Where do I park my truck? The search for parking spaces is becoming a daily negative experience for Europe’s truck drivers. A recent study illustrates potential methods of resolution. From January to November 2017, the heavy truck market in the EU grew by a total of 3.9 percent compared to the same period from the previous year. In Germany alone, around three million trucks are currently driving on the roads and highways. The search for a parking space has now become a perennial problem. Drivers have to strictly adhere to their rest periods, but often spend hours looking for suitable parking space. After years of litigation, the European Court of Justice ruled in December that truckers must not spend their regular weekly resting time in the vehicle. Instead, the drivers do have to park their trucks in parking lots, even when resting in hostels or hotels. The result: Long lines of trucks that reach all the way down to the freeways, crowded rest stops, and stationary trucks in inner cities. And not just that: The rapid increase of approved commercial vehicles in the EU is likely to make the problem worse. The University of Duisburg-Essen, together with the IHK Niederrhein, has taken stock of the situation and developed recommendations and solution approaches in the study “Ruhende Verkehre richtig steuern” or “Efficiently manage idle traffic”.The core issue is and remains the fact that both municipalities as well as tradespeople are faced with the great task of housing the masses of trucks in need of parking – after all, a truck driver spends many hours a day waiting in order to meet the prescribed rest periods.
Shared parking provides only limited relief
The authors of the study have specific recommendations: In addition to the expansion of truck parking spaces at rest areas along highways, requirements of State and Federal government also include an openness to public-private partnership models such as the expansion of parking spaces at truck stops. The municipalities and districts have to consider the problem over the long term. The increased control of parking regulations in private and commercial areas, as well as the optimization of signage in the local area, are just a few of the measures required. Another option is what’s known as shared parking, in which companies share their existing parking area for commercial vehicles. If parking area becomes available at a company on short notice, it can be communicated as vacant and thus alloted to other drivers. “In the long term, of course, it’s about creating new additional parking area,” says Prof. Dr. med. Bernd Noche from the Centre for Logistics and Traffic (ZLV) of the University of Duisburg-Essen, who was also involved in the study.
It will not be cheap
Peter Brandtner, Country Security Manager DHL Freight Germany & Austria, thinks shared parking is a good solution, but has doubts about its implementation and fears additional costs for companies: “At our 40 branches in Germany, in addition to the already limited parking possibilities, we have, for example, no sanitary facilities that can be used by external drivers, because terminals are usually built in such a way that 100 percent internal utilization is achieved. In addition, the question arises of who takes over the liability for these drivers and parked trailers with goods. In order to account for the costs of what would then be absolutely necessary security, an enormous number of vehicles would have to be expected to park in our complex. “