How can truckers deal with road restrictions?

oversized-load-road-restrictionsAll roads are not always an option for trucks. Some roads have may have weight restrictions. Some may pass under bridges or other objects thus creating height restrictions. Others may be too narrow or too busy at certain times of the day and restrict larger vehicles from using them.

For truck drivers using GPS they need to make sure their navigation system knows about these restrictions and can route them accordingly.

Unfortunately a truck driver can’t blame his GPS for getting ticketed on a restricted road.

So how does a GPS system route to a destination taking relevant restrictions into account? There are a few factors involved to make this happen:

  • The PND needs be programmed to store road restrictions as well as receive updates (for new or changed restrictions). In most cases this requires the device to be able to store and display custom map layers. It also helps if the device is connected to a GPRS data service that can feed updated road restrictions.
  • The PND needs to know the truck’s attributes (e.g. current weight, height, width, length and cargo) so it knows which road restrictions apply. The device’s software should be able to allow the driver to enter this information in directly.
  • Whether the driver is able to make left-hand turn, U-turns or use toll-ways (while these parameters may not strictly be road restrictions, a truck driver may prefer to avoid having to make certain maneuvers or pay toll fees. For example, PNDs running Telogis Mobile allows some of these settings to be made on a per-user basis.

How does a GPS device know what roads are restricted?

One way that a GPS device can know about road restrictions is by allowing a custom map overlay to be loaded on to the device.

Custom map data, or GIS layers, are visual geospatial databases that contain information relating to points on a map. They generally follow a standard format, such as raster or vector.

This overlay is used, along with the truck’s attributes, to determine if a particular road can be used or not. If it is restricted, the routing program will find an alternative route to take that complies with all the relevant restrictions.

What are the benefits of using a GPS device with road restrictions?

Primarily the advantage of using a GPS device that includes road restrictions is that it improves the safety levels of both the driver and the general public. To keep commercial trucks off certain roads is vital, particularly if a hazmat load is being transported or the truck’s size poses a danger to other road users.

Because a GPS device is correctly routing based on road restrictions, drivers are also less distracted, allowing them to concentrate on the road ahead and driving safely.

Improving safety has other benefits, such as reducing the liability risk your fleet faces should anything go wrong. If a truck is on a road that it shouldn’t be and there’s an accident, insurance may not pay out.

There are financial benefits as well, such as avoiding infringements for taking restricted roads and taking inefficient routes when a driver realizes they’re unable to turn into a street.

With a GPS device keeping an eye on the road restrictions, it means drivers can do what they do best and drive with their eyes on the road.