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Canadian truckers say lack of quality parking affects operations, health

OTTAWA, Ont. -- More than 60% of truck drivers say they routinely have trouble finding parking or places to rest while operating in Canada, while an overwhelming majority report that facilities and basic amenities are lacking from public rest...

OTTAWA, Ont. — More than 60% of truck drivers say they routinely have trouble finding parking or places to rest while operating in Canada, while an overwhelming majority report that facilities and basic amenities are lacking from public rest areas and service centres across the country. The findings were reported in a Rest Area Research Project survey prepared for Transport Canada by Polytechnique Montreal and in consultation with the Canadian Trucking Alliance.

According to the survey, the majority of commercial drivers feel the supply of truck stops and rest areas is extremely low in Canada, particularly in northern Ontario, Southern B.C., large swaths of Alberta, and most large urban areas. The survey also found that drivers who have trouble finding a parking space say they must drive over their time limit to find one. While better food, showers and washrooms were identified as essential, drivers also pointed to a need for adequate cell phone coverage, Internet connections and security at parking facilities.

The survey, aimed at identifying locations where parking is lacking and how this shortage affects the work of drivers, found that 60.3% of drivers surveyed have trouble finding parking en route, while 48 % couldn’t find a place to stop near their final destination.

The survey found this lack of parking impacts drivers’ behaviour, as 49% of drivers report going beyond their planned location to find parking, occasionally causing some of them to surpass their available Hours-of-Service. (Drivers indicated they want more flexibility to comply with regulations when they can’t find parking). More than 42% say they have been told by an enforcement officer to move away from a non-designated parking space, while 88% said that there are not enough rest areas, roadside pullouts and turnouts, or safe havens for them to safely perform inspections.

The most popular ad-hoc parking locations are industrial properties, followed by shopping mall parking lots, vacant lots, roadside pullouts and weigh stations.

Most drivers reported that telephones, washrooms, adequate lighting and drinking water are lacking. Drivers would like to have more public centres equipped with cell phone service in remote areas, food service, showers and Internet. More than 40% of drivers also report that the operability of card lock outlets was unacceptable.

Eighty-seven per cent of drivers say they are willing to pay for showers, but not parking unless there is better security at the location (28%). Seventy per cent of drivers say they will pay up to $30 per night for the services.

A supplementary Transport Canada report – an “Environmental Scan of Truck Stop Needs at Rest Areas” – concluded that the rest stop shortage is expected to increase over the next few years in Canada and the US, and is a direct result of increasing truck traffic flows and general demand in trucking operations. The report also found that increases in truck sizes have decreased space availability, particularly along corridors which allow trucks with multiple trailers, such as long-combination vehicles (LCVs).

According to the report, strategies to address truck parking issues should include:
• Construction of additional truck parking spaces, where needed and financially feasible;
• The development of national-level guidelines for the spacing and design of public truck parking facilities;
• The use of ITS technologies to provide real-time information about the location and availability of truck parking spaces;
• Development of public-private partnerships to share or reduce facility construction and maintenance costs, as well as cost-effective options to redesign and rehabilitate existing facilities; and
• Addressing truck stop and driver security concerns.

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6 Comments » for Canadian truckers say lack of quality parking affects operations, health
  1. Brent Edinger says:

    Not only are there not enough rest areas in Canada, the ones that are available are small limited space for trucks. In the summer month when the RV season hits a lot of spaces are taken up by RV’ers! Why can’t they park in the auto areas of the rest stops instead of forccing the trucks to park there risking a fine?

  2. patrick says:

    Good point Brent, there needs to to be more talk/comments about this. If nothing said,then nothing done.

  3. Brent Edinger says:

    The worst provinces that I have been through for no parking are Saskatchewan and BC. Sask has absolutly no rest areas for trucks! The ones they do have are for cars and RV’s and you can barely get them in! Truckstops in Sask are minimal and small and fill up quickley, usually by 6pm. That leaves mall parking lots as an alternative and places like Walmart and Canadian Tire don’t like trucks parking in their lots!
    B.C. has a few rest ares that I have seen but you cant get a truck into all of them! Truckstops are a little more available but still fill up fast and are not overly big! There are drivers that pull over on mountain passes but you always risk the chance of being snowed in by morning in the winter months. I have found that by the time you find an overpass or empty lot heading to Calgary’ you may as well keep going. It’s only another hour from Banff anyway! Parking on an overpass never did appeal to me!

  4. marty says:

    This year i started refusing to take loads into western Canada for exactly this reason. i am 58 years old and need parking facilities WITH rest rooms. Western Canada is a third world country as far as the trucking industry is concerned. if they can’t send me west through a civilized country, the USA, i will stay home. Trucking in western Canada sucks, big time!

  5. frank schram says:

    Ladies,gentlemen and those of you inbetween there were lots of parking places available around north America till we started with H,O,S high fuel ptices and large corporations setting the rules so we do not have time to stop and support a privately run truck stop.we cannot expect a business person to operate a facility at aloss just so we have some where to poop.These places cost money and if not supported they will not be around.Pilotflying J and the fast food chains they have for healthy living just can not be everywhere. THANK GOD Oh and yes I have been able to locate and support small independent place with good food and friendly service on my travels with ease,just means the load arrives 2 seconds after I get there

  6. Darren says:

    Hello all one thing leads to something I had recently come
    across some even more interesting news.The idea is to let
    Drivers know if a parking spot is available ahead of time
    Via the good old computer. This news is shocking can you
    Imagine a herd of trucks screaming down i-94 to only just
    Pull in and Driver say Hey what do you drivers want.
    Anyhow to the point I agree that hos should be looked at
    As the onboard computer thinks it is smarter than the Driver
    Therefore should be able to find us a parking spot at 3am

    And for the people who have not experienced driving east
    Coast to west coast from oct to march saddle up with a
    Driver of your choice as you will see why all Drivers need
    Some rest what is it going to take,I for one would like
    To hear more positive meetings people meeting that is.

    Keep on Truckin

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