The Maryland DOT (MDOT) in conjunction with the Maryland Trucking Assn. (MMTA) and I-95 Corridor Coalition announced a new pilot program to provide emergency truck parking in select park and ride lots as a safe haven for truckers during heavy snow storms.
MDOT, MMTA and the Coalition released a list of park and ride lots that can accommodate large truck parking during snow storms of 6 in. or more to provide a place for truckers rather than parking along highway ramps and shoulders. They also announced a new mobile app that gives truckers an easy way to navigate to these six new lots and to existing truck parking, bringing the total truck parking options during a storm to 45 across the state.
“Providing truckers with a safe harbor in a storm will keep drivers and truckers safe during severe winter weather and will be critical to allowing our road crews to clear the highways,” said Transportation Secretary Beverley K. Swaim-Staley. “Using the latest technology to make the truck parking easy to find is just one more proactive measure toward keeping travelers safe during storms and allowing the transportation system to quickly return to efficient operation once the storm has passed.”
“Snow emergencies often result in truck drivers scrambling to find a safe haven,” said MMTA President Louis Campion. “MMTA applauds the dept. of transportation for undertaking this pilot to maximize available parking around the state for those professional drivers who find themselves on the road during major winter events.”
All the parking options are now easier to access electronically, instead of traditional paper maps or viewing the online map. The regular and new emergency truck parking lots can be viewed in three different ways:
• An interactive map accessible from a personal computer’s web browser,
• A downloadable pdf map to be viewed and printed and
• A mobile device application.
In order to download the map application on a smartphone, users must have iPhone iOS 5+, iPad iOS 3+, Android 2.2+ or BlackBerry 6+. The application can be downloaded by using a mobile device at http://www.roads.maryland.gov, where you click on the truck icon to access the Emergency Truck Parking page.
SHA developed the mobile/smartphone application that identifies the trucker’s current location using the smartphone’s internal GPS and nearby lots on the map. The nearby lots show location, exits and mileage from the trucker’s location. On the mobile application, a truck’s location is shown with a blue circle while regular truck parking options are shown with a green tab and the emergency truck parking in park and ride lots are shown with blue tabs. Maryland state law requires mobile applications and texts to be read when not operating a vehicle, so truckers will need to view the application while fueling or stopped and off of the roadway.
The interactive desktop map offers the same map displaying regular truck parking in green and the emergency parking lots in blue. The interactive map also provides point-to-point directions to the lots, with a road map or satellite view.
“I-95 Corridor Coalition is thrilled to offer support for long-distance truckers who may not know the area and feel uncomfortable going too far from the main highway,” said I-95 Corridor Coalition Executive Director George Schoener. “Keeping commerce moving along the corridor is critical to economic viability and recovery.”