As much progress as has been made with Jason’s Law, state efforts to publicize available parking, and regular industry surveys on safe truck parking, the fact remains that there are too many trucks and not enough parking spaces when a driver’s available driving hours are up.
Some believe there are enough spaces in the country, they are just not where they are needed, unfortunately. A TruckerPath report in 2017 found that drivers lose approximately $600 in wages per month due to lost miles driving around looking for a place to park. That same survey found that 79% violated hours-of-service rules because they could not find parking.
The impact of the electronic logging device (ELD) regulation has exacerbated this problem, as drivers can no longer drive around looking for spaces, so they either find a space and park earlier – estimates say drivers lose 54 minutes per day looking for safe parking – or they park wherever they can, often on the side of on- and off-ramps, mall parking lots and abandoned lots.
According to the American Transportation Research Institute’s (ATRI) Critical Issues in the Trucking Industry 2018 report, 48.7% of respondents said the parking shortage leads to them parking on ramps or the side of the highway between three and five times a week.
It is exactly these types of places that got Jason’s Law started, named after truck driver Jason Rivenburg, who was killed one night while parked at an abandoned gas station. The original study identified the national inventory of truck parking, but few projects have added to that inventory since that 2015 study was released.
The U.S. Department of Transportation is in the process of updating the study.
For many truckers, the only safe solution to this problem is paying to reserve parking spaces. The major travel stops have reservation systems for a portion of their available spots, but most trucking companies do not reimburse drivers for that expense.
ATRI’s 2018 report listed truck parking as the number five overall issue for the industry; drivers ranked it number two while fleets placed it ninth. The 2019 report will be published shortly, but it’s safe to assume parking will remain a Top 10 issue for the industry.
TruckPark founder and CEO Anthony Petitte has been growing his business since its official launch in the Chicagoland area in 2017. TruckPark provides technology that allows truck drivers to reserve a space in a lot operated by a partner company. That latest partner is Storemytruck.com.
“This is the beginning of something incredible, in the next two years we will be adding more than 10,000 new truck parking spaces available to our users,” Petitte said. “We are very excited for this phenomenal partnership. Adding additional parking facilities will not only increase our supply but provide more safe and secure parking for drivers with dedicated routes in the South and Southeast.”
Storemytruck.com is a parking lot owner located primarily in the Southeast as of now, with a large presence in the Atlanta and Charlotte areas, as well as North and South Carolina, Alabama and Florida. The current agreement with TruckPark opens up locations in Atlanta, as well as in North and South Carolina to drivers.
As of this announcement, the partnership will add 40 locations to the TruckPark platform, but Petitte said that more than 100 locations will be added over the next two years through the agreement.
“The additions will expand across the U.S.,” Petitte told FreightWaves. “We plan to be in every state [and city] with a high density of logistics – Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Phoenix, Houston, Dallas, Denver, northwest Arkansas, New York City, Baltimore, Norfolk, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and more.”
In the 2018 ATRI report, respondents offered three possible solutions to the truck parking problem:
- Create or expand parking locations along heavily trafficked locations
- Educate the public on the safety impact of closing public parking facilities or failure to develop plans for truck parking.
- Research the role and value of real-time truck parking information availability and truck parking reservation systems.
ATRI found that the number of drivers turning to reservation systems had increased from 7.2% in 2017 to 11.7% in 2018.
“Leveraging technological advancements to develop real-time truck parking solutions was the preferred strategy for a small, but growing percentage of respondents,” ATRI wrote. This reflects “the considerable public sector interest and investment in these systems.”
TruckPark is trying to help drivers find parking with its app. The partnership with Storemytruck.com provides real-time visibility of secure parking spaces that can be reserved by drivers through the TruckPark app. Once a space is reserved, it is that driver’s spot.
There are an estimated 300,000 parking spaces for truckers in the country; Love’s Travel Stops has about 33,000 parking spaces and TravelCenters of America operates approximately 47,000 in 43 states. About 14% of TravelCenters’ spaces are available for reservations on a nightly basis.
TruckPark is working with existing lot owners that may have availability on a nightly basis to make those spaces available to truckers, potentially opening up tens of thousands of additional spaces not currently available to trucking.
Here’s how the system works: A driver in need in parking goes to the app and enters their zip code. A map (and detailed list) shows up listing locations that have available parking. The driver enters their credit card information (or logs in if they are already on file) and reserves a space. Once the driver arrives at the lot, they confirm the space with the attendant and are allowed to park their truck.
Prior to the Storemytruck.com announcement, TruckPark had locations in the Chicago area as well as Florida, Georgia, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas. Storemytruck.com adds an additional 40 locations immediately prior to the future expansion plans.
In June, TruckPark reached a strategic agreement with consulting company M2 Transportation Group to help it develop new locations along the East Coast.