For truckers, the challenge of finding available parking can be arduous. This isn’t a new problem; in fact, it’s been an issue for truck drivers for years and is now worse than ever before. High freight volumes paired with lower fuel costs has led to more shippers choosing to transport their goods via road, increasing tractor-trailer congestion and equating to trucks far exceeding number of parking spaces. Freight volumes are expected to continue to grow over the next 11 years by 29%, making a bad situation even worse.
Hours of Service has also affected the parking problems since it’s mandatory for drivers to take breaks after a certain amount of driving hours. However, many drivers struggle to find an actual place to stop and rest. In turn, sometimes drivers have to drive longer to find places to park. A U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Highway Administration study found that nearly half of drivers surveyed reported that a lack of available parking has forced them to continue to drive2. On the flip side, if drivers stop and park anywhere, they could be a safety hazard to other drivers or in a place where they aren’t safe themselves. Drivers face parking problems all day, all year long. As the problem becomes more apparent, many organizations are working to alleviate the problem.
Smart Park – Parking Smart on a National Level
DOT announced this past August that they will be working towards alleviating this issue. Attention of the issue has been brought to the federal level to move towards equipping drivers with the tools and spaces to be safe and responsible. Part of the DOT plan to address the parking situation is to develop a coalition. One of the coalition’s initiatives is Smart Park, a parking assistance system that communicates with drivers to help them find safe and available parking3. Drivers will be able to communicate in advance by calling the service to find available parking instead of having to drive around and search.
Truck’N Park in the Northeast
The Northeast has proven to be one of the worst areas for parking. A recent study ranked Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, and New York in the top five of the worst states to find parking4. In the heart of this area lies Interstate 95. Like Smart Park, there is a similar project underway specifically for the I-95 corridor called Truck’N Park. This commercial truck parking location system will provide information on available parking. Drivers can visit i95truckparking.com where they can get real-time information on availability. There, they can also set up a system to get automatic call updates for certain locations5. This tool can help drivers better plan their trips.
LOVE Spreads Love Through Expansion
Some rest stops have recognized the issue and are moving towards finding resolution. For instance, LOVE’s travel stops have announced that they are expanding and offering more to their visitors. In 2015 they opened 27 new locations, which added more than 2,000 parking spots. This year they are expecting to open an additional 40 new locations across 28 states. These expansions are planned to add 3,200 parking spots6.
The problem of parking spot capacity has been recognized on many levels throughout our government. Progress has been made through new technologies and expansion and this is just the beginning. We hope that these coalitions and representatives will continue to work toward improving the driver experience.