HOT TOPIC Park My Truck app helps find spaces in a crowded world
WASHINGTON, DC — Nowhere to park that rig? No problem. Beginning late summer, truck drivers who need to stop, park and rest will be able to use a free mobile app called Park My Truck to find available parking spaces with the touch of a button.
The smartphone app is a response to findings from organizations like the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), which ranks truck parking management as “one of the industry’s Top 5 most pressing concerns.”
All but 11 U.S. states have recorded issues with parking space availability for trucks.
“Federal and state governments have spent decades and millions of dollars researching truck parking and testing technology-based approaches to counting available spaces, but not one of these efforts has yielded nationwide data about parking availability,” said Lisa Mullings, president of the National Association of Truckstop Owners, known as NATSO.
Today’s Trucking has made inquiries into whether the new Park My Truck app may include Canadian locations, but has yet to hear back.
Developed by the Truck Parking Leadership Initiative, of which ATRI, ATA and NATSO are key members, the app’s makers are working
to encourage all parking providers, including truckstops, travel centers and rest areas to participate in the initiative by reporting the number of spaces available in their lots. Truck parking providers can contact NATSO at (703) 549-2100 or firstname.lastname@example.org to establish an account to provide truck parking availability.
“We are still many millions of dollars and years away from implementing an electronic system that can count parking nationwide,” Mullings added. “The problem is that drivers need information now. We don’t want to allow our pursuit of a perfect solution to prevent us from implementing a good solution today.”
The truck parking issue has become so pervasive that in March ATRI began asking drivers to keep 14-day parking logs to help document the true extent of the problem. Drivers will also log the amount of time lost in their duty day if they parked before running out of hours simply to secure available parking. ATRI hopes to release its report on the truck parking diaries in August.
“Access to safe truck parking is a critical issue for the trucking industry,” said ATA president and CEO Bill Graves. “It is important for America’s professional drivers to have access to safe parking so they can get their required off-duty rest.”
While parking availability is a critical issue for the trucking industry, so is finding safe and well-lit parking sites, particularly at night. In 2009, truck driver Jason Rivenburg was robbed, shot and killed while looking for parking. His killer was apprehended and the incident led to the creation of Jason's Law, which aims to enhance truck driver safety.