The passage of Jason’s Law and a greater awareness of the problems that lack of safe truck parking creates have led some states to roll out new initiatives for providing truckers with real-time truck parking info. The use of truck parking available apps has increased recently in reaction to the ongoing shortage, as well. Last week the American Transportation Research Institute released a new report on truck parking availability apps and truck parking information systems, which are designed to help truckers find safe and secure public parking. ATRI’s new study is based on responses it received from truckers at the 2019 Mid-America Trucking Show and on ATRI’s website. A total of 1,103 drivers completed the study. Of those, 68 percent have 11 or more years of experience as commercial drivers. 

Check out these four takeaways from ATRI’s new truck parking study. 

1. The Use of Truck Parking Availability Apps Has Grown, Most Popular Among OTR Truckers

In the survey, ATRI asked drivers if they’d used a truck parking availability app in the previous 12 months. Of the truckers who participated in the survey, 57.3 percent said that they’d used an app to find parking. This was up slightly compared to similar research conducted three years previous. Those truckers with longer average trip lengths were, of course, more likely to need truck parking than local or regional drivers. In fact, 65 percent of long-haul truckers said they’d used truck parking apps over the last year. Drivers working for larger fleets also were more likely to use truck parking apps, with 65 percent of those working for carriers with 1,000 trucks or more reporting usage of truck parking availability apps.  

2. Younger/New Truckers, Women More Likely To Use Truck Parking Availability Apps

No surprises here, but nearly 70 percent of drivers under the age of 45 reported that they’d used a truck parking availability app over the last 12 months. Those drivers with five years or less of driving experience were two times more likely to report using a truck parking availability app than drivers with 11+years of experience. Approximately 82 percent of drivers under the age of 25 said they’d used a truck parking availability app this year. Also worth noting is that 66 percent of the female truckers surveyed said they’d used a truck parking app in the last 12 months, compared to 56 percent of male truckers.

3. Variable Message Signs on Highway Help Truckers with Parking

Survey-takers also were asked about variable message signs (VMS), a solution that several states and regional associations have implemented to help address the truck parking shortage. These electronic roadside signs provide truckers with information on whether parking is available at upcoming rest areas, as well as how many truck parking spaces currently are available. Most VMS systems use magnetic trip wire monitors, cameras and/or pavement detection grids to monitor truck parking availability. More than 70 percent of the truckers surveyed reported seeing VMSs with truck parking information. Truckers reported seeing the signs most often in the states of Ohio, Kentucky, Florida, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. The survey also found that 70 percent of truckers find VMSs useful in helping them find truck parking.

4. Accuracy Matters 

While 70 percent of truckers said they find VMSs useful, 53 percent of those surveyed said they hadn’t taken action based on the information provided on the signs. According to the survey, drivers who didn’t take action after reading the signs did so because they were worried about the accuracy of the information. Accuracy also was the reason given for continuing to use a truck parking availability app and inaccuracy the reason for discontinuing use of certain truck parking apps. Survey respondents said that accuracy, the ability to reserve parking spaces in advance and convenience are what they value most in a truck parking app.

Read How To Find Truck Parking with the Trucker Tools Mobile App to learn about the three different ways you can find truck parking with Trucker Tools’ free app. To download the Trucker Tools app, visit https://www.truckertools.com/web/carriers/