Relief is at hand for stressed truck drivers, thanks to a new parking solution being piloted at the Jura-West service station on Germany’s A3 autobahn. By using smart technology to make the most of available parking space, the country’s Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt) expects to accommodate up to 50 percent more trucks at freeway service stations. The solution, known as "telemetrically-controlled compact parking," works on the principle that more trucks than usual can be packed in if they all park one behind the other according to their departure times, which are displayed on a panel above each parking row. The benefits of this concept are clear: capacity is increased to 150 percent without the need for any further conventional expansion, the display panels can be installed without any major building work, and traffic safety at the service stations is enhanced.
Telemetry for Truckers
Ever more trucks are clogging Europe‘s roads. In Germany alone, an additional 11,000 truck parking spaces are needed on the autobahn network. With a view to helping drivers, Siemens has developed a telemetric solution that results in more parking slots for the same surface area.
In compact parking, several trucks are packed in closely behind and alongside one another. Where there was previously room for just two vehicles, separated by a driving lane, compact parking will accommodate three or more vehicles. To prevent any delays when leaving the facility, the vehicles are sorted according to their departure time. Those leaving earlier park at the front. This eliminates the need for a driving lane, maximizing the space available for parking. “A unique feature that distinguishes compact parking is the use of dynamic displays above the parking rows,” explains Franz Pelzer, project manager at Siemens.
“These enable truck drivers arriving at the facility to see at a glance the latest departure time of the vehicles already parked in a given row. Rather than being assigned a specific space, drivers are offered parking options for different departure times. There are no input terminals or barriers, just dynamic displays combined with a parking detection system.
Optimized Parking and Lighting
Smart control of dynamic displays requires effective detection technology. For this purpose, Siemens has developed a system of residual length measurement. The detection system can be mounted on a tubular steel trellis frame, eliminating the need to dig up the paved surface of the parking lot. On arrival, drivers select a row displaying their own planned departure time, safe in the knowledge that the departure time offered corresponds to the user's actual departure time, with the vehicles sorted in order to ensure a quick getaway. A control process calculates a parking option according to demand, and distributes the departure times across all rows of the parking lot. An associated algorithm runs fully automatically in a traffic control center that processes the detection data and updates the dynamic display accordingly. The facility has also been equipped with an intelligent lighting system that responds to the level of occupancy of the individual parking rows. As well as enhancing security at the facility, this allows the lighting to be dimmed in fully occupied parking rows so that truck drivers can get a peaceful night's sleep.