Dynamic signage should help to better spread trucks over parking areas

Truck parking vms

22 October 2020

As of October 22nd, the current occupation rate of five freeway parking areas for trucks will be displayed on the dynamic signs above the road. Flemish Minister of Mobility and Public Works Lydia Peeters: “With this pilot project we want to achieve a better distribution of trucks over the parking areas along freeways. Be-Mobile offers the realtime data via the Truckmeister driver companion app. A first for Flanders.”

Flanders is a European conjunction point for logistics and transport. The traffic indicators of the Flemish Traffic Center show that freight traffic on working days in 2019 has grown by 0.8%. During the corona crisis in the spring of 2020, freight traffic fell sharply, but compared to car traffic this decline was relatively limited and short-lived. While at the beginning of October car traffic was no less than 17% lower in comparison to the same time last year, there was as much as 1% more freight traffic on Flemish freeways. The E17 Ghent – Kortrijk route is the third busiest freeway for freight traffic, after the Antwerp ring road (R1) and the E17 Antwerp – Ghent.

All this (freight) traffic creates extra pressure, not only on the freeways but also on the freeway parking areas. In order to get a better dispersal across the parking areas, the Agency for Roads and Traffic will launch a pilot project along the E17 freeway at the end of 2020.

“Currently, truck drivers don’t know if there is a parking space available on a freeway parking and they have to guess”, says Minister of Mobility Lydia Peeters. “This leads to over-occupancy in one parking lot while there may still be space at the next one. By displaying the occupancy rate in real time on the dynamic signs and in apps, we hope to better spread the trucks over the various car parks. This results in more traffic safety, because fewer trucks are parked incorrectly, and more peace and quiet for the drivers who no longer have to worry about finding a safe resting place.”

Information above the freeway and in app

At times when the dynamic signs above the road are not used for other traffic information, the current occupancy rate of the five parking lots along the E17 freeway, in the direction of France, will be displayed. The occupancy rate is also visible in the Truckmeister app from Be-Mobile.

“We want to offer truck drivers increased comfort by providing them with the necessary digital tools via our Truckmeister driver companion app. Via this app, we also provide information about stationary vehicles, deviating tire pressures, etc. This way, we hope to create a trucker community and optimize the entire logistics chain. The app in fact can also be used to optimize traffic lights”, says Gerd Nees, Business Unit Director Logistics at Be-Mobile.

“The goal is to use the existing capacity of the freeway parking areas in the most optimal way”, says Lydia Peeters. “Truck drivers can check in real time whether there is still space in a parking lot and thus adjust their driving behavior. Thanks to a good cooperation with Be-Mobile, the capacity can always be consulted via the Truckmeister app. I therefore hope that truck drivers will install the app en masse.”

Measure occupancy rate in real time

The occupancy rate of the parking areas will be measured by existing or newly installed infrastructure. This ranges from data from the barriers of secured areas to (inductive) loops in the road surface to parking sensors. This data in the European DATEX II-format, which is also made available as open data, feeds both the dynamic signs and the app. In addition, the data can also be integrated into other apps.

The involved freeway parking areas are (each in the direction of France): Kalken, Nazareth, Kruishoutem, Marke and Rekkem. The pilot project runs provisionally until the end of 2020 and is co-financed by the Connecting Europe Facility of the European Union.

In September 2020, a baseline measurement was carried out at the parking areas so that the Agency for Roads and Traffic can make a comparison afterwards and measure whether a better spread of trucks over the parking areas has been achieved.

"Thanks to the good cooperation with Be-Mobile, truck drivers can consult the Truckmeister app at any time to see if there is still space in a parking area and thus adapt their driving behavior. I therefore hope that the truck drivers will install the app en masse."

- Lydia Peeters, Flemish Minister of Mobility and Public Works

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