Over 80% of truckers want improved parking and access to Cranbrook—finds truck survey

Conducted in October 2016, the project was called the Cranbrook External Truck Activity Survey.

Picture of group of people standing in front of semi-trucks.

The purpose of the survey was to understand commodity flows and the logistics/supply chain that have been established in and around the Cranbrook region. — Photo courtesy Kootenay Business file photo

In October 2016, the City of Cranbrook, in partnership with College of the Rockies and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement (CVSE) branch of the Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure (MOTI) conducted a road side survey of long haul trucks on cordon lines for the trucks that enter into the City (i.e. traffic borne from within the City was excluded). The project was called the Cranbrook External Truck Activity Survey.

The purpose of the survey was to understand commodity flows and the logistics/supply chain that have been established in and around the Cranbrook region for the development of growth and change strategies by the City and its regional stakeholders.

It was intended to capture where to/from goods and services move, ownership of the freight and businesses, the needs of trucking industries/operators and traffic volume. Survey teams were set up at the Yahk and Sparwood inspection stations on Highway 3 and at the Cranbrook game check site on Highway 3/95 on the outskirts of the north side of the City.

Here are some highlights from the survey: 

Insights on Logistics Pattern

  • 32 (9%) of surveyed trucks originated from Cranbrook, and 36 (10%) had Cranbrook as their final destination
  • Over 180 different companies (not including transport companies) moved cargo through Cranbrook, Yahk, or Sparwood in a single day
  • 59 (24.8%) of drivers said they tend to stop in Cranbrook for fuel, food, and rest
  • The majority of truck drivers want Cranbrook to improve parking for trucks (83%) and to improve access for trucks (58%)
  • The majority of trucks originating from the United States have their final destination in Alberta (57 of 74)
  • Of the trucks stopped and surveyed in Cranbrook (101), only 3 had their destination in Alberta. Most of them were going to other locations in BC or Washington
  • The majority of trucks that originated from the United States were stopped in Yahk or Sparwood (68 of 74), not Cranbrook: Cranbrook: 6 of 101 (6%) from USA; Yahk: 38 of 111 (34%) from US; Sparwood: 30 of 135 (22%) from USA

Cargo Contents and Owners

  • Of the 347 trucks, 41 (11.8%) of trucks were carrying multiple types of cargo and 275 (79.3%) were carrying a single type. 31 (8.9%) didn’t answer.


The overall survey data demonstrates (2) key conclusions:

  • Cranbrook is geographically situated on a key transportation route for a huge number of diverse goods and services moving between Alberta and Oregon and Washington State. Cranbrook could reasonably be considered to be an ideal location for an intermodal and transportation hub for the southeast part of the province.
  • Driver/ operator demand for better trucking industry services locally like parking, restaurants, fuel is significant. Cranbrook sees a significant amount of cargo travelling through the City on a daily basis. Just as significant is both the variety of goods and variety of individual companies who own those goods.

Over 180 different companies moved cargo through Cranbrook, Sparwood and Yahk in a single day with nearly 80 percent carrying a single type of cargo and just over 11 percent carrying multiple cargo types.

Of the 347 trucks surveyed, 112 (or 32.3%) were carrying products which fit in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting cargo types, followed closely by retail trade (50); accommodation & food services and construction (47) each. Nearly 60 percent of the truck traffic moving through the area is five (5) axle (27.1%) and six (6) (30.5%) axle transport vehicles. Eight (8) axle vehicles are a close third (26.8%).

As the majority of vehicles surveyed are long-haul that require design configurations to accommodate their maneuverability. Also significant is the demand from the trucking community for better transportation industry services locally – things like better and ample parking for larger vehicles, quality restaurants and other food services and ease of access to fueling sites.

Nearly 25 percent of all drivers surveyed indicated they stop in Cranbrook for fuel, food and rest, with nearly 59 percent of total respondents specifically looking for dining options when they stop.

To quickly summarize:

  • Cranbrook is a central point between many origins and destinations. The majority of the cargo travels in a north – south orientation. The cargo carried in and out of and through Cranbrook is very diverse.
  • The traffic using Highway 3/93/95 are considered captive riders/users (i.e. the route choice makes sense for their business). An opportunity exists to take advantage of cost effective and reliable CP Rail service to the Port of Vancouver and the ports and destinations. This could be for bulk cargo or containers.
  • A large number of respondents were looking for a good place to park their trucks. Many indicated they would forgo clean washrooms and showers if they could just find an easy place to park their vehicles.
  • Drivers wanted an easy place to pull in and out of to get fuel. Some also complained about constricted access to some of the other card lock sites and the amount of regular traffic both on Highway 3 at the south end of the City and on Theatre Road.

To read the entire survey visit: http://cranbrook.ca/our-city/city-departments/oic/external-truck-activity-survey/

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