Aaron Marsh, Fleet owner, 8/21/2015 – The results of a national survey released last Friday morning, Aug. 21 confirm it: most states have problems year-round with inadequate truck parking. Along with the survey findings, the Dept. of Transportation announced a new coalition that’ll be focused on this national problem and discussed initiatives on the way to help.

“If [the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration] is to succeed at its life-saving mission, we must do better on this issue,” FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling said at a media briefing. “We recognize locating a safe and convenient place to park and rest as a problem, and we are taking actions to address this issue.”

Darling noted FMCSA is in the second phase of a Smart Park initiative that’s piloting parking assistance systems and communications to help drivers find available spots. The systems will draw from features already employed in places like airport parking lots that have sensors and signs indicating open spaces and apps that can guide cars to available parking in a range of U.S. cities.

“We want the system to safely and efficiently communicate with truckers and guide them to safe, available parking spaces,” he added. In addition, Darling said FMCSA will provide grants to help states purchase equipment like cameras, sensors and other devices that would monitor truck parking spots and signal drivers if they’re available or not.

Some of the most telling information came from truck drivers themselves. More than 75% of drivers and 66% of logistics personnel report problems finding safe parking for needed rest, and fully 90% of truck drivers say they have problems finding safe parking at night. The problems are more pronounced on weekdays.

Additional findings from the survey include:

  • Nighttime presents the most difficulty overall for truck drivers to find parking.
  • Truck parking shortages are most acute on major highway corridors and in urban areas.
  • Adverse weather conditions can have “a significant impact” on available parking capacity, availability and safety.
  • Regulations and restrictions related to hours of service rules “can be a challenge for drivers when a trip is delayed or changed but rest hours are necessary.”
  • States lack resources for parking projects and enforcement, but also an understanding of key industries and supply chains to anticipate and plan for parking needs.
  • Planning and zoning in various municipalities is a challenge in developing truck parking facilities.
  • Safety can be reduced due to the mix of trucks and passenger vehicles at parking facilities.

The full survey results are available at www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/infrastructure/truck_parking.

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