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 café (informally known as a truckers' café) is a restaurant reserved for HGV drivers only. They are different to truckstops in that they are there to provide food only.
The idea dates back to a time where HGV drivers were seen as being a lower social class to other road users, so regular car drivers would receive a higher standard of service and be charged higher prices as a result.
Transport cafés 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 part of the main building but with a separate entrance. Many of them were long, thin rooms.
When closed, the café menu would need to be provided elsewhere at the services, with the same prices.
Between the 1980s and 2000s they were phased out. As the posher elements of the car drivers' facilities ("private facilities") were being removed, lorry drivers came to prefer them, and service stations had already established a reputation as a melting pot of social classes.
Facilities and Requirements
As set out in the 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 them. 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 higher priority. They weren't supposed to be less than 12 miles from the existing facilities, but this appears to be overlooked now.
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.
In the 2016 Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions the signs were formally prescribed.