The research will develop a central parking coordinator system capable of directing the multiple planners of the trucking industry into choosing itineraries that will not overburden any parking facility. The central coordinator will receive all parking demands from planners and parking availability from all relevant parking areas and predict parking availability at expected arrival times. If capacity can meet the demand then planning proceeds as suggested. If not the coordinator will use pricing as an incentive and suggest alternative lower cost parking where available in a way that benefits both the planner and overall system. Therefore, the researchers envisage the usage of a dynamic pricing or incentives system that will control the parking prices considered by all planners when deciding their itineraries. In this way, the actual route planning will be done in a distributed fashion by each planner, who will then communicate their parking needs to a centralized system. The cycle of planning, demand estimate, and price update will continue until an acceptable solution is reached. The use of a centralized parking system will have the following advantages: The central system will know the demand from all truckers and therefore predict parking availability/demand at future times more accurately than an individual user. Second, it can provide pricing incentives to balance supply and demand for parking in space and time. In order to develop and test the pricing system, the research team will use truck routing and scheduling algorithms developed in during previous projects.
These algorithms can account for several factors such as parking constraints, hours-of-service regulations and client time-windows, and will be able to generate a good estimate of how planners react to price changes under different scenarios. A parking price change, for example, may motivate planners to change their route for a lower cost parking in a location that is not on the initially planned route if their overall cost decreases.
The implementation of such a system will require that all truck parking areas are connected with a central coordinator, which is not the case today. However, technology is moving in a direction where such connectivity will be inevitable. The purpose of this project is to demonstrate how such connected environments can be used to develop systems that will improve efficiency and reduce costs to planners with positive impacts on the environment. The identified benefits will help accelerate the deployment of technologies toward a connected environment associated with truck parking.