First Step Taken To Deal With Truck Parking Crisis

October 28, 2013

The first formal step to develop a federal plan to deal with the truck parking shortage — as directed in the current highway law known as Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century or MAP-21 — has been taken by the Federal HighwayAdministration.

On June 25 FHWA posted notice in the Federal Register outlining plans to seek comments from the trucking community, including drivers, trucking company owners, state department of transportation personnel and truck stop operators to find out where critical truck parking is needed across the U.S. The agency also seeks to convene a focus group representing the stakeholders.

The provision on truck parking mandated in MAP-21 is known as "Jason's Law" (See earlier blog). It is named for Jason Rivenburg, who arrived too early at his delivery point and was turned away. Instead, he found a place to park in an unlit, abandoned lot in South Carolina where he was shot and killed for $7 in March 2009.

The DOT was directed by Congress to complete a survey and comparative assessment of truck parking facilities in each state in order to evaluate the capability of the states to provide adequate parking and rest facilities for commercial motor vehicles engaged in interstate transportation.

Other work activities required under MAP-21 are: An assessment of the volume of commercial motor vehicle traffic in each state and the development of a system of metrics designed to measure the adequacy of commercial motor vehicle truck parking facilities in each state.

The proposed target groups of respondents for the survey are individuals who are responsible for providing or overseeing the operation of truck parking facilities and stakeholders that depend on such facilities to safely conduct their business.

The FHWA intends to convene expert focus groups representing state commercial vehicle safety personnel, private truck stop operators, trucking company representatives and truck drivers.

FHWA intends to survey Department of Transportation personnel in each state on the location, number of spaces, availability and demand for truck parking in their state, including at rest facilities, as well as any impediments to providing adequate truck parking capacity (including but not limited to legislative, regulatory, or financial issues; zoning; public and private impacts, approval, and participation; availability of land; insurance requirements and other issues).

FHWA also plans to survey private truck stop operators in each state on the location, number of truck parking spaces, availability and demand they observe at their facilities. The agency will also survey public safety officials in each state on their records and observations of truck parking use and patterns, including the location and frequency of trucks parked adjacent to roadways and on exit and entrance ramps to roadway facilities.

The agency will also survey trucking companies and truck drivers regarding the location and frequency of insufficient truck parking and capacity at rest facilities, future truck parking needs and locations, availability of information on truck parking capacity, and other impediments to identification, access and use of truck parking.

This first step sought comments on the proposed methodology for the survey. The comment period ended in late August and once results are analyzed, FHWA will be able to move forward with the survey process.

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