Researchers have shown support for truck parking detection devices. According to the research, truck parking detection technology can help haulers find available parking spots more efficiently.

After the ELD mandate implementation, the shortage of parking spaces in the country is making it tough for CMV drivers to adhere to the Hours of Service (HOS) rules. According to a research analyst, Caroline Boris of the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), drivers are often pressed for time to find parking spaces before reaching their HOS limits.

The latest ATRI report also reveals that the scarcity of truck parking spots is the fourth biggest issue in the trucking industry.

Unauthorized parking

According to an ATRI study, 36.5 percent of drivers said that they parked in unauthorized areas, such as the side of a highway, three to four times in a week because they could not find parking areas.

Boris, along with Wei Sun, a researcher for the Transportation Institute of the University of California, and Sarah Hernandez, assistant professor of civil engineering at the University of Arkansas, presented their findings at the Transportation Research Board (TRB) 97th Annual Meeting.

The meeting took place on January 8 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

The TRB Annual Meeting ran from January 7 to 11.

Boris said: “Sometimes drivers do it because they don’t know where truck parking is. They stop because they run out of time.”

Proposed solutions

As solutions to the drivers’ parking problem, Boris proposed the following:

  • Lengthening the time given to truck drivers to park at public rest areas
  • Allowing parking at weigh stations
  • Reducing zoning laws that state who can park at private stops

Boris, however, said weigh station officials have aired their reservations over allowing trucks to park on site as they were worried about illegal activity and custodial costs.

The ELD mandate, which took effect on December 18, has amplified the scarcity of trucking spots and pushed the problem into the spotlight for industry stakeholders and administrators to resolve.

Boris recommended a “hybrid solution” involving the establishment of more truck parking spaces and investing in technology that points out available slots.

Wei Sun, for his part, said that he, Boris, and Hernandez, have studied devices that count trucks parked at rest areas. The researchers tested three systems to detect parking availability at two rest areas off Interstate 75 in Florida.

The parking systems used both in-pavement sensors and data collection devices mounted on poles, and the researchers found that the three systems had an accuracy rate of more than 95 percent.

Sun and his fellow researchers also collected “video ground-truth data,” which monitored the ingress and egress of vehicles. With the help of the video data, Sun said they found that CMVs made up 88 percent of vehicles parked in designated spaces for trucks.

About five percent were recreational vehicles (RVs), and others were passenger vehicles and motorcycles.

Being able to communicate with truck drivers for parking availability information helps them make better decisions and avoid unnecessary stops,” Sun told the TRB.

To do this, it is important to implement vehicle detection technology,” Sun added.

In 2017, the Washington Trucking Associations highlighted the shortage of trucking spots. The WSDoT has also created a map that helps commercial drivers find available truck parking spots throughout Washington State and also highlights other facilities that are available, e.g., showers, fuel, electrified parking spaces, vending machines, food services, etc.

How Motive helps

The ELD mandate is in full effect. Until the relevant authorities create more parking spaces for trucks, commercial drivers and fleet managers will have to improve the way they plan their trips.

The Motive Electronic Logbook App has a very intuitive and user-friendly Hours of Service clock that shows drivers exactly how much time they have left in their shift and cycle so that they can plan their trips and parking times accordingly. The Motive App shows four clocks that automatically calculate:

  • The time left until you need to take the 30-minute break
  • The time left until your driving limit is reached
  • The time left until your shift ends
  • The time left in your 60- or 70-hour cycle

You can download the Motive Electronic Logbook App for free from Google Play Store or Apple iTunes Store. The Motive App is the highest-rated mobile elog app with over 12,000 5-star reviews.

You can now buy the Motive ELD online.

The Motive ELD is FMCSA-registered, easy to use, and has numerous fleet management features for fleets of all sizes.