Jason's Law Truck Parking Survey Results and Comparative Analysis
V. Summary and Conclusions
This report documents the findings of the Jason’s Law Truck Parking Survey that is designed to:
- Evaluate the capability of States to provide adequate parking and rest facilities for commercial motor vehicles engaged in interstate transportation;
- Assess the volume of commercial motor vehicle traffic in each State; and
- Develop a system of metrics to measure the adequacy of commercial motor vehicle parking facilities in each State.
Truck parking shortages are a national safety concern. Previous studies have examined the issue and proposed alternative solutions, with the result that Federal-aid has become available to assist in addressing the problem.
Parking spaces for truck drivers are supplied by both public transportation agencies as well as private truck stop operators. Spaces are provided by State departments of transportation (State DOT) at rest areas and welcome centers, and, in some cases, at weigh stations or truck inspection locations. Spaces are also provided at commercial truck stops for use by drivers accessing associated fuel, maintenance, food, shower, and entertainment facilities. In nearly all cases, only limited services are available at rest areas or welcome centers whereas in some cases very extensive services are available to truck drivers at commercial truck stop locations.
A total of 37 State DOTs (72.5 percent) responded affirmatively to the questions: “Do you have a problem with commercial vehicle truck parking in your State?” States report parking shortages in official parking locations and well as observing evidence of truck parking overcrowding manifested by trucks parking in unofficial parking locations. In official parking locations:
- Thirty States report observing shortages in public rest areas;
- Sixteen States report observing shortages in private truck stops;
- Sixteen States report observing shortages in designated pullouts or vistas;
- Eighteen States report observing shortages in commercial areas;
- Fourteen States report observing shortages at highway weigh stations;
In unofficial parking locations:
- Twenty-four States report observing trucks parking along freeway interchange ramps;
- Twenty-three States report observing trucks parking along freeway shoulders;
- Eighteen States report observing trucks parking on conventional highway roadsides;
- Twelve States report observing trucks parking on local streets.
A survey of key stakeholders indicates that the demand for long-term truck parking has created challenges. Public agencies operating rest areas routinely observe overcrowding at rest areas, pullouts, weigh stations, and other official parking locations. Commercial vehicle enforcement and safety personnel observe trucks parked at a variety of unofficial locations, including freeway ramps, roadsides, and local streets. Drivers and dispatchers report difficulty in finding safe parking locations to obtain required driver rest. The reports from States and drivers reveal parallel perceptions of shortages.
These problems are observed in regions with high populations and population densities, along major freight corridors carrying interregional commerce, and in locations associated with ports and manufacturing centers. Problems can be exacerbated because of inclement weather, particularly snow falls that cover parking spaces and make lots impassable.
The hourly, daily, and monthly patterns of demands are consistent. Weekday demand is generally higher than weekend demand. Overnight and early evening hours parking demand is higher than demand during daylight hours. On an annual demand basis, there is consistent reporting of shortages every month of the year.
Among the States reporting the most severe challenges are New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, Maryland, South Carolina, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, California, Washington, and Oregon.
This project also included a comprehensive outreach effort to secure input from public agency and private industry representatives about potential metrics to be used for measuring truck parking adequacy over time. A list of more than 35 proposed metrics was developed through discussions at the Truck Parking Metrics Workshop that was held in the early stages of this effort. Each of these addressed one of the following four aspects of truck parking:
- Truck parking demand
- Truck parking supply
- Driver needs.
This was reduced to a set of key Tier I (ready to use) and Tier II (require additional development and collaboration) metrics for stakeholders to use to measure these four aspects of truck parking. Additional “aspirational” metrics are proposed that would help measure parking adequacy if and when data resources that lend well to measurement on a national scale are available.
The FHWA’s work contained in this report reiterates the various public and private analyses of the truck parking needs in the United States and adds to the understanding of truck parking needs through an evaluation using State-level and motor carrier stakeholder assessments. Common ideas on location of shortages and challenges, as well as ideas related to the truck parking problem, were derived from the stakeholder responses. Areas of shortages and areas with identified unofficial or illegal parking correlated with the assessment of truck volumes, revealing challenges along many of the Nation’s most intense freight corridors.
The system of metrics developed in this report help to describe the areas necessary to assess and measure in order to have a more comprehensive understanding of truck parking and to establish consistent measurement areas so that a national picture can be developed. While a current system of metrics is described, there are a number of metrics that require further research on approaches and data collection that FHWA and its partners, including the motor carrier stakeholders, can work to advance. The metrics may be applied at the Federal, State, regional, and local levels and can help advance the understanding of national parking needs in a consistent way and help to inform decision making on public and private investments to support parking activities.
The FHWA intends to continue to work with public and private stakeholders to advance the availability of adequate and appropriate safe truck parking. Activities targeted for partnership include assisting stakeholders in improving the state of the practice for evaluating truck parking needs, working with stakeholders to support incorporating truck parking into relevant transportation planning such as State freight plans and regional or corridor plans, and encouraging continued discussions among stakeholders. This will continue the dialogue necessary to understand truck parking needs and issues and contribute to the investment planning and development process.previous | next