Text: Juliane Gringer
According to the German Haulage, Logistics and Waste Disposal Federation (abbreviated BGL in German), German motorways lack 35,000 to 40,000 parking spaces for trucks. What can be done about this? A software company has developed an innovative system that creates three to four times as many parking spaces in a given area, thus solving several problems at the same time – the ‘TruckTower’ is an environmentally friendly truck parking facility and an inexpensive hotel for truck drivers in one.
Intelligently parked – via hydraulics
A high-bay warehouse was the inspiration for the invention of the TruckTower, which uses a hydraulic system to place the vehicles on top of and next to each other. To this end, the trucks are first weighed before entering, and then allocated a parking space at ground level. If another vehicle enters, the system compares the weight of the two and then takes action: the lighter truck is transported with hydraulic assistance to one of the upper or adjacent levels, the heavier to the bottom – and the ‘ground level’ is once again available for the next truck.
Drivers must indicate how long they expect to park before entering the facility. They can also do this in advance via app, website or hotline. Intelligent software determines the ideal parking space on the basis of the specified parking time and ensures that the vehicles are automatically returned to ground level at the end of the parking period and are thus ready to leave. The drivers do not remain in the vehicle while it is parked – they can book an affordable place to sleep in a hotel built from converted shipping containers that is directly adjacent to the parking facility.
A patented system
An environmentally friendly concept
The concept could even have an impact on the vehicles themselves. ‘If you take the idea one step further, drivers would no longer need a berth inside the vehicle to sleep in because they could always spend the night in the TruckTower hotels,’ says Michael Alber. ‘The manufacturers could design the tractor units to be smaller, and thus create more cargo space. That would benefit hauliers and also be good for the environment.’
In the TruckTower, three heavy trucks can park on top of each other. The drivers find a place to rest and sleep in an adjacent hotel built from converted shipping containers.