As summer travel peaks and more passenger vehicles clog the roadways, truck drivers will spend more time in traffic watching their available hours of service tick down. To help professional drivers find suitable parking, CLC Lodging added filters to its mobile app to help them find hotels with truck parking.
"What we see more often in summer travel is a lot more regular parking usage" from passenger cars, Carolyn Hundley, CLC's SVP of client services, told FleetOwner. "As hotels begin to occupy, some might even take up truck parking."
The company, which serves over 6,500 transportation companies representing hundreds of thousands of travelers, added filters to save drivers time searching for parking. Users can designate the type of truck they are parking, including filters for refrigerated trailers with electricity needs, auto haulers needing additional space, and regular truck parking.
According to CLC, the solution is paramount, as there is only one parking spot for every 11 trucks on the road, and drivers waste an average of one hour daily to find parking, according to the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA). The problem is bad enough that drivers cited parking as their No. 1 issue in the most recent Top Industry Issues report from the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI).
The app also includes a satellite map view in which drivers can determine if there is enough space to maneuver their vehicles comfortably.
Additionally, fleets can specify their lodging needs, and CLC will create a directory of hotels with truck parking.
"Each customer is different, so they can design their network the way they want it," Hundley said. A fleet can specify the price ranges available and the amenities necessary for its drivers. CLC makes a directory of applicable hotels that the fleet's drivers can access and book on the app.
"They can design their directory the way they want to see it. 'I want all my guys staying at hotels less than $125 a night,'" she gave as an example. "We design a directory for them that would include their access and their amenities that they need, their truck parking."
Carriers can also assign virtual trip debit cards for drivers to pay for all other travel and per diem related costs like fuel and food, saving fleets the trouble of reimbursing a driver's personal card.
The flexibility of lodging options is beneficial not only during the summer but also during the coldest months of the year, according to Hundley.
"We do find some challenges in the Northeast when there's massive snow."
In inclement weather, fleets can have multiple hotels in their directory, allowing drivers to scan for multiple options to get off the road quickly.
Later this year, the company will survey users to gather input from its hotel partners and drivers to offer flexible quality options to users, according to Hundley.
"Transportation for us is just key," she said. "We have everything that fits the small guy all the way up to the enterprise guy." She added that drivers are essential and that "they've got to keep the world running."