Parking

When the economy is doing well, the number of trucks on the road is at a very high level.  Drivers of each of these vehicles need places to pull over for restrooms, mandatory 30-minute rest breaks, meals and in many cases a place to sleep safely.  Many shippers do not allow the vehicles to remain on their lots while drivers are sleeping.  This places a large responsibility on the industry (and society) to have places to park, especially at night. Industry surveys indicate that half the drivers spend an hour or more per day seeking parking spots.  That is a huge inefficiency in freight movement and a significant waste of fuel as well.

Benefits

Allows more time for driving without the driver having to worry about the availability of a parking spot.  This is also better use of fuel.

Challenges

It is very likely that a driver may need to violate the hours of service rules while seeking a parking location if all the spots are taken in a given area.  The other option of parking in an unsafe or non-designated spot for truck is not a good alternative.  If the driver annotates their log that parking is full, they can use “personal conveyance” to continue driving to find a safe parking location.

As states face budget constraints, one area that gets hit is support of rest areas on the highways.  Every time another rest stop is closed, dozens of trucks need to find new parking places for their mandatory rest periods.

The infrastructure cost including a sensor system to determine the number of vacant spots or throughput of vehicles is not simple or inexpensive.  A reservation system for a truck stop is not an inexpensive system to deploy and enforce as well.

Introduction & Rationale

The implementation of ELDs (Electronic Logging Devices) has created an environment in which it is critical for drivers to find parking before their Hours of Service have expired.

Available Systems

Florida’s Department of Transportation Truck Parking Availability System (TPAS for I-4 & I-95)

Pilot Flying J’s Prime Parking program myPilot app

Travel Centers of America Reserve-It! on the TruckSmart app

Truck Parking Information Management System (TPIMS): Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin (www.trucksparkhere.com)

Trucker Path smartphone application

Hotels4Truckers.com knows which hotels are equipped for truck parking, while requiring the driver to buy a room for the night