Research conducted along an East Coast freight corridor found that truckers are missing out on open parking spaces due to a lack of visibility of what’s available, and drivers’ perception, based on trucks already parked along the side of the highway, that all spots are taken.
“The most influential factor — or the dominant factor — that affects a driver’s decision to park in the authorized or unauthorized area is other trucks parked outside of the parking lot upon their arrival,” said Jack Kong, an assistant research scientist at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, during a Jan. 9 panel on truck parking held during the Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting.
Attempting to learn more, Kong and his team researched parking area utilization at the I-95 North welcome center in Laurel, Md. They wanted to see if drivers took advantage of available parking spots at the site. They used on-the-ground data collection and satellite images to compare trucks parked on the side of the highway and ramp with trucks parked in authorized parking areas.
“We found out that for some parking sites — at a certain time — there are available spots in the parking sites, but truck drivers still choose to park and rest in undesignated parking areas,” Kong said.
The research found that drivers were parking in unauthorized areas because of a perception that there were no more authorized spots. This is due, he said, to incoming drivers seeing what other drivers were doing.
“There’s a dilemma here for the truck drivers as well as for law enforcement because after a couple of hours of driving, the drivers are tired and they’re supposed to take a break, but they cannot find the parking space,” Kong said.
He also suggested that by utilizing existing databases and technology, drivers can be better informed whether a given parking area has open spots.
Truck parking is easily in the top 5 issues truck drivers face on a daily basis. Thankfully there are legislations being discussed to help mitigate this. This study further proves that this is an issue and maybe soon we will see some of these legislations put into effect.
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