Over 4,000 industry stakeholders weighed in on ATRI's 2022 Critical Issues in the Trucking Industry report. Nearly half of those stakeholders were professional truck drivers. For the third year in a row, drivers cited the truck parking shortage as their biggest concern. And it makes sense when you do the math. An estimated 313,000 truck parking spaces are available nationwide. This equates to one parking space per 11 truck drivers. That's a significant trucking shortage.
The Reasons Behind the Truck Parking Shortage
So what’s causing this trucking shortage? A few different factors are at play.
1. The Growth of Freight Transportation
E-commerce and online shopping have been a booming industry for years. Their continued growth has contributed to more freight trucks on the road. That volume increase translates into stiffer competition for parking spaces.
2. Limited Investments in Infrastructure
Many parking infrastructures for trucks are still living in the past. There has not been substantial investment in expanding parking facilities to accommodate growing fleets. As these facilities age, truck parking grows more limited.
3. Adherence to Hours-of-Service Regulations
Mandated breaks mean that truck drivers need to access parking spaces on a more frequent basis to stay compliant with regulations. In the evenings, it is common for a surge of drivers to be looking for parking at the same time.
The Impact of the Truck Parking Shortage
Limited access to truck parking can be a source of distress for drivers. They can find themselves driving in circles to find a parking spot. This extra time behind the wheel can cause delivery delays and potential compliance issues. It’s also possible their only choice will be to park in a less-than-ideal location, which raises the issue of safety for drivers as well as other people on the road.
While drivers feel the immediate effects of the truck parking shortage, so do fleet managers. Unexpected delivery delays can harm customer satisfaction. The added stress and fatigue for drivers lends itself to lower job satisfaction. There’s the risk of compliance penalties and also increased operational costs.
The good news is that there are ways to get around the truck parking problem — with fleet management software being one of these solutions.
Possible Solutions for the Parking Shortage Problem
The truck parking shortage isn’t a problem that’s going to be solved overnight. But with the right strategies in place, companies can help move the needle in the right direction.
1. Strategic Planning & Scheduling
As you map out routes for your fleet, identify parking locations as part of that planning and scheduling process. When drivers are aware of parking areas in advance, they can spend less time searching for spots. They can also strategically plan their breaks to stay compliant.
2. Leverage Fleet Management Software
With fleet management software, fleet managers can optimize their routes to factor in parking availability. At the same time, drivers have access to tools so they can report any issues with finding parking spots. From there, fleet managers can step in and, using GPS tracking, help drivers locate a parking space.
3. Become an Advocate for Solutions
Earlier this year, new legislation emerged that would supply $755 million in grant funding to expand commercial truck parking capacity in the U.S. This legislation is a product of fleet managers and drivers advocating for change. By collaborating with industry associations and raising awareness of limited parking, your company can contribute to investment in more parking areas.
Understanding & Navigating the Truck Parking Shortage
Limited truck parking is a big hurdle from a safety and efficiency standpoint. Strides are being made to increase capacity and combat this trucking shortage. In the meantime, fleet managers have to find ways to support their drivers and their fleet operations amid the current truck parking shortage.
An investment in fleet management software helps the cause. Fleet management software gives fleet managers the tools to support drivers in accessing safe, suitable parking with less hassle and fewer delays. While your fleet operations encounter fewer disruptions, your drivers are more satisfied.
Azuga is proud to offer comprehensive fleet management software. Request a demo today!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is causing the truck parking shortage?
The main contributors to the truck parking shortage are the growing number of trucks on the road, limited investments in new infrastructure, and mandated breaks in conjunction with the hours-of-service regulations.
How is the trucking shortage impacting fleet management?
A shortage of parking spots for trucks is causing delivery delays, reducing fuel efficiency, and raising compliance complications. Limited parking also causes stress for drivers and can lead to job dissatisfaction.
How can fleet management software help in mitigating the trucking shortage?
Fleet management software helps fleet managers optimize driver routes to accommodate parking. They can also use GPS tracking to help drivers find a space to park based on their real-time location.