Truck Parking Crisis

U.S. Financial Services Company Creates New App to Address Truck Parking Crisis

According to FreightWaves journal, monitored by Truck Driver News, the Financial services company Finloc 2000, which specializes in freight transportation equipment, was reported to have been working on a new mobile app aimed at solving the challenges of truck parking in the United States. The growth of the number of truckers on the roads over the past two decades, in addition to hours-of-service regulations, has created a struggle for drivers seeking overnight parking.

In March 2023, Pete Buttigieg, the Transportation Secretary, informed Senate lawmakers on Capitol Hill that his department and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are making a renewed effort to bolster lackluster participation in the FMCSA’s pilot program for 18-20-year-old drivers.

The three-year program, which got underway last summer, is intended to accommodate up to 1,000 carriers and 3,000 apprentices.

Buttigieg was at the hearing to defend DOT’s $145 billion budget request, which provides $76.1 billion for highway, highway safety and transit formula programs. That amount includes $60.1 billion for the Federal-Aid Highway Program, an increase of $1.3 billion compared to the 2023 enacted level for repairing and upgrading highways and bridges.

When asked about the lack of truck parking and whether he supported a competitive grant program specifically to expand that capacity, Buttigieg said the issue is one of the first raised when talking to drivers.

“And it’s not just a matter of convenience. It’s a matter of safety,” he said. “It means as a driver is on their route, they see they’re getting to the limit of their service hours. They’re faced with either having to stop short [of their work limit] and lose income — if there’s even a space nearby — or park in an unsafe place.”

Regarding a dedicated funding program, the House chamber introduced a bill in January that would provide $755 million over the next four years specifically for truck parking expansion.

“We welcome a dialogue [on dedicated funding],” Buttigieg said. “In the meantime, we’re using the funding we already have for this purpose.” That includes infrastructure grants for truck parking expansion in Florida and Tennessee.

However, Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., had informed Buttigieg during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on Thursday that participation in the program is “alarming” after a hearing from a recent FMCSA briefing that just 21 carriers and four apprentices had so far been approved for the pilot.

“We would like to see better participation,” Buttigieg responded, noting the latest data shows 22 motor carriers approved and another 22 that FMCSA has approved but are working through the approval process.

“[To help bolster the ranks] we’re making [pilot program] information available to 1,500 carriers that meet the safety requirements,” he said. “We also had a video campaign in February, and we’re using social media and outreach to the 2023 high school graduating class. We are very interested in getting the level of participation that will give us good data to continue in this direction without compromising safety.”

Transportation also told the Senate lawmakers that he supported recent legislation introduced in the Senate that would accelerate the deployment of heavy trucks powered by hydrogen fuel cells when asked about it by Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., one of the bill’s sponsors.

“It’s one thing for cars [to be zero-emission]; the story is more complicated for trucks,” Buttigieg noted. “In addition to the trucking and fuel infrastructure discretionary grant program we just put out, I would certainly be interested in expanding the support for this technology. There’s no question hydrogen will become more important.”

Holding Railroads Accountable

Buttigieg was asked several times about the East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment, his support for the recent Railway Safety Act introduced in the Senate after the accident and what the Biden administration is doing to prevent future rail accidents.

The Federal Railroad Administration’s budget, while put together before the accident, does include more money for federal rail inspectors and research and development, Buttigieg said.

“I don’t want to get ahead of the NTSB [National Transportation Safety Board] investigation, which may take a year or more, but I would say, broadly speaking, we need more and not less rigorous standards for railroad safety,” he told the committee. “That may include technologies like wayside detection devices and approaches like the added requirements for high-hazard flammable trains.

“And we need better enforcement capabilities so that we can make sure railroads are accountable. Right now, a multibillion-dollar railroad might face just a six-figure fine even if found responsible for an egregious violation resulting in loss of life. We don’t believe that’s enough to get their attention. The Senate’s legislation would add teeth to that enforcement.”

U.S. House Transportation Committee Approves $755M to Expand Truck Parking

Furthermore, On May 23, according to FreightWaves publication, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved $755M to expand truck parking. 

According to the report, the U.S. Legislation to invest $755 million over three years to expand truck parking in the U.S. advanced in the House on Tuesday after an opponent won assurances that the money would come from funds already authorized by Congress.

U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., during a debate in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act. The legislation introduced earlier this year in both the House and Senate said, “Much has been made of the shortage of truck parking without looking at the underlying issue: namely, the onerous hours-of-service regulations imposed on our nation’s commercial drivers, forcing them off the road into full parking lots.”

Perry, who called the bill a “boondoggle,” said he and his constituents “want to be informed before we encumber the U.S. taxpayer to pay for this. If there’s not a pay-for, I’m offering it.”

Perry, however, offered an amendment that would rescind that amount from the Neighborhood Access and Equity Grant Program. This Inflation Reduction Act provision allocates $1.9 billion for grants that improve transportation access in disadvantaged communities to foot the $755 million bill.

But U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., countered that Perry’s amendment would guarantee that money would be redirected into truck parking. “This is a bill with significant bipartisan support. This should be an easy victory for our committee; instead, we’re facing another poison pill.”

Committee Chairman Sam Graves, R-Mo., did not support Perry’s amendment but assured him that “we’re not burdening the taxpayers with anything. This bill will not move to the floor unless it has a pay-for. I’m committed to finding a pay-for before it can move to the floor.” That prompted Perry to withdraw his amendment.

According to Finloc, approximately 3.7 million truck drivers in the United States and Canada, and 78% search for parking daily. The app, FinPark, is currently in beta but is available on digital marketplaces, the Apple App Store and Google Play. Well,rWellarrierssBarrierserstested the platform and freight brokerages will be added to the next rollout.

The app is built on predictive route guidance, but Finloc also hired Anthony Petitte as chief operating officer to lead all secure parking efforts. Petitte established a similar application, TruckPark, in 2016. He and his co-founding partner secured 22% of the U.S. parking market share before the app was acquired in the fall of 2021.

Finloc boasts that the app is mutually beneficial, as it acts as a marketplace, allowing parking property owners to see greater returns by allocating space for long- and short-term truck parking. While currently, 10% of parking spaces go unused, many drivers are forced to park in unsafe or sometimes even illegal areas because they cannot find legitimate places to park for the night. FinPark may provide greater visibility for property owners to share their open capacity.

“FinPark’s mission is to optimize the use of the millions of truck drivers on the road searching for secure parking,” Petitte said in the press release. “FinPark is designed for long-distance journeys, but we are seeing a steady increase in short-haul drivers and fleets looking to store their equipment for 30 days or more. It was, therefore, natural to create a solution that meets those needs specifically, to overcome the current hurdles to secure truck parking in areas where parking is difficult to find and to develop its usage at scale.”

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