EVANSVILLE, Ind. — Need advice for your upcoming road trip? Consult a true expert: an Atlas Van Lines van operator who typically logs between 50,000 and 125,000 miles cross-country a year. That's who knows the country's most scenic drive (I-70), which chain has the cheapest and most convenient hotels (Super 8) and who serves the best coffee (Dunkin' Donuts). Those opinions, and more, can be found in Atlas Van Lines' annual King of the Road survey, released today. More than 550 of Atlas' van operators were surveyed, revealing a unique perspective about life on the road.
"This survey gives us an inside look at our van operators and their motivations, likes and dislikes," said Greg Hoover, president and chief operating officer of Atlas Van Lines. "They know the country's interstates, restaurants, and rest stops better than anyone, and they're proud to share their knowledge about life on the road."
Here are some of the survey's top trends:
Health & fitness concerns.
More than half of respondents said the hardest part of their job is eating right, and more than one-fourth said exercising was the most difficult – that's an increase of 7 percent over last year. Subway – touted as a healthier fast food alternative – became the choice fast food restaurant in 2005 and has continued its commanding lead over second-place Wendy's.
Movin' on up.
More owner operators are looking for (and receiving) advancement opportunities at Atlas. The opportunity to advance was the second-highest reason a van operator chose Atlas and why he/she would recommend Atlas to a friend, and it was number one – more important than mileage reimbursement – for younger van operators. This year's responses were 15 and 16 percent higher, respectively, than last year.
Life is good.
More than 75 percent of Atlas' van operators are extremely or reasonably satisfied with their job, and 95 percent would recommend Atlas to friends or colleagues on the road. Nearly half said the best part of their job was meeting and working with people from across the country.
- Most scenic highway: I-70 (though 10 percent also said it's the most boring)
- Most boring highway: I-10
- Safest highway: I-10, closely followed by I-80 and I-40
- Favorite hotel chain: Super 8 (41 percent), Days Inn (24 percent), Best Western (19 percent)
- Favorite fast food restaurant: Subway (28 percent), Wendy's (18 percent)
- Best rest stops: Florida
- Best coffee: Dunkin' Donuts (35 percent), Starbucks (30 percent), McDonald's (17 percent)
On the road
- Best tractor: Kenworth
- Best tires: Bridgestone
- Favorite motor oil: Shell ROTELLA
- Favorite truck stop chain: Petro
- Nearly half of Atlas' van operators spend 31 or more weeks a year on the road and 14 percent drive more than 100,000 miles annually.
- Nearly 100 percent use a cell phone, 44 percent a CB radio and 32 percent a computer while on the road. Half of the respondents access a computer at least several times a week.
- Nearly 60 percent use a computer for email, and 63 percent use one for general Internet access.
- Half listen to satellite radio (60 percent have SIRIUS) and half listen to AM/FM stations; 9 percent listen to an iPod or MP3 player.
Atlas Van Lines is the nation's second-largest van line and is celebrating its 60th year in business. The company announces the results of its survey each September in conjunction with ROAD Day – a day of recognition for its owner operators. This year, more than 200 agents will participate in events on Sept. 9, to thank their van operators. For complete survey results, visit www.atlasworldgroup.com/survey.
Atlas Van Lines is the largest subsidiary of Atlas World Group, an Evansville, Ind.-based company that posted record revenues of $943 million in 2007. Atlas World Group companies employ more than 700 people throughout North America. More than 500 Atlas interstate agents in the United States and Canada specialize in corporate employee relocation and in the transportation of high-value items such as electronics, fine art and new fixtures and furniture. Visit www.atlasworldgroup.com for more information on the company and Atlas agents.