"The Truck Parking Diaries:" ATRI Releases Findings From Latest Truck Parking Studyby Jana Ritter - Published: 12/14/2016
The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has released the results of its Truck Parking Diary research, where roughly 600 commercial truck drivers kept diaries of their parking perils for 14 days. The participants were asked to provide detailed documentation of their challenges in looking for safe, available truck parking. Their collective diaries represent over 4,700 unique parking stops across the U.S.
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The key findings revealed that truck drivers looking for parking between 4-12pm faced more challenges that increased the time spent searching for a spot. One such challenge is that truck parking spaces are often taken up by non-commercial vehicles during the peak hours, forcing truckers to park in undesignated or unauthorized locations such as roadway shoulders or ramps. Specific findings revealed that 63.4 percent of parking attempts that took 15 or more minutes to find a space occurred between 4-12pm; 34.8 percent of attempts that took 15 minutes or longer occurred between 7 and midnight, while 28.6 percent occurred between 4 and 7 p.m. The truckers’ diaries also revealed that peak days for parking were Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. They spent the least amount of time searching for parking on Tuesdays, with 93 percent of attempts taking less than 15 minutes and just 13 percent of attempts taking over 30 minutes.
However, the ATRI calculated that drivers lose an overall average of 56 minutes of revenue time each day on the job either from parking earlier than they need to or simply the spent looking for parking. In addition to the frustration it causes drivers on a daily basis, the parking shortage is also found to be costing them to lose an average 9,300 revenue-earning miles each year, which equates to each driver losing $4,600 in annual wages. “The lack of available truck parking creates a lot of stress for me and my fellow drivers. And, as ATRI’s diary research shows, it’s a number of things – from lack of capacity, concerns over running out of hours, time limitations on parking in public rest areas and customers not letting us park in their facilities – that all combines to make this a perennial issue for us.” said Stephanie Klang, who is a professional driver for CFI and an America’s Road Team Captain.
The ATRI diaries also examined the potential for mandated Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) to add to the parking problem. The study revealed that drivers using ELDs were more likely to spend over 30 minutes looking for available parking than drivers without ELDs. “ELD leaves no room for dealing with full truck stops making it nearly impossible to preplan,” said a flatbed driver who participated in the study.
The ATRI also added a list of recommendations for industry stakeholders such as public sector providers of parking at rest areas, private truck stop operators and motor carriers to reduce the parking challenges faced by commercial drivers.