Freight traffic is increasing not only on the English road network but also in Continental Europe. Road transport is still the dominant way of moving people and especially goods. European Union regulations oblige truck drivers to take breaks. This can result in problems for the road and local authorities which need to ensure that there are enough rest areas and parking spaces.
The A3 in Germany is one of Europe's major corridors and passes through Rheinland-Pfalz. The average traffic volume is 90,000 vehicles per day with a high demand for rest areas particularly at night. Chaotic and dangerous conditions were monitored at rest areas with truck parking spaces filled above capacity causing disruption to the effective operation of service areas, including vehicles parked on slip roads or wherever drivers could find space.
As one of CENTRICO's projects the highways and the local road authorities have set up a public-private partnership with Manns Ingenieure to trial a possible way of increasing the effectiveness of rest areas, using Telematics Controlled Parking (TCP). The trial is taking place in Montabaur service area on the A3.
TCP is a system which organises vehicles to park according to their departure time ensuring that they remain unhindered. Taking into account their departure times, the vehicles are 'stacked' into parking lanes. The parking area was reorganised by marking parking lanes rather than individual spaces.
The entrance to the parking area is equipped with a barrier and a terminal. Upon arrival, the driver uses the terminal (with 16 languages to choose from) to enter both the desired departure time and vehicle type (identifying the length of the vehicle). A parking space is then allocated either behind a vehicle with an earlier departure time or at the front of a new lane.
The evaluation of the trial so far has shown that:
he cost of implementation is low compared with the expense of extending/ constructing new capacity;
The number of HGV parking spaces has been doubled from 42 to 84;
TCP restored smooth truck running within the service area;
Driver response has been largely favourable although at first they thought it was a service they had to pay for; and
The touch screen of the terminal was found to be easy to use.
The extension of the system is under consideration with many options available (5-6 service areas in each direction). One option is to implement more TCPs at other service areas along the A3 and to link them to provide network-wide parking guidance for truck drivers.
To see diagrams illustrating the features of the trial visit the ITS International web site.
For more information contact Guido Schuster at firstname.lastname@example.org
Recommended for HA to follow up - relevant to new HA research programme.
Key words: Freight, Project, Traffic management