The US trucking industry’s not-for-profit research organization has announced its involvement in a new freight and logistics industry initiative to help professional drivers find available truck parking, which is a major issue across the country that can affect road safety.
Beginning in late summer, truck drivers that need to stop, park and rest will be able to use a free mobile app called Park My Truck to locate important truck parking information and find available spaces. The app is being developed by the Truck Parking Leadership Initiative, of which the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) is a key member, along with the NATSO (National Association of Truck Stop Operators) Foundation, and the American Trucking Associations (ATA).
The Initiative was developed based on feedback from professional drivers, motor carriers and truck stop operators, who are all intimately familiar with truck parking availability as a critical need. Park My Truck allows any parking provider, whether public or private, to report their parking availability for free through the app, as it does not require any special technology except internet access.
Administered by the NATSO Foundation, Park My Truck will be accessible by internet or through smart-phone apps by all professional drivers, trucking fleets, or other industry participants. The participating groups encouraged all parking providers, including truck stops and travel centers, state DOT rest areas and others, to participate in the initiative by providing information and reporting the number of spaces available in their lots.
Truck parking operators, including private companies and state or other administrators of highway rest areas, will need only to have internet access and the ability to count available spaces, whether by observation or by electronic means. In a related initiative, ATRI is continuing to collect detailed truck parking diaries from hundreds of drivers who are tracking 14 days of their truck parking challenges. The analysis of the truck parking diary information will continue through June and ATRI hopes to release its report on the truck parking diaries in August.
“Our latest research has revealed that ‘managing critical truck parking’ ranks as one of the industry’s Top 5 most pressing concerns,” said ATRI’s vice president, Dan Murray.
“Through this technology, we will dramatically expand the scope of truck parking information available to drivers in an efficient, easily accessible format. It is gratifying to be part of a collaborative team that is generating real-world parking solutions for truck drivers and motor carriers alike.”
Lisa Mullings, the president of NATSO and the NATSO Foundation, commented, “Federal and state governments have spent decades and millions of dollars researching truck parking issues, and testing technology-based approaches to counting available spaces, but not one of these efforts has yielded nationwide data about parking availability. We are still many millions of dollars and years away from implementing an electronic system that can count parking nationwide. The problem is that drivers need information now. We don’t want to allow our pursuit of a perfect solution to prevent us from implementing a good solution today.”
ATA president and CEO, Bill Graves, added, “Access to safe truck parking is a critical issue for the trucking industry. It is important for America’s professional drivers to have access to safe parking so they can get their required off-duty rest. Efforts like this to inform drivers about the availability of parking spaces can only help drivers as they deliver our nation’s economy and move us forward. We look forward to working with truck parking providers, both public and private, to ensure that all drivers have access to this important information.”