Truckstops Expected to Increase Reliance on Bus, R.V. and Four-Wheel Traffic


As competition within the travel plaza industry increases and the average length of haul decreases, truckstop and travel plazas will likely work harder to attract buses, recreational vehicles and passenger vehicles.

The NATSO Foundation uncovered this trend as part of its report Chart Your Future: Trends Affecting the Travel Plaza and Truckstop Industry. Being aware of these trends can help industry suppliers better meet their customers’ current and upcoming needs.

Fortunately for operators, RV and bus traffic is expected to grow in the coming years. Bus travel is expected to increase as Baby Boomers age and the growth of people age 65 and older is increasing at an unprecedented rate in U.S. history, at nearly four times the rate of the overall population. RV traffic has increased 16 percent since 2001 and population and demographic trends favor long-term RV market growth.

As a result, truckstops and travel plazas may look to expand food and souvenir offerings in addition to other products bus travelers and RVers need. For example, many RV drivers stop based on the availability of shorepower, dump stations and fresh water to refill their water tanks.

According to the American Bus Association, the average spend for a bus when stopped for a 24-hour period is $13,000. This includes money spent on hotels, shopping and eating. While en route, tour groups typically stop every two to four hours. Travel stops are all decided in advance as part of the itinerary that tour guides plan. Bus operators tend to select stops that have food, gift shops and dump stations in addition to fuel.

To learn more about this and other industry trends, suppliers can learn more in the full trend study, which will be available later this year.

{HBMHighway Business Matters is a brief semi-monthly newsletter created exclusively for companies that provide products or services to the truckstop and travel plaza industry. Highway Business Matters will keep you informed on trends, tactics, and tips to help you connect to the $65 billion truckstop and travel plaza industry. 

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Mindy Long's photo

Mindy Long

Before launching a full-time freelance career, Long edited NATSO's Stop Watch magazine. Prior to that Long worked as a staff reporter for Transport Topics, a weekly trade newspaper, covering freight transportation, fuel and environmental issues. In addition to covering the transportation sector, Long has written, reported and edited for a variety of media outlets. She was the Washington correspondent for WCAX-TV (CBS) in Burlington, Vt., a criminal court reporter in Chicago and a freelance copy editor for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine in Washington D.C. Long hold a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Ill., and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Westminster College in Salt Lake City.More
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