I knew American trucking and truck drivers were in trouble. But I guess I hadn’t given much thought to what happens to all those truck stops when, say, self-driving trucks replace a lot of the humans out there driving now:
The industry is also on the precipice of a huge change. The driver shortages are reshaping the work force, as the specter of self-driving trucks increasingly threatens to transform how the work is done. Self-driving trucks are being tested now and are viewed as the future for shipping all manner of goods across the country.
As trucking evolves, the patchwork of businesses across the United States that exist to support the industry is at risk of disappearing.
There are no figures on how many people work in the various professions that support the trucking industry, but it takes an army of truck washers, gas station cashiers and truck stop custodial staff to help drivers and their cargoes get from Point A to B.
I’ve done a lot of cross-country driving in a car. Truck stops always had a comforting familiarity to them, with their odd mix of customers, merchandise, amusements, and signs advertising showers in the back.
I hope many of them can adapt and stick around.