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National Coalition on Truck Parking: Parking Capacity Working Group Meeting - November 15, 2017

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National Coalition on Truck Parking Parking Capacity Working Group Meeting - November 15, 2017

November 15, 2017

A recording of this meeting is available upon request.

Welcome and Introduction

FHWA stated that the purpose of the working group is to develop implementation strategies for various parking capacity initiatives that are identified through these meetings. These strategies should include actions needed and next steps. The group should take ownership of the solutions and actions necessary to implement the initiatives.

Previously-Identified Working Group Priorities

FHWA provided background on the working groups, including that they derived from opportunity areas that were identified in the 2015-2016 National Coalition on Truck Parking Activity Report. The working groups are focused on parking capacity; data and technology; innovative funding options; and State, local, and regional government coordination. This webinar was focused on parking capacity.

Since States are working under a fiscally constrained situation where transportation needs have outpaced funding, it makes sense to try to identify innovative, low-cost ways to expand truck parking capacity. Several original ideas for increasing the supply of truck parking were identified:


  • Investigate creative uses of highway right-of-ways to provide parking.
    Make use of the following existing infrastructure: highway right of ways, park and ride facilities, weigh stations at ports of entry that have excess space, truck chain-up or pullover areas, and construction staging areas that are no longer needed.
  • Improve rest areas to accommodate modern trucks.
    A lot of rest areas are out of date, and don't meet requirements in terms of the size of the spaces and geometry for circulating and accessing parking on the site. There's also a need to update the national standards for design of new facilities for truck parking.
  • Research models for low-cost truck parking separate from typical highway rest areas.
    Develop some no-frills truck parking areas that don't have the amenities of rest areas, but provide additional parking spaces.
  • Address the issue of parking time limits at public rest areas.
    Ensure time limits at rest areas allow trucks to park for a sufficient duration to meet rest requirements.
  • Investigate options for using large venues during off hours for truck parking.
  • Consider brownfield redevelopment for parking/staging in industrial areas.
    Especially in urban industrial areas and areas near ports.
  • Facilitate conveyance of surplus Federal land for parking/staging in industrial areas.
    As an example, the U.S Maritime Administration (MARAD) has initiated this in port areas for truck staging.
  • Update rest area and truck parking standards.
    Update AASHTO and FHWA design guidance for rest areas and truck parking.
  • Distinguish long-term driver rest needs vs. staging in terminal/industrial areas.
    Provide for truck staging in a manner that does not consume truck parking that is needed for hours of service rest periods.
  • Recognize parking needs with service disruptions/weather.
    Have surplus parking areas identified so they can be used during times of disruption.
  • Incorporate trucking industry practices to minimize down time of drivers (relays, teams).
    Maximize productivity using these methods.
  • Adopt practices of specialized carriers for non-traditional parking arrangements.
    Share terminal space for parking, reserving parking spaces, planning in advance, such as practices commonly used for large, oversize loads.
  • Explore contractual relationship between truck stops and fleets for fuel purchases.
    Looking at relationships where trucking companies can reserve parking at truck stops.
  • Coordinate between shippers/receivers and the trucking industry.
    Integrate shippers/receivers as part of the solution to provide truck parking. Integrate truck parking at industrial sites, large distribution centers, etc.

New Suggestions for Priorities

FHWA then asked the participants whether some of the items on the slide could be further developed and turned into an implementable project, and whether there were any other ideas for opportunities. The discussion was as follows:

We should prioritize getting shippers and receivers involved in the effort of providing more truck parking; this will be most helpful to the drivers. Right now there are other efforts underway to improve the supply chain, so we should take advantage of the existing focus to involve the shippers/receivers, especially with the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate around the corner.

This should be one of the priorities. Walmart has a lot of extra, safe, fenced-in space. I know there's concern about liability, but I think that's something that could be solved.

Another initiative we should consider is to try to convince Congress to allow commercial activity on the highways, which has been prohibited since the 1960s. There could be a rule that major rest area operators could offer a subset of their services on the highway, so that they would be partially on the highway and partially off it.

Something we could easily do is look at model opportunities, like the partnership between Unilever and Kriska. That's been a great success. Also Meijer Grocery has bullpen areas for staging and, if you have an appointment in the morning, they allow you to sleep over on-site. Some other examples: Save-a-Lot and Sysco; Big Springs, NE, where the "loop-de-loop" on the highway is used for parking; and States of KY and MD for weigh station parking.

The National Association of Truck Stop Operators (NATSO) is very opposed to changing the law about commercial activity on highways. It will have the opposite effect by reducing private truck stop development.

Have a local preservation association adopt the rest area.

The Ozark Transport Commission has found that a lot of the resistance to building new rest areas is concern over increased air pollution. So one thing the group should investigate is ways to reduce truck idling to reduce pollution.

FHWA shared that the champion for the group will be Brian Hunter, the freight coordinator for the Florida DOT.

Brian said that he has been working on truck parking for several years and is looking forward to collaborating with the working group on implementing ideas to increase capacity.

The moderator had participants fill out two polls, in each of which participants voted on their top three priorities for the working group. The first poll is the opportunities that were previously identified, and the second is the priorities identified in today's webinar.

The results of the polls showed that the three priorities the working group will focus on will be:

  1. Involving shippers/receivers.
  2. Exploring flexible funding opportunities.
  3. Creative use of ROW and low-cost truck parking.

Ideas for Implementation

  1. Involving shippers/receivers
    • Sometimes transit park-and-rides partner with businesses in similar ways as shippers and receivers could; it might be worth exploring some case studies for best practices that can be translated to truck parking.
    • One participant has access to a list of shippers and receivers that allow or do not allow drivers to park at their facilities. Shining a light on the heroes would be helpful. Maybe the drivers could create a top ten list.
    • One driver has parked at Meijer Grocery facilities that have bullpens for the drivers before or after the deliveries, but they limit liability by making the bullpen outside the check-in gate. This could be a useful strategy for recruiting more shippers and receivers to provide parking.
    • Coordination between shippers and receivers happens already, and needs to be encouraged. If the economy grows and the industry grows, think about how this group will be dealing with this ten years from now. A timeline of potential change would be helpful. Bill will draft this timeline.
  2. Flexible Funding Opportunities
    • The CMAQ program provides an 80% match for building new truck parking facilities.
    • There are already funding opportunities, but States aren't taking advantage of them. Dedicated funding might be more important than flexible funding.
    • We should focus on other roadways as well, not just interstates.
  3. Creative Use of ROW
    • Missouri has added about 1000 spaces by closing outdated rest areas and turning them into truck parking places. It's very inexpensive to knock down the structures, remediate the land, and open it to trucks, with vault bathrooms.
    • There are a few dedicated truck parking areas in the right-of-way of the South Dakota interstate.
    • There should be contingency plans for bad weather. In Missouri, several Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) have been created with malls and other facilities to allow trucks to park there. In MD there is a truck parking app that allows trucks to park at all of their park-and-rides during inclement weather.

Next Steps

  • One participant will put together examples of places where creative uses of right-of-way have been implemented. He will include a Google image, and include a description of the project and why it works. He will also check with the OOIDA membership about the companies that are best at allowing driver to park at their facilities and follow up with a contact from the National Retail Federation.
  • One participant volunteered to rework a white paper that describes what Missouri has done with the old rest areas and weigh stations.
  • One participant will try to get in touch with Walmart, where he worked previously, to broach the subject of using their extra space for truck parking.
  • Two truck drivers can create a list together of shippers and receivers that allow trucks to park onsite.
  • One participant will draft a possible timeline for changes regarding the state of truck parking for the next ten years.
  • One participant will reach out to her contact that created an app that focuses on best parking opportunities at shipping/receiving facilities to see how their data is collected.
  • The group will gather the data, compile it, and see if it can get together on conference call to discuss the next steps.
  • The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for the week of January 22, 2018. Read-ahead materials will be provided.
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