Research Project

You are here

SmartPark: Real-Time Parking Availability


To demonstrate a technology for providing information in real time on truck parking availability to truckers on the road.


The SmartPark program was prompted by a 2000 National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendation that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) create a paper guide to inform truck drivers about locations and availability of parking. A 2002 study on the adequacy of truck parking by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recommended using Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) to provide truckers with real-time information on the location and availability of parking spaces. In 2005, the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe) completed a study entitled "ITS and Truck Parking" for FMCSA.


Between 2007 and 2009, FMCSA awarded two contracts for field operational tests (FOTs) of two separate technologies: video imaging (with trip-line algorithm) and magnetometry (with threshold algorithm). Test results showed that video imaging did not meet the performance requirements at nighttime although it was successful at daytime. Magnetometry did not meet the performance requirement for vehicle classification. FMCSA repeated Phase I by field testing a different technology, namely, combined Doppler radar and laser scanning/light curtain. This technology has been used with 99.5 percent accuracy at more than 500 sites for toll collection in New Jersey, Florida, and Iceland.  The test results from the contractor (independently verified and validated by Volpe) showed that the technology meets three performance requirements.  Therefore, a decision was made to proceed to Phase II. Phase II covers information dissemination, reservations, maximization of space, gathering historical data to make forecasts of availability, and self-sustainability.


A final report for Phase I showing the feasibility of a commercially-available technology, namely Doppler radar and laser scanning/light curtain for accurately and reliably determining truck parking space occupancy was accepted in June 2013. The Phase II final report will show whether two truck parking areas can be networked in such a way that trucks can be diverted from a filled area to an unfilled area.


Period of performance for each of the two phases is 17 months.

June 2013: Phase II commences.
November 2014: Phase II ends.


FY 2007: $1,110,000 - FMCSA Research and Technology (Phase I)
FY 2011: $750,000 - FMCSA Research and Technology (repeat of Phase I)
FY 2012: $915,000 - FMCSA Research and Technology (Phase II)


The final report was published and can be accessed at



Updated: Monday, April 9, 2018
Submit Feedback >