Commercial Truck Parking and Other Safety Issues
Commercial truck parking is a safety issue, since trucks are involved in approximately 10% of all fatal accidents on interstates and parkways in Kentucky. Drivers experience schedule demands and long hours on the road, yet they cannot easily determine available parking locations. The objective of this study was to identify information related to parking demand, locations with documented or potential safety issues, and potential countermeasures. The literature review indicated substantial research has been done on commercial vehicle parking, and works have outlined the necessary facilities to accommodate trucks before drivers exceed their allowable hours of driving. Attention to commercial truck parking became a priority with SAFETEA-LU, and this focus continued with the inclusion of Jason’s Law as part of MAP-21.
Surveys were conducted to determine how frequently commercial vehicles used parking facilities on interstates in Kentucky. The surveys focused on the state’s two primary north-south interstates (I-65 and I-75). Data samples were also obtained from the other interstates in Kentucky (I-24, I-64, and I-71). Of the 4715 parking spaces surveyed during daytime observations, 2143 were in use, or 45 percent. Of 7,844 parking spaces surveyed during nighttime observations, 6803 were in use, or 87 percent. Crash data were analyzed for the period 2010-2013. Of 848 crashes that were either shoulder-related or fatigue-related, collision reports were reviewed. 239 crashes were related to commercial truck parking. Two-thirds of all crashes included in the analysis occurred on I-75, I-65, I-64, and I-71. Crash cluster locations appeared to be directly related to proximity and usage rate of parking facilities. To address truck parking demand and to improve safety, the following general recommendations were identified in the review of literature: 1) use public and private parking areas to increase capacity, 2) use ITS to improve use of parking facilities, 3) provide realtime information that informs truck drivers of parking facility locations with available spaces, 4) combine GPS tracking with electronic communication to notify truckers of nearest parking, and 5) monitor parking usage rates to determine future needs. Part of the literature review included recommendations from truck drivers. Based on observations at sites on interstates in Kentucky, several locations would benefit from increasing the number of parking spaces, including a number of locations on I-64, I-65, I-71 and I-75. Any site that had 90 percent or more of its spaces used during the surveys could be a candidate for an expansion of existing parking spaces or for development of a new facility to accommodate more parking.