We all know that parking is one of the most pressing problems that our industry is facing. Major surveys conducted in the past few years, always list the parking shortage near the top. Many of the other problems on the list are regulatory in nature and cannot be solved by the private sector, however, the parking problem is one that can be mostly solved without government involvement.
A new group called the Truck Parking Leadership Initiative which was formed with representatives from the American Trucking Association, the National Association of Truck Stop Owners, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and the American Transportation Research Institute are working together to develop a free app called Park My Truck that can locate available parking for commercial trucks. Due to come out this summer, this app will allow parking providers to report their parking availability for free. With this type of cooperation within the industry, the app has a better than average chance of success.
Trucker Path, has already been helping drivers find parking though their app platform that is available on Google Play and the Apple App Store. They use crowdsourcing to solicit data from over one million users. The app is free, which attracts the massive amount of downloads. Then they have a vast, nationwide source of data that is input into their system for all to benefit from. The problem with the crowd-sourced available parking data is the lack of accuracy. Once a driver finds a place to park, they begin shutting down for the night and are not likely to update the app to reflect the current parking availability.
TruckSmart is the TA/Petro app that offers parking availability updates. Open the app and find the location where you want to stop. Here’s the information you’ll find for parking:
1. Reserved parking spaces available
2. Total parking spots
3. Estimated parking spots available
I’ve asked a few TA/Petro locations about how they gather their parking availability data. They either walk or ride their golf carts around the parking lot every three to four hours and estimate. It’s not that accurate, but it’s better than nothing.
The new Park My Truck app will definitely help the present parking situation. However, it's not a solution, but only a band-aid. More parking areas are needed and a real-time, accurate system for displaying parking spots using the very latest technology should be implemented. This problem will never go away in our lifetime. The only true solution will be autonomous trucks that operate continously without needing rest. But until then, let's work together to find safe parking.