Understanding Truck Parking Behavior and Choice of Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators: Impacts on Roadway Safety
Al-Bdairi, Nabeel Saleem Saad
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It is nationally recognized that commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operators often cannot find adequate and safe parking for rest purposes. This is especially true for the Pacific Northwest, where high-use corridor rest areas are experiencing demand for truck parking that exceeds capacity. These rest areas are intended for short-term safety breaks, yet they are increasingly used for long-term parking. With this in mind, the present study sought to identify the factors that influence CMV operator truck parking behavior and choices through the application of discrete choice modeling approaches. This was achieved through the use of a truck driver survey regarding their experiences related to the availability of safe and adequate parking. The survey was geographically focused on drivers and freight activity throughout the Pacific Northwest in order to make better inferences about truck parking along the study corridor. The data and information collected were then utilized to estimate a binary outcome (logit) model to evaluate how different factors, obtained from the driver survey, affect drivers’ likelihood of finding safe and adequate parking, from their perspective. Results showed that drivers of less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments and weekend shipments, and older drivers perceived having significantly fewer challenges finding safe and adequate parking. Findings from the current study can be used to better prioritize efforts across the country in regard to safe and adequate truck parking. The findings of this study can also provide information that can aid safety planners and the trucking industry in identifying appropriate measures to help mitigate the number and severity of crashes due to unsafe truck parking practices by CMV operators.