The daily search for parking spots is definitely a problem for truck drivers. There is still a lack of appropriate truck stops along the motorways throughout Europe and the regulations on driving times and rest periods do not give much leeway. PTV Group, the transport software specialist, now wants to help drivers by offering a web-based search application that is free of charge. The new Truck Parking Europe app provides a list of more than 10,000 parking options along the main roads in Europe.
The Truck Parking Europe application, which will officially be launched in November, helps users to find and rate truck parking facilities in Europe. PTV Group, a German transport software specialist with headquarters in Karlsruhe, Germany, has collected and edited the basic data which can now be complemented and refined by the truck driver community. In contrast to navigation systems which also show parking spaces, this application was specifically designed to support commercial vehicle traffic and therefore shows truck parking locations only. Information on parking space for passenger cars is not included.
This is how it works
The Truck Parking Europe app can be downloaded free of charge. It is now available for iOS devices. The app for Android will follow in December 2013. Users simply have to look for 'Truck Parking Europe' in their app store and download the app. Once installed, they can use it right away. Everyone can view and use the search function on the digital map. Those who want to post a comment or add information can register by using their individual Facebook, GooglePlus or Twitter access data. The community can thus actively shape the truck parking environment. For route planning to the selected parking location, drivers can use their mobile device; it can be directly started from the application.
Value added services for freight forwarders and transport companies
This truck parking information platform is a permanent service that is provided by PTV free of charge. It is also planned to provide schedulers with free access to all collected and validated data which will then be available on their trip planning software tools. This allows logistics service providers to plan precise routes, including driving and rest times, and to identify further optimisation potential.
Information is the trump card
In addition to the official parking spaces available for trucks (still not enough facilities), Truck Parking Europe provides information on the supply of additional commercial vehicle parking spaces which can often be found off the main roads. However, drivers who are not familiar with the local conditions do not know where they are located. The new app helps the user to find these spaces by displaying them on a digital map, including distance information and average rating. All important background information and facilities are shown with just one click:
Drivers can see at a glance what is offered at these stops:
- Category Comfort: Showers, accommodation, restaurants, Internet hotspot, lavatories and medical care
- Category Safety & Security: Fences, video surveillance, floodlights, 24/7 monitoring, police station
- Category Infrastructure: Petrol station, truck wash and truck repair shop
Benefit from insider tips
Truck Parking Europe is a "learning" system. All data stored to the app can and should be checked, edited and evaluated by the truck drivers themselves. Moreover, they can recommend parking spaces that their colleagues might not yet know about. With just one click they can add new truck stops and the corresponding attributes and then share the information with their community.
Safe and secure parking – for sure.
Public rest areas lack adequate parking space for the dramatically increasing number of commercial vehicles. Therefore, many drivers park their vehicles in no stopping zones or on entrance and exit ramps or acceleration lanes – a risk factor that should not be underestimated. A secure parking space in a peripheral industrial area that is still close enough to the main arterial roads is certainly a better solution for everyone. There is another security aspect that needs to be considered: how safe and secure are drivers and their cargo when stopping for rest breaks? Policymakers are strongly committed to providing additional secure parking space, but they often encounter stiff opposition from local communities. Truck Parking Europe now allows drivers to share good and bad experiences and to distinguish between very good, secure and bad parking facilities thanks to valuable information provided by their community members.
Involvement on the political and industrial front
On the political front, this issue is being pushed forward by Peter Ramsauer, the Federal Minister of Transport. He has continuously invested in the provision of new truck parking space and promised to expand truck parking capacity even further. However, the implementation of the first pilot project will last until 2015. Ramsauer wants to offer new truck parking information systems and thus add value to navigation devices and smartphone apps in the long term.
With its new Truck Parking Europe solution, PTV Group has already made a valuable contribution to improving the current situation. "With the new app we help alleviate truck parking shortage. First, the app helps drivers to find appropriate parking space, in particular parking availability near the motorway in order to be able to avoid crowded rest areas. Then, it provides information on quality and services so that drivers know what to expect," says Frank Felten, Head of Product Management and Software Development Logistics Software, PTV Group. "Our aim is to continually enhance this information platform. To this end, we will continue to integrate new data from and interfaces to information and service providers. There is considerable room for improvement, in particular regarding security as well as reservation and booking solutions." It is planned to display parking availability in real time as early as November.
With its pictoral design it creates a pleasant and intuitive user experience so that drivers of any nationality can use it easily. It will be available in eight languages (German, English, French, Dutch, Polish, Czech, Italian and Spanish). The search and assessment functionalities are completely language-independent.