Transportation Secretary Beverley K. Swaim-Staley joined Maryland Motor Truck Association and I-95 Corridor Coalition announcing a new pilot program for emergency truck parking using designated park and ride lots, bringing the total number of storm parking options for trucks to 45 across the state.
MDOT also announced a new "mobile app" that gives truckers an easy way to navigate to these six new lots and to existing truck parking.
"Providing truckers with a safe harbor in a storm will keep drivers and truckers safe during severe winter weather and will be critical to allowing our road crews to clear the highways," said Transportation Secretary Swaim-Staley. "Using the latest technology to make the truck parking easy to find is just one more proactive measure toward keeping travelers safe during storms and allowing the transportation system to quickly return to efficient operation once the storm has passed."
The park and ride lots include facilities owned and operated by MDOT's State Highway Administration and the Maryland Transportation Authority, which will manage snow removal on the lots.
MMTA President and CEO Louis Campion and I-95 Corridor Coalition Executive Director George Schoener re-iterated the importance of offering their members alternative places to park their trucks if snow storms and accumulations on the highways make it difficult to safely maneuver.
"Snow emergencies often result in truck drivers scrambling to find a safe haven," said Campion. "MMTA applauds the Department of Transportation for undertaking this pilot to maximize available parking around the state for those professional drivers who find themselves on the road during major winter events."
Storm Parking Online
All the parking options are now much easier to access electronically, instead of traditional paper maps or viewing the on-line map. The regular and new emergency truck parking lots can be viewed in three different ways:
- an interactive map accessible from a personal computer's web browser,
- a downloadable pdf map to be viewed and printed and
- a mobile device application.
SHA developed the mobile/smart phone application that identifies the trucker's current location using the smart phone's internal GPS and nearby lots on the map. The nearby lots show location, exits and mileage from the trucker's location. On the mobile application, a truck's location is shown with a blue circle while regular truck parking options are shown with a green tab and the emergency truck parking in park and ride lots are shown with blue tabs.
Maryland State law requires mobile applications and texts to be read when not operating a vehicle, so truckers will need to view the application while fueling or stopped and off of the roadway.
The interactive desktop map offers the same map displaying regular truck parking in green and the emergency parking lots in blue. The interactive map also provides point-to-point directions to the lots, with a road map or satellite view.
In addition to the mobile application, the interactive desktop map and the downloadable PDF, MDOT and SHA will reach out to truckers through trade media, a targeted email blast to the industry and through the MMTA and the I-95 Corridor Coalition.
"I-95 Corridor Coalition is thrilled to offer support for long-distance truckers who may not know the area and feel uncomfortable going too far from the main highway," said I-95 Corridor Coalition Executive Director Schoener. "Keeping commerce moving along the corridor is critical to economic viability and recovery."
All three options can be accessed online, where you click on the truck icon to access the Emergency Truck Parking page. In order to download the map application on a mobile smart phone, users must have iPhone iOS 5+, iPad iOS 3+, Android 2.2+ or BlackBerry 6+. Instructions for downloading the map application also are available online.