New app to help truck drivers navigate alternative Picton to Christchurch route

3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineSeptember 13, 2017

Truck drivers travelling on the alternative Picton to Christchurch route via the Lewis Pass now have more information at their fingertips thanks to a new app rolled out by the NZ Transport Agency and Road Transport Association NZ (RTANZ).

TruckR is a planning tool that has been designed to improve safety and provide journey information for truck drivers using the alternative route. The app highlights stopping areas suitable for 20-metre trucks, passing lanes, trailer swap areas, one-lane bridges and places with limited cellular coverage along the route, along with petrol stations, food outlets and public toilets.

It also connects to the NZTA‘s road alert system, giving users up-to-date information on road works, crashes and road closures.

Truck drivers can open the app and plan their journey before they start or pull over and check information during their journey as the app‘s map features can operate without mobile phone coverage.

TruckR will be trialled by the freight industry for three months, with plans underway to include State Highway 1 along the Kaikoura Coast once it is reopened. It was funded by the NZTA and was built by New Zealand companies Webtools and Green Signal in partnership with the RTANZ.

The team at Hilton Haulage tested TruckR briefly before the trial started, and general manager people, safety and quality Alle Worner says the app is a great tool for drivers.

“Although we have been doing a few kms up that road of late, it‘s reasonably unchartered territory for our team, so having instant and practical information at our fingertips is awesome.”

NZTA journey manager Lee Wright says after the earthquake the South Island‘s Truck Crashes/Rollover Prevention Team got together to brainstorm ways of reducing single heavy vehicle rollover crashes on the alternative route.

“Our aim is to reduce fatal and serious injury crashes and minimise closures and delays for all travellers.

“TruckR is one of many actions from that plan and it is exciting to see the app being trialled by the freight industry.  We are continuously learning as we trial new technology and we want as much feedback as possible to get TruckR just right. If you have ideas to make TruckR better during the trial phase, please let us know.”

While TruckR has been designed for truck drivers, anyone can download the app to get journey and safety information about the alternative route. Currently available for Android devices, an Apple version will follow.