National Coalition on Truck Parking: Web Conference - December 1, 2020
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
Office of Operations
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
December 1, 2020
A recording of this meeting is available upon request.
On December 1, 2020, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) hosted the 5th meeting of the National Coalition on Truck Parking (Coalition). During this meeting, participants heard about current truck parking initiatives, including an overview of planning, research, and investment resources, and received a presentation from FHWA on the 2019 Jason’s Law Survey results. This document provides a summary of this meeting.
The Coalition brings together stakeholders from the public sector, transportation organizations, the freight industry, and other groups to advance safe truck parking. The Coalition collaborates Nationally and among regions to identify opportunities and solutions for truck parking needs, shares information on data and new analyses developed by stakeholders to understand needs and trends in truck parking, encourages partnerships among stakeholders to implement solutions, and identifies opportunities to use existing and new programs to support truck parking implementation.
- Caitlin Hughes, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
- Tiffany Julien, FHWA
- Mala K. Parker, FHWA
- James Wiley Deck, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
- Mark H. Buzby, Maritime Administration (MARAD)
- Caroline Kieltyka, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)
- Darrin Roth, American Trucking Associations (ATA)
- Daniel Zimmerman, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA)
- Bryce Mongeon, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA)
- Jeff Purdy, FHWA
- DJ Mason, USDOT Volpe Center
- 291 participants attended the meeting representing public and private sector agencies. See Appendix A for more information on participation.
Summary of Proceedings
Welcome and Introduction
DJ Mason of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Volpe Center welcomed attendees to the meeting and explained that, due to technical difficulties, the event would be held by phone only, but slides were available to reference. He introduced Caitlin Hughes of the FHWA Office of Operations, Director of the Office of Freight Management and Operations, for welcoming remarks.
Caitlin Hughes welcomed participants and noted that FHWA would make the presentation available online. She stated that the presentation highlights various strategies and solutions proposed for Jason’s Law. She thanked trucking localities and trucking industries, including truck drivers, operators, and the newest supporters. Ms. Hughes clarified that there would be no question-and-answer session due to technical difficulties. She also stated that FHWA has not released the Jason’s Law Report yet, but that all data is available on the FHWA Office of Freight Management and Operations website and available to States to enhance State Freight Plans or for any other purpose.
Overview of Agenda
Ms. Hughes provided an overview of the agenda for the meeting:
- Welcome and Introduction
- USDOT Leadership Remarks
- Coalition Core Partners Updates
- Jason’s Law 2019 Truck Parking Survey and Assessment
- Concluding Remarks
USDOT Leadership Remarks
Tiffany Julien of FHWA thanked USDOT leadership, who would be providing remarks, and introduced each speaker. She began by introducing FHWA Deputy Administrator, Mala Parker, and explained that Ms. Parker provides executive and strategic leadership to advance goals and priorities of USDOT under Secretary Chao. She provided Ms. Parker’s experience, ranging from Vice President of Coalitions at American Trucking to working on Capitol Hill. Ms. Julien also introduced James Wiley Deck, FMCSA Deputy Administrator. This past year, Mr. Deck served as Senior Policy Advisor to Secretary Chao and has a special focus on regional transportation issues. In his capacity as Deputy Administrator, Mr. Deck stressed the critical role of bus and truck industries in keeping the economy strong. Finally, Ms. Julien introduced Rear Admiral Mark H. Buzby, MARAD Administrator.
Mala Parker, FHWA Deputy Administrator, began by stressing that truck parking shortages are a national safety concern, noting that this issue was raised in the recently released National Freight Strategic Plan (Plan). The Plan recognizes truck parking as a serious safety issue and recommends strategies for improving safety and modernizing freight National transportation systems. This was first highlighted when congress passed Jason’s Law. The Jason’s Law Survey is part of FHWA’s commitment to advancing truck parking, as mandated by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) section 1401 (c). Since Jason’s Law passing, many have committed time and passion to data, dialogue, and planning. The Nation still needs more truck parking. Truck Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) has increased, and congestion and competition for parking has increased, particularly in major metro areas. Projected growth of truck traffic demand will continue to outpace supply.
FHWA conducted and expanded the Jason’s Law Survey in 2019. The final report from the second survey will be released soon. State-by-State data is available on the FHWA Freight Office website. There is high demand for truck parking, which is exceeding capacity. Stakeholders are focusing on truck parking more than ever before. There is growth in public spaces operated by State DOTs, so there has been great progress, but it is still not enough to tackle the shortage Nationwide. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015 provided Federal Aid dollars to support freight transportation projects; States are beginning to account for these funds in State Freight Plans. There are six State DOTs with prospective projects in State Freight Plans: Colorado, Illinois, Florida, Minnesota, Nevada, and Tennessee. There is $21 million for truck parking infrastructure, and $413 million on truck parking improvement projects. FHWA led 12 workshops between 2018-2020.. FHWA is also developing a toolkit to highlight successful practices in design. They have shared information on Federal funds available for truck parking projects: Surface Transportation Block Grant Program (STBG), the National Highway Freight Program (NHFP), National Highway Performance Program (NHPP), Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ). USDOT has provided funding through grant programs—$34 million for truck parking allocated to 22 projects. Ms. Parker also referenced some truck parking projects, such as the $2.1 million awarded to Pennsylvania, Utah’s 24 new truck parking spaces using returned funds from a former truck parking discretionary grant program, and the $6.8 million awarded to Texas DOT in 2019 to fund the Interstate-10 corridor. Going forward, FHWA will continue to offer support to State DOTs. Ms. Parker thanked everyone for their efforts and continued commitment.
Wiley Deck, FMCSA Deputy Administrator, explained what FMCSA is doing to address truck parking. Mr. Deck noted that Americans have all depended on commercial motor vehicle drivers to transport freight during the pandemic; we need parking so drivers can take the rest breaks they need and that are required by law. FMCSA is working with partners to examine both public and private truck parking capacity along selected National Highway System corridors to help improve truck parking availability. For example, there is an outreach program for a truck parking information system in Delaware to educate the public and drivers about the system. In Massachusetts, the State is using a grant for a feasibility study. The Jason’s Law Report will be a tremendous help. The Deputy Administrator thanked partners for their hard work and stated that together we will make progress. FMCSA stands ready to work alongside fellow DOT agencies and National Coalition partners to keep roads, drivers, and the nation safe.
Mark Buzby, MARAD Administrator, stated that freight is a critical part of the intermodal system that makes shipping work. Secretary Chao is continuing to focus on the safety of our truckers through the implementation of Jason’s Law. Jason’s Law survey was updated recently, and this time, the survey included ports, which was very important. MARAD is pleased that many ports responded to the survey. MARAD has been working with FHWA and FMCSA on initiatives related to driver safety needs at ports, including truck staging, truck parking, and truck appointment systems. There are still some challenges to overcome, particularly community concerns about truck parking impacts on nearby neighborhoods around ports, as well as planning, funding, and accommodating truck parking. MARAD wants to ensure neighborhoods and drivers are safe. Ports are facing challenges with increasing congestion issues. MARAD is developing a long-term port-truck staging concept; the program will improve the safety, access, reliability, and readiness of port facilities through advanced technologies and techniques to increase the reliability and efficiencies of truck movements. The overarching research objectives are "to determine the state of the practice regarding truck staging, including access, queuing, and parking at maritime ports; to identify port operators' and trucking industry needs; and to perform an economic feasibility study of automated truck queuing as a technology solution.” MARAD will continue to work with all modes and all partners to address truck parking safety.
Coalition Core Partner Updates
Ms. Julien invited the Coalition Core Partners to provide updates. Core partners include the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the American Trucking Associations (ATA), the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), the National Association of Truck Stop Operators (NATSO), and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA).
Caroline Kieltyka, AASHTO Program Manager for Freight, introduced AASHTO (nonprofit and nonpartisan association that support 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico). AASHTO has a Special Committee on Freight that takes a forward-looking view of freight issues and does research. Improving truck parking is one of the identified policy goals of this group. For 2021, the Association has two truck parking research proposals. The first, National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) 08-140, identifies national interoperability standards for truck parking information management systems. Many States are implementing new systems, and so need National standards on Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) architecture, physical design, and location of signage and interoperability between systems and States. AASHTO will review existing systems as case studies. The second project is NCHRP 08-141, Guidance for Local Truck Regulations. AASHTO will be looking at how and why local truck policy decisions are made, identify gaps and opportunities in rules and regulations, showcase model ordinances, and develop a guidebook. AASHTO is excited to work with the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and with specific panels and research proposals. They have two positions on the Committee that focus solely on truck parking. The AASHTO Committee on Planning, Freight Planning Task Force, is also focused on truck parking and meets monthly. The Special Committee and the Task Force hosted a virtual freight Peer Exchange on September 28, 2021 with FHWA in which they discussed notable practices, measures for implementing truck parking, and identified research needs. The information gathered will lead to AASHTO truck parking initiatives. AASHTO’s Committee on Transportation and System Operations, a Working Group on Freight Operations, is another group that also prioritizes truck parking. They worked with the National Operations Center of Excellence (NOCoE) on developing a webpage on the NOCoE’s site with resources. The working group also highlights research in their upcoming work plan. AASHTO is one of the core Coalition partners and has been committed to advancing truck parking since 2015. In partnership with FHWA, they are planning and executing the Coalition’s leadership meetings.
Darrin Roth, Vice President of Highway Policy, American Trucking Associations (ATA) thanked everyone at the meeting and stated that he hopes that the new administration will continue to prioritize truck parking. The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) Survey always finds truck parking shortages as one of drivers’ top concerns. During the pandemic, it has been the biggest issue. There is a need for more funds to increase capacity, changes in State and local laws, and a need to maximize utilization of existing capacity through existing technology. ATRI will soon release a study to see how drivers use real time parking information systems. Seventy percent of drivers found variable message signs with real time helpful, but they questioned the accuracy of real time information systems. Drivers are willing to use systems, but improvements have to be made to increase utilization. Sheer size and growth in demand means this problem will not be solved without more capacity. Mr. Roth mentioned supporting Federal funding legislation. It is not unreasonable to ask Congress to dedicate some money to truck parking. There are strategies available to close the capacity gap. We need leadership and willingness to implement creative solutions. We need to make sure drivers are taken care of.
Daniel Zimmerman, Manager of Government Affairs, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) explained that the State entity that manages commercial motor vehicle enforcement varies from State to State. CVSA works to develop and maintain inspection standards, with the goal of the inspection process being uniform (no matter where it happens). The Alliance works to develop training and other tools for inspectors to fill in knowledge gaps or provide States with necessary information to make sure vehicles are being operated safely. Commercial motor vehicle inspectors see the impact of the parking shortage daily as they interact with drivers who struggle to find parking when they need rest. Although CVSA’s members are not typically the primary entity in their State working to address the truck parking issue, they typically partner with these entities. For example, the Florida Highway Patrol worked with Florida DOT to communicate with truck drivers the availability of truck parking spots by providing real time data to drivers so they can better plan and determine where they can park.
Ms. Julien stated that NATSO could not make the Coalition meeting because of scheduling conflicts. She thanked them for their continued efforts in supporting truck parking safety.
Bryce Mongeon, Director of Legislative Affairs, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) introduced the work OOIDA does and explained that they represent the interests of small business truckers and have more than 150,000 members Nationwide. They work in the interests of members in terms of economic well-being, work conditions, and safe operations of vehicles. OOIDA has been working a long time to craft legislation to deal with parking capacity. Currently, they are working with two representatives to pass HR 6104 – which would dedicate Federal funding for truck parking through a competitive grant program; $755 million over 5 years. State, regional, and local governments would be eligible to apply for any capacity expansion (expansion of rest area, conversion of space, or any creative solution). Mr. Mongeon stressed to lawmakers that no amount of parking is too small, and all parking is important. In this effort, they have had meetings with 175 congressional offices, and have mentioned the safety issue in these meetings. With the Jason’s Law Survey, OOIDA is able to show the extent of the issue. Some parking issues caused by COVID-related shutdowns and restrictions have improved since the beginning of 2020, but the long-term parking shortage is still an issue. There is a group of bipartisan sponsors who recognize that this is a safety issue, first and foremost.
Jason’s Law 2019 Truck Parking Survey and Assessments
Ms. Hughes thanked the Coalition Core Partners and provided an email address to listeners: email@example.com. She invited the States and partners on the line to send a summary of activities to this email. FHWA is interested in hearing what they are seeing, what they are concerned about, trends, good examples to solve operations issues or capacity issues, etc. She stated that FHWA would compile inputs into an update that they can share at a future date, or hold another webinar when the report is released. The potential webinar would also be an opportunity for a question-and-answer session. Ms. Hughes turned over the meeting to Jeff Purdy of FHWA for a presentation on the 2019 Jason’s Law Parking Survey and Assessment.
Jeff Purdy, FHWA Office of Freight Management and Operations, provided an overview of the Jason’s Law Parking Survey and Assessment. As participants in the meeting were provided a copy of the PowerPoint presentation via email, Mr. Purdy invited participants to follow along. He provided background to the Survey by noting that Section 1401 (c) of MAP-21, referred to as Jason’s Law, directs the USDOT to conduct a survey and comparative assessment to:
- Evaluate the capability of each State 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
- Develop a system of metrics to measure the adequacy of commercial motor vehicle parking facilities in each State
The findings of the original 2015 Jason’s Law Report found that truck parking demand is highest during night hours and mid-week; consistent, continued measurement is important to understand dynamic truck parking needs and issues; and public and private sector coordination is critical to address long-term truck parking needs. The 2019 update was a scan of truck parking activities since 2015, surveys of activities that States have undertaken, expanded survey of truck parking stakeholders, and review of truck parking metrics in State Freight Plans. The FHWA conducted surveys of State DOTs, Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Agencies surveys, surveys of truck drivers and trucking operations managers, surveys of truck stop owners and operators, and added surveys of port authorities in the 2019 Jason’s Law Survey and Assessment. The FHWA received significantly increased responses since the previous survey.
Parking Inventory Results
The Survey found there are approximately 313,000 truck parking spaces nationally: 40,000 at public rest areas and 273,000 at private truck stops. From 2014-2019, there has been a 6 percent increase in public parking spaces and an 11 percent increase in private parking spaces. We are seeing an expansion of truck parking spaces, but not at the same level of increase as truck VMT. Shortages in 2014 included the Interstate-95 Mid-Atlantic and north, Chicago area, and California. These areas continue to be problematic, but the extent of corridors with reported shortages has expanded.
Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Agencies - Observations
There are a variety of locations where States are reporting more violations and more unauthorized parking. These locations include coastal States or States where there are ports, or Midwestern States with more intermodal facilities that have more violations and more unauthorized parking. The number one location for unofficial/unauthorized parking is ramps, then shoulders, then parking lots, and then local roads. There is more unauthorized parking at night and early morning or because of inclement weather. Also because of deliveries (points to a need for more parking at receiving locations).
FHWA has heard anecdotes of drivers needing to park in rural areas just outside of major urban areas at the end of their shifts due to a lack of truck parking. Receivers should offer parking on site. Drivers are using apps and smart technology for routing and parking.
Truck Stop Owners and Operators
Truck stop owners and operators are operating over 100 percent capacity overnight, weekdays, and peak season during summer months. Most do not monitor parking, offer reservations, or charge for parking,
Port Authorities were included in the survey, because ports are major origins and destinations for freight. The amount of parking varies. Some reported that they needed more spaces at or near their facility.
New Truck Parking Metrics for 2019
The new truck parking metrics for 2019 include:
- Parking near Nationally significant origins and destinations
- Parking near spaces within 5 miles of the National Highway Freight Network (NHFN)
- Public, private, and total truck parking spaces per 100 miles of the NHFN
- Public, private, and total truck parking spaces within 1 mile of an Interstate
- Number of State truck parking studies since the 2015 Jason’s Law Report
There was a 15 percent increase in truck VMT between 2012 and 2017. Parking has not kept up at the same pace. The majority of truck parking facilities and spaces are in rural areas. This is because there is more land available for truck stops, which require a large amount of land for truck parking. In addition to looking at urban versus rural locations, FHWA also looked at the top 32 urbanized areas with greatest freight origins and destinations. These areas constitute 38 percent of truck origins and destinations, but only 8 percent of truck parking spaces. This reinforces the need to integrate truck parking with regional and local planning.
State Truck Parking Plans
States engaged in information sharing for truck parking. Many States are including truck parking in their State Freight Plans. They have improved data collection, and many are using forecasting methods. Truck parking is being considered in broader context of economic development opportunities and constraints. States have greatly improved stakeholder engagement processes through such efforts as Freight Advisory Committees, which convene public and private freight stakeholders to provide input into State planning processes.
Truck parking shortages are still a major problem in every State and region. Major freight corridors and large metro areas have the most acute shortages. Shortages exist at all times of day, week, and year, but mostly overnight and weekdays. There is, however, much more awareness among all stakeholders on truck parking shortages. The truck parking information management system is emerging as means to inform drivers about parking availability; many drivers use smartphones to access information. There are still challenges in funding and maintaining truck parking for the public and private sector. Truck stop operators need business models that incorporate parking profitably. There is a need for public/private partnerships between truck stop operators and government agencies. Working together is essential to solve the parking shortage problem. Local government involvement and citizen awareness are necessary for effective discussions and realistic plans for truck parking.
Ms. Hughes asked that, in lieu of questions, participants send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. She stated that they forward the questions to the relevant speaker or DOT staff person. If there were submissions of best practices, FHWA would compile these.
Ms. Hughes concluded the meeting by sharing an email she received from Desiree Wood, President of Real Women in Trucking. Ms. Wood stated that she and several other truck drivers had pulled over on the side of the road to listen to this meeting. This effort is of critical importance to their livelihood and their families; they care very much about the Jason’s Law program, the suite of materials, and focus on the issue. They hope to see that focus continue under the moniker of Jason’s Law. Ms. Hughes stressed that this issue continues to have importance and criticality, not only to the trucking industry, but also to the individuals behind the wheel. She also thanked Hope Rivenberg, Jason Rivenburg’s wife, and Ms. Rivenburg’s brother (Cecil Savage). She extended a big thank you to Ms. Rivenburg, whose efforts are what got the Jason’s Law legislation passed, and to the rest of trucking partners who have supported this effort for many years now.
Appendix A: Map of participants based on call-in area code.
A total 291 participants attended the meeting by phone, representing nearly every State in the nation. The map below shows the location of callers based on the area codes that called into the 5th National Coalition on Truck Parking meeting. Over 440 people registered to participate in the webinar, but due to technical difficulties, the meeting had to be converted to teleconference at the time of delivery, resulting in a loss of broader outreach.