Parking availability systems are shown to be useful for truckers
Due to the significant growth in commercial vehicle truck travel on our nation’s roads, truck drivers now face a shortage of parking spaces.
Five-axle trucks need specifically designed parking spaces to enable them to park legally. When stopping overnight, they need the amenities and electrification infrastructure to power the interior cabin. When they are driving from location to location trying to find adequate parking at the end of a long shift, this can quickly become a safety issue.
In America, the National Association of Truck Stop Operators (NATSO), the American Trucking Association and the American Transportation Research Institute launched a new app called the Park My Truck mobile app. It is available on both the iPhone and Google Play, and it has all 150,000 truck parking spaces available in more than 5,000 truck stops in the US. When you open the app, you can search for parking spaces for up to 250 miles from your current location. The app will allow any parking provider to report their availability and trucks, including those with truck camera systems, can park there.
The ATRI is running a survey with recruited drivers. The drivers are asked to keep a 14-day diary recording all their stops, how long it took to find a parking space, and information on location and amenities provided. It is hoped this data will provide valuable information about truck parking shortages. The ATRI also tested a truck parking availability system that 60 per cent of drivers thought was very helpful. The drivers preferred to receive information through road signs giving information 20 miles away from the rest area. With adequate advance warning of parking availability, drivers can plan their stopping location.
Information truck parking availability would greatly advance the ability of drivers to find safe, legal parking where they can rest. As parking spaces are at a premium, drivers who have truck camera systems are better able to park in the designated parking area and not take up value space.
The ultimate goal for NATSO is an electronic system that counts parking spaces nationwide, but this is years away from fruition. The shortage of spaces is being alleviated by major truck stop chains that are expanding across the country, adding an additional 4,100 spaces with new facilities by the end of 2017.