Urban Freight Case Studies - Washington, DC
District of Columbia Motor Carrier Management and Threat Assessment Study
DDOT commissioned the District of Columbia Motor Carrier Management and Threat Assessment Study to address concerns about truck traffic, regulation and enforcement of commercial vehicle parking, and security requirements. The Study recommended the establishment of a Motor Carrier Office within DDOT, the creation of designated truck routes in the city, and the development of short-term and long-term parking strategies.
According to the study, trucks constitute approximately five percent of total vehicle traffic in the District. Many trucks enter the District via Georgia and New York Avenues, where the majority of industrial activity and goods warehousing is concentrated. As a result, these two streets carry high volumes of truck traffic. Trucks constitute approximately 15 percent of traffic on Georgia Avenue and about 12 percent of traffic on New York Avenue.
Small trucks such as courier vans and pickup trucks dominate truck traffic in the District, accounting for almost 90 percent of the truck traffic in the downtown area. The lack of parking spaces for loading and unloading is a major issue for these smaller vehicles.
Motor Carrier Office (MCO)
The Metropolitan Police Department the Motor Carrier Office with the following responsibilities:8
Designated Truck Routes
There are no officially designated truck routes in Washington, DC. Instead, there are a number of de facto truck routes that drivers prefer because of roadway geometry, traffic conditions and location relative to trip origins and destinations. Passenger vehicles are heavy users of the de facto truck routes, leading to congestion for both cars and trucks.
The formal designation of truck routes in the District would address many longstanding concerns such as noise and vibration complaints from residents, security concerns around high-risk facilities, congestion, and the need for better information and services for truck operators and their customers. The Motor Carrier Management and Threat Assessment Study recommended several trucks routes and restricted truck zones applicable to trucks and rail cars hauling certain categories of hazardous materials (Figure 3). However, the legislation creating the restricted zones was overturned.
Figure 3: Preferred Truck Routes and Restricted Zone
Many truck parking problems occur in the District's central business area. They include:
To address these issues, existing parking conditions were analyzed, truck activity was examined, and major stakeholders were interviewed. Based on the results of these efforts, short-term and long-term actions were identified. The following actions are either under review or have been implemented.
8 Metropolitan Police Department, Motor Carrier Safety Unit, personal communication, May 21, 2009.
United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration