Truckers Like Reserved Parking — But Not Paying for It

September 21, 2015

By David Cullen

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Truck drivers are most interested in being able to reserve a parking space near major metropolitan areas. But nearly half of those recently surveyed are unwilling to pay to reserve any space.

That’s per the results of the Commercial Driver Perspectives on Truck Parking study just released by the American Transportation Research Institute.

ATRI collected information from more than 1,400 truck drivers on the use of private vs. public rest stops, preferred locations for reserved parking and the “value” of reserved truck parking.  Just over three-fourths (76.8 percent) of the respondents were from for-hire motor carriers and the remaining 23.2 percent were from private fleets.

The nonprofit research institute said the study “provides insight on a variety of driver issues, including the role that ‘reservation-for-fee’ [parking] systems may play, related space valuation and who should ultimately be responsible for truck parking fees.”

ATRI described the key findings as:

  • Reservation parking systems near large metropolitan areas would be the most desired
  • Nearly half of the 1,400 plus drivers surveyed would refuse to pay for parking reservations
  • Employee drivers prefer the motor carrier to pay
  • A “disconnect” exists between drivers' interest in parking reservation systems and their willingness to pay for them  

ATRI advised that respondents who do not use overnight truck parking were not excluded from all the survey analyses, pointing out that differences between drivers who use overnight truck parking frequently and those who use it less so could influence the results of this analysis.

The researchers intend to continue the data analysis and expand cross-factoring of different question responses. ATRI also noted that this survey did not include hybrid options, such as a subscription service, or refunded reservation deposits, which may have “a more positive reception” than offering reservation-for-fee systems.

“The survey results demonstrate that the reservation system concept, independent of pricing and payment responsibility, appears to have utility, particularly in areas where parking capacity is in highest demand,” stated ATRI.

The institute also said that “Carrier-paid reservation fees would aid the acceptance of a reservation-for-fee system by the crucial stakeholders– commercial vehicle drivers – and certain driver populations are inherently more accepting of reservation-for-fee systems than others.”

ATRI added that a “flexible” reservation-for-fee system would further drive acceptance. “Flexibility in reservation systems would account for delays caused by traffic, weather, and time spent at shippers/receivers that may prevent commercial drivers from reaching a reserved parking spot in time.”

"Understanding the expectations of trucking companies and professional drivers is of critical importance to truck stop operators," said Lisa Mullings, President & CEO of NATSO, the association representing truck stops.  "ATRI's analysis will provide important guidance to truck stops as they work to meet their customers' operational and safety needs."

A copy of Commercial Driver Perspectives on Truck Parking is available on the ATRI website.


  1. 1. lee lenard [ September 22, 2015 @ 10:01PM ]

    $ $ $ - Look @ Love's 2 lanes "air up" system that reduce # of fuel lanes at most of their a very expensive cost to "air up those tires". We are a very limited time away from having to pay for rest room use at major truck stops...all because we drivers make so much more money than the average working laborer. Next step is "toll gates" at truck stop entrances just to get in. We drivers, motor carrier owners, freight shippers and public at large need to put pressure on our Congressmen and Senators to force States that have closed numerous rest areas in the past 3 years to reopen and expand the number of public rest areas or loose Federal money that is rebated to the states from fuel taxes. If the states (most of whom are controlled by "Tea Party" politicians) who have closed rest areas refuse, then the Federal Government needs to resume control along the Federal Interstate system, upgrade, reopen and staff those rest stops. This helps the truckers, the traveling public and greatly reduces congestion at some poorly maintained truck stop facilities.

  2. 2. Dennis [ September 26, 2015 @ 07:42AM ]

    Lee Lenard I don't belong to any political party or faction. That did I feel the need to point out to you that Oregon and California are fast from Tea Party states and they are both closing rest areas. The people making those decisions cross all political lines.

  3. 3. Steve Boyd [ March 25, 2016 @ 06:51AM ]

    The reserved parking is ridiculous. If you want to make more money of of the truck drivers than you already do then charge for parking or 75gal fuel min. This would stop a lot of the local trucks from parking overnight when their day is done. I understand its convenient for them but when drive around a ta @ 3a and 15 spots are empty and reserved and then you see 5 dump trucks side by side its frustrating. Also make designated bobtail parking in small lot beside building because there are always tons of bobtails taking up trl spaces.

  4. 4. Glenn [ March 25, 2016 @ 07:06AM ]

    I like reserved parking and paying for it because I know when I head out that there are some places that will be out of the free parking before I get there. Reserved free parking would not work because people would put in claims on spots 'just in case'. I am amazed that the truck stops have empty paid spots and don't roust trucks who 'make spots' to avoid paying.

    Paid versus free doesn't deal with a shortage, but Steve Boyd had two good points about local trucks and bobtails. I tried to bobtail park recently at a stop and there were 4 bobtail spots. I was able to get one of them but there were also bobtails taking full spaces. Truck stops could be more efficient if they would see what ratio of bobtail to full size they have (or the shorter Class B trucks) but that would require having managers actually manage versus being glorified cashiers or hiding in a back office.


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