An array of technologies and applications used by truck drivers at the state level to locate and reserve parking spaces highlights the need for a standardized truck-parking information framework across the country, according to a new study.

A research report released on Monday by American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) emphasized that the way to get such a standard in place is to begin working with the National Association of Truck Stop Operators (NATSO), truck driver groups, state and federal agencies, and technology companies.

“A coalition of stakeholders could be convened to first validate and conceptualize a national truck parking information system architecture, or an expanded version of the U.S. DOT National Truck Parking Coalition could be tasked with setting up the framework,” according to the study. “This initial development step is critical to creating the foundation for an efficient and accurate truck parking information program, providing great value to millions of truck drivers throughout the country.”

Asked to comment on whether NATSO was open to partnering on the issue, NATSO spokesperson Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman told FreightWaves, “We always welcome the opportunity to work with ATRI on research specific to our industry.”

ATRI’s latest truck-parking research, based on a survey of more than 1,100 truck drivers, confirmed that long-haul drivers are the biggest users of systems within each state to locate parking capacity, but that there should not be major differences between the systems as drivers cross state lines. ATRI’s Research Advisory Committee (RAC) believes the lack of a national standard “may be creating confusion and distrust” among different systems, the study noted.

Truck parking apps used by drivers. Source: ATRI

It also found that while smartphone apps that track parking availability are popular, the varying information they provide can lead drivers to install multiple applications. “This alone demonstrates a need for more comprehensive information, and improved standards for collecting and disseminating core truck parking information,” ATRI stated.

A lack of truck-parking capacity has been a top industry concern among drivers since 2015, based on ATRI research, and the problem seems to be growing worse. Because drivers often park earlier to avoid bumping up against federal hours-of-service time limits while looking for a parking spot, the group estimated associated lost wages at over $4,600 annually per driver.

Over the past two years, Congress has been attempting to pass legislation that would set aside grant money to fund truck parking expansion projects.

In addition to NATSO, ATRI said that moving to a standardized national system would require “critical support” from the American Trucking Associations, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials, the Federal Highway Administration, and the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations.

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