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.