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What is TruckR?

TruckR is a new app designed to provide safety and journey information to truck drivers travelling on the alternate route.

Alternate route information

How does TruckR work?

The app is a planning tool that shows truck drivers where stopping bays, petrol stations, restaurants and cafés, and public bathroom facilities are on the alternate route. 

The app connects to the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency road alert system, allowing the truck driver to easily view traffic alerts for the alternate route. These alerts are updated every five minutes and are displayed on the alerts page and the map. 

The app highlights road works, road closures, passing lanes, one lane bridges and trailer swap areas, and areas with limited cellular coverage along the route.  The app also allows users to provide Waka Kotahi with feedback on highway conditions, such as potholes.

Truck drivers can open the app and plan their journey before they start, based on the information provided. They can also pull over and check information during their journey as the app’s map features can operate without mobile phone coverage. 

How do you use TruckR?

TruckR is easy to use. Just download the app from Google Play store or Apple App Store and get started. You can plan ahead before you start driving, or pull over and check information during your journey.

The first page is traffic alerts to give you a heads up on what is ahead. The alerts cover everything from road closures and crashes to road works which could cause delays. This information is updated every five minutes.

The map icon gives you an overview of the alternate route. You can tap on icons on the map to get more information on areas that interest you. You can also personalise this part by hitting the icon on the top right hand side of the app. Simply check the things you want to find, from toilet stops to trailer swaps, and let the app filter out the rest. Focussed on finding a feed? Uncheck everything apart from food to find cafes and restaurants with space to park your truck. 

The settings icon lets you personalise TruckR even more.  You can choose the type of fuel card your company uses and only the fuel stops that accept these cards will be shown on the map. You can also send Waka Kotahi feedback on road conditions, a specific stop on your journey, and the TruckR app. Don’t be shy, let us know what we can do to improve.

Why was TruckR developed?

TruckR is just one tool from a much wider alternate route Truck Crashes/Rollover Prevention Plan which was developed by the South Island’s Truck Crashes/Rollover Prevention Team.

The team consists of Waka Kotahi, Road Transport Forum, NZ Trucking Association, Road Transport Association of NZ, Heavy Haulage, National Road Carriers, NZ Police, Commercial Vehicle Investigation Unit, Waka Kotahi contractors and consultants, and the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery alliance.

Their shared goal is to progressively reduce the incidence and severity of single heavy vehicle rollover crashes on the alternate Picton to Christchurch route. This would reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries as well as road closures and delays for all road users.

TruckR will make it easier for drivers to plan their journey on the alternate route, reducing delays and making travel safer. It can be used outside mobile coverage zones, allowing drivers to pull over and check on information during their journey, even if they have no mobile phone reception. 

Who funded, developed and tested TruckR?

The TruckR app was funded by Waka Kotahi, in partnership with the Road Transport Association NZ.

It was built by two New Zealand companies, Webtools and Green Signal alongside the Road Transport Association NZ. It was tested by the team at Hilton Haulage, a South Island haulage company, before being introduced to the trucking industry to trial on September 12 2017.

The app will be trialled by the industry for three months. During this time feedback will be used to help fine tune it.

How much did TruckR cost to create and develop?

About $75,000.

When will other freight routes be included on the app?

TruckR is being trialled for three months on the alternate route. After the trial the SH1 Kaikoura road will be added to the app.  Following this, Waka Kotahi will look at including other New Zealand freight routes.

Can anyone use the app?

Yes. Anyone can download and use TruckR to get journey and safety information about the alternate route. However the app is especially designed for truck drivers and has freight specific information such as where trailer swap areas are.

What is the ‘alternate route’?

Following the November 2016 Kaikoura earthquake, the Main North Line railway and parts of State Highway 1 (SH1) between Blenheim and Christchurch were closed. All traffic heading between Blenheim and Christchurch moved to an alternate route which goes via Murchison, the alpine Lewis Pass and Culverden. The alternate route has become a critical economic lifeline for goods in the South Island.

What is the issue for heavy vehicle drivers and communities along the route?

The alternate route is winding, challenging and narrow in parts including an alpine pass and one-way bridges. This has put heavy vehicle operators and drivers under a lot of stress, particularly with the additional delays from multiple worksites from an ongoing improvement programme. The longer driving hours are causing fatigue for drivers – a key factor in crashes and rollovers.

With now up to four times more traffic than pre-earthquake, many communities along this route have become concerned about sharing the road with heavy vehicles and how that impacts on the way they and their families live and use this route.

What else has been done to make the alternate route safer?

In addition to the actions outlined in the alternate route Truck Crashes/Rollover Prevention Plan, Waka Kotahi has reviewed speed limits along the alternate route to make it safer for everyone and has committed to a $60 million improvement package to improve safety and resilience.