Emergency lanes, motorway on- and off-ramps, driveways to rest stops or simply on the green. Today’s drivers, especially in the early morning or evening hours, will likely be confronted with illegally parking trucks and the associated danger to the traffic on the motorways of Germany. Searching for the culprit in the drivers only, however, would be a bit too simple. The cause of the problem above all is the blatant lack of parking space and the ineffective utilization of existing parking areas.
The use of digital systems can help to relieve the system and lead to a better distribution of the parking trucks. Professional drivers are legally required to periodically make mandatory breaks and rest periods. Thus the drivers are forced to park at certain intervals. One or the other can combine this with a ride home and spend his rest period there. However, for most professional drivers, the game starts over every day, and not everyone is lucky enough to find one of the legal spots, whether paid or free, before the end of their daily driving time. Then, of course, unauthorized driveways and emergency lanes have to serve as the last resort, very often to the annoyance of the other traffic participants.
In the scope of a study conducted by the University of Duisburg-Essen in cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce of Lower Saxony, the utilization of the truck parking spaces at a large travel plaza in Duisburg with 100 spaces was examined.
The result: At night and on weekends, the travel plaza is usually full.
Between 15 and 25 additional trucks, whose drivers can not find a regular parking lot, make use of the last meters of the driveway, in order not to have to park on the street, the traffic researchers noted. On average, 10 to 20 additional trucks were parked on the adjacent streets outside the plaza during the study.
The problem is simple, the solution unfortunately not: There are simply too many trucks and too few parking spaces.
According to the Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt, the number of trucks on Germany’s roads in 2017 amounts to 2.9 million vehicles. Due to its central location in Europe, Germany has also become a transit country for transports within the European Union. For years, efforts have been made on high-ways to provide more truck parking. But the problem remains a race against time, because the number of commercial vehicles on Germany’s roads is growing steadily. In the foreseeable future, the longed-for relief can not be achieved by more parking spaces alone. The speaker of the freight forwarding association VVWL in the most populous state NRW, Marcus Hover, is convinced of that.
According to official forecasts from 2010, truck freight traffic across Germany will continue to increase by up to 39 percent by 2030. European transit traffic follows this upward trend. According to the Federal Ministry of Transportation, around 43,000 truck parking spaces available in rest areas in 2015 correspond to this. 6000 more were under construction or in planning at this time.
Andreas Hoene from the Center for Logistics and Transport at the University of Duisburg-Essen sees one of the keys to the optimized and intelligent distribution of vehicles on existing and future truck parking spaces, in addition to the improved signposting of existing parking lots, especially in the use of digital parking guidance systems.
Another approach that has already been implemented, for example, through Bosch in Stuttgart, is the digitally controlled parking lot, involving the release of unused company parking spaces for third-party companies.
Some large corporations and logistics hubs, with a significant daily volume of truck traffic to pick up and deliver, are also coming forward with the provision of backup parking facilities for drivers to reduce queues and allow for rest periods.
Nowadays mostly free app offers for parking search are often maintained by the drivers themselves. However, this market will also continue to develop strongly in the coming years. The applications will be much more powerful and more commercial options will be added. In this, traffic experts agree.
For example, digital booking and reservation systems with an approximate arrival and departure time are possible.
PTV Truckparking BV has already recognized and responded to this demand. According to the manufacturer, „over 26,000 parking spaces and more than 600,000 parking spaces throughout Europe“ are listed in their free car park search app.
This makes the app Europe’s largest free platform for truck parking, says PTV.
In a press release the provider announces the next step: The platform is currently extended by a reservation function.
„This enables carriers and truckers to book safe parking facilities for their truck,“ says Niels de Zwaan, Managing Director of PTV Truckparking BV.