Maryland to Provide Emergency Truck Parking During Winter Storms - Southern Maryland Headline News

Maryland to Provide Emergency Truck Parking During Winter Storms


New “Mobile App” Displays Truck Parking for Truckers to Ride Out the Storm

HANOVER, Md. (December 23, 2011) –- Transportation Secretary Beverley K. Swaim-Staley on Thursday joined Maryland Motor Truck Association (MMTA) and I-95 Corridor Coalition to announce a new pilot program for emergency truck parking in select park and ride lots during heavy snow events as a safe haven for truckers to ride out the storm. MDOT, MMTA and the Coalition released a list of park and ride lots that can accommodate large trucks to park during snow storms of six inches or more instead of 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 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.”

The park and ride lots include facilities owned and operated by MDOT’s State Highway Administration (SHA) and the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA), which will manage snow removal on the lots. With winter officially starting this week, Maryland Motor Truck Association President and CEO Louis Campion and I-95 Corridor Coalition Executive Director George Schoener re-iterated the importance of offering their members alternative places to park their trucks if snow storms and accumulations on the highways make it difficult to safely maneuver.

“Snow emergencies often result in truck drivers scrambling to find a safe haven,” said Maryland Motor Truck Association President Campion. “MMTA applauds the Department 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 much easier to access electronically, instead of traditional paper maps or viewing the on-line 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.

All three options can be accessed online at www.roads.maryland.gov, where you click on the truck icon to access the Emergency Truck Parking page. In order to download the map application on a mobile smart phone, users must have iPhone iOS 5+, iPad iOS 3+, Android 2.2+ or BlackBerry 6+. Instructions for downloading the map application also are available online.

SHA developed the mobile/smart phone application that identifies the trucker’s current location using the smart phone’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.

In addition to the mobile application, the interactive desktop map and the downloadable pdf, MDOT and SHA will reach out to truckers through trade media, a targeted email blast to the industry and through the Maryland Motor Truck Association and the I-95 Corridor Coalition.

“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 Schoener. “Keeping commerce moving along the corridor is critical to economic viability and recovery.”

Source: Maryland Dept. of Transportation (MDOT)

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