A report on the first year’s activities of the public-private National Coalition on Truck Parking presents suggestions from trucking stakeholders from several regional meetings held in 2016 on how best to address truck-parking problems across the country.

Published by the Department of Transportation, the report notes that the coalition launched with a kickoff meeting at DOT in November 2015. Then four regional meetings were held in 2016 to get input from key stakeholders on “creative and innovative approaches” to solve the nation's truck parking problem.

The meetings were conducted by the Federal Highway Administration with participation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Maritime Administration, and the five core Coalition partners:

  • American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
  • American Trucking Associations
  • Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association
  • National Association of Truck Stop Operators
  • Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance

Key suggestions developed for each of four discussion areas are described in the report, including the following points:

Parking Capacity

  • Develop additional truck parking capacity through the creative use of public land within highway rights-of-way.
  • Develop an updated national design standard for parking facilities, considering the needs of oversized trucks, security, and lighting needs while also maximizing the capacity of a truck parking area within the highway right-of-way. 
  • Integrate shippers/receivers into the conversation to address truck parking needs at industrial sites. 
  • Address truck parking needs in the context of improving the efficiency of the entire supply chain.

Technology and Data

  • Develop interoperable tools to disseminate real-time information about parking availability at highway rest areas and private truck stops.
  • Incorporate truck parking technology into trip planning and reservation services using existing fleet/vehicle management software.
  • Build parking availability and reservation capabilities into connected vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology. 

Funding, Finance and Regulations

  • Establish a dedicated funding source to support capital projects and maintenance for public rest areas and truck parking facilities on the national highway network.
  • Promote innovative local land-use controls and funding mechanisms such as industrial park co-operatives or industrial tax districts for pooled parking in industrial areas.
  • Promote and support public-private partnerships for new or expanded parking facilities.
  • Study financial models for truck parking fees to provide a source of capital and operating revenue for truck parking facilities. 

State/Regional/Local Coordination

  • Encourage states and metropolitan planning organizations to address truck parking and similar issues in state and regional freight plans.
  • Conduct outreach on truck parking and other important trucking industry issues through MPOs, regional councils, economic development authorities, and national industry organizations.
  • Involve trucking and truck stop industries in state and MPO freight or transportation advisory committees to address truck parking needs.
  • Develop a public relations campaign to educate the public and elected officials about the importance of truck parking in freight transportation and industrial development.

DOT pointed out in the report that “nearly all of the proposed initiatives to address truck parking needs can only be implemented through a collaborative effort among various coalition member organizations.

“While federal funding eligibility for truck parking projects has expanded considerably in successive federal transportation authorization laws over the years,” the agency added, “the U.S. DOT is not an implementing agency for transportation projects, and truck parking projects compete for highway funding with other transportation needs such as pavement and bridge maintenance, other safety improvements, and capacity enhancements.”

Therefore, according to DOT, the initiatives discussed by the coalition and raised in the 2016 regional meetings will “require ongoing collaboration among state departments of transportation, the trucking and truck stop industries, law enforcement and highway safety officials, the shippers whose business activities drive the operations of the nation's trucking industry, and the various public agencies that implement land use regulations at the local level.” 

As for next steps, DOT said the coalition’s member organizations identified the following three near-term activities:

  1. The coalition will convene working groups for each of the four major topic areas (Parking Capacity, Technology & Data, Funding/Finance & Regulation, and State/Regional/Local Government Coordination) in 2017. Work will focus on developing implementation strategies for various initiatives that came out of the regional meetings.
  2. Industry involvement in state and metropolitan planning organization freight planning processes can begin immediately and be ongoing, as public agencies develop and update their freight plans.
  3. FHWA intends to conduct a second round of the Jason's Law Survey on truck parking, as mandated by Section 1401 of MAP-21. The survey is estimated to be administered in 2018.

To read the full DOT report, click here.

Related from the archives: Death of Trucker Prompts Truck Parking Bill