, 80% of the Iowa parking spaces are filled, with that peak time being overnight. “So parking is never guaranteed and our alerts will help truckers figure out if they should continue on to that parking area or start looking for an alternative,” he said.
Mofford said Drivewyze is in negotiations with the eight other states that have the data feed to integrate the information into the Drivewyze system.
Drivewyze already had been sending alerts about whether parking areas were open or closed for Arizona, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. That was particularly important in the first days of the pandemic when the status of some operations was unclear.
Drivewyze also provides parking area open/close notifications for drivers travelling through Arizona, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
“The feedback from the agencies and industry have been fantastic,” Mofford said. “We’re looking forward to continuing to evolve the product.”
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