A truckstop (known in most of Europe as lorry park) is a service area aimed mostly at lorry drivers. As of 2010, they officially come in two forms: MT (motorway truckstop, a truckstop which is signposted from a motorway) and TRT (trunk road truckstop, a truckstop which is signposted from a non-motorway trunk road). Officially, there is a third tier of truckstops which aren't signposted from the strategic road network, but this site takes little interest in them simply because there are so many.
"Lorry park" should not be confused with a parking area for lorries within a standard motorway service area.
When the M1's motorway services were being designed, it became clear cars and lorries wanted different facilities. Lorry drivers would normally be given their own transport café with a menu aimed at people using the motorway every day, located close to the lorry park. Through the 1960s and 1970s the option of lorries-only services was investigated, but always dropped.
Meanwhile, there have always been private businesses businesses built to serve lorry drivers. Until 2008 there has been no clear rule on how such truckstops should be handled. In the 1990s two major truckstops, Lymm and Carnforth were signposted as motorway services. Since then, the M1 J29 Truckstop has been signed as a lorry park. In 2008 it was clarified that a-roads can have signs to 'lorries only services' and motorways can have black-on-white signs for truckstops.
As of 2010 online motorway truckstops are now allowed, but have never been built.
A transport cafe (informally known as a truckers' cafe) is a restaurant reserved for HGV drivers only. They are different to truckstops in that they were there to provide food only.
The idea dates back to a time where HGV drivers were seen as being a different class to other road users, with regular car drivers demanding a higher standard of service and being charged higher prices as above.
Transport cafes were a requirement of all motorway services until the 1980s. They were expected to be close to the lorry park, with windows overlooking the vehicles, and were included either as separate buildings or as part of the main building, with a separate entrance. Many of them were long, thin rooms.
Between the 1980s and 2000s they were phased out: as the posher elements of the car drivers' facilities ("private facilities") had been removed lorry drivers came to prefer them.
Facilities and Requirements
As set out in the proposed MSA policy, MTs and TRTs must be no more than three miles from the motorway and not require drivers to pass through a settlement in order to reach it. They can't cater for other vehicles or else they surrender their status as a truckstop. Other than this their facilities are very similar to MSAs and TRSAs.
Truckstops may also double-up as an operating centre, subject to an assessment on the impact it would have, where HGVs can be parked up for the night and drivers return home in their regular vehicles.
Spacing and Locations
A motorway truckstop should not be more than 40 miles from the existing services, as if this isn't the case then getting a full service area open should be a bigger priority. They should not be less than 12 miles from the existing facilities.
There are few requirements for the location of truckstops on trunk roads.
TRTs are covered on the A-road Signs page as lorries only services.
For MTs, the signs were only introduced in 2008 as non-prescribed signs. They are similar to MSA signs but use white-on-black signs (like most signs aimed at HGV drivers) and substitute "services" for "truckstop", usually including the HGV symbol. Continuity signing should be provided using the existing available signs, and with black patches on other signs.