The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) released research on how truck drivers currently use truck parking availability systems, and their perspectives on how truck parking information is distributed.
The research is based on a survey of more than 1,100 truck drivers, and cross-tabulates findings from all sectors, age groups, experience levels and gender. The research was conceptualized by ATRI’s Research Advisory Committee (RAC), through their recognition that the numerous truck parking information systems being developed by public sector agencies are often based on disparate technologies and information distribution channels. The RAC believed that the lack of national standardization may be creating confusion and distrust of these potentially invaluable systems.
“This new research on driver issues and preferences toward truck parking information systems is hopefully a first step in developing a national driver-centric system, built on clear standards and approaches,” said Bill Hambrick, a professional driver for Werner Enterprises and an America’s Road Team Captain.
The research recognizes that the truck parking information systems are managed at a facility level but corroborates that long-haul interstate drivers are the preferred users of the system, and that the system designs, and approaches should not differ considerably across state lines.
Some conclusions from the report include:
- Parking Monitoring Technologies. Per the Minnesota field test, the ideal parking information system would utilize highly accurate, automated cameras to count available truck parking spaces. Digital imaging using cameras is highly accurate but relatively expensive; the Minnesota project’s costs increased due to the use of 3D cameras. Most importantly, video systems do not impact the pavement and substructure of the parking surface – which is important to government agencies when freeze/thaw cycles exist. In total, these factors make this technology implementable across the United States, particularly when lower cost 2D solutions are developed.
- Variable Message Signs. Most drivers, especially long-haul and inter-regional drivers, found that variable message signs were both useful and accurate. Being both useful and accurate indicates the necessity of variable message signs in any technological implementation, and should be standardized for all rest stops, both public and private, on major thoroughfares.
- Smartphone Applications. Applications are a popular way of receiving parking information, but different tools and information are provided by different applications. The varied truck parking information can lead drivers to install multiple applications – as evident in the 212 driver respondents to this survey with more than one application on their phone. This alone demonstrates a need for more comprehensive information, and improved standards for collecting and disseminating core truck parking information.
The full ATRI report is available for download here.