Office of Operations Freight Management and Operations

Urban Freight Case Studies - Washington, DC


The following strategies and practices identified in this case study can be implemented in other areas around the country.

  • Longer Loading Zones.   Moving commercial loading zones to the approach end of each block wherever possible would make curb parking easier and thus reduce double parking. Extending loading zones to 100 feet in length wherever possible would increase the supply of curbside commercial loading areas.
  • Metered Loading Zones.   This encourages more efficient use of loading zones and increase vehicle turnover. However, the District's $1 per hour fee does not provide a sufficient incentive for efficient and expeditious loading behavior. The Downtown Curb-space Management Plan recommended a graduated fee rate similar to the one employed by New York City, which uses an escalating rate structure. The graduated fee rate also would provide a greater incentive to use off-street loading facilities where they exist.
  • Stakeholder Workshops and/or Citizen Advisory Committees.   Stakeholder and Citizen Advisory Committee input is essential to the implementation and continued success of initiatives described in this case study.
  • Public Education.   Educating the public is critical to the success of a new initiative or change to an existing program. It is important to keep the public informed about new technology and provide training when possible.
  • Truck Marshalling.   This concept can be used in other jurisdictions to regulate truck traffic produced by large events that would otherwise create significant congestion on surrounding roadways.
  • Motor Carrier Office.   The creation of a single office or single point of contact would simplify administration, allow parking policy to be adjusted more efficiently in response to observed changes on the streets, and reduce errors caused by miscommunication between agencies.
  • Formal truck-route designations.   The formal designation of truck routes would address common concerns such as noise, vibration, and congestion. It also would remove trucks from side streets and other roadways with inadequate geometry or pavement quality for large trucks, and provide benefits to both truckers and residents.
  • Parking Strategies.   The following short-term and long-term parking strategies can be implemented in all jurisdictions.

    Short Term: 1) Formulate required loading space based on the square feet of commercial space; 2) expand morning parking restrictions to accommodate couriers and deliveries of perishable goods; 3) modify curbside signs so that loading zones are reserved for vehicles that are actively loading or unloading goods; 4) implement a maximum time that vehicles can occupy loading zones; 5) encourage building owners to reserve off-street parking spaces for commercial vehicles that are expected to be parked for several hours; and 6) step up enforcement of parking regulations, especially those that apply to vehicles blocking a traffic lane or illegally parked in a commercial-vehicle zone.

    Long-Term: 1) Restrict parking of trucks larger than 2-axle, 6-tire vehicles to off-peak hours; 2) install parking meters for commercial vehicles in restricted spaces to encourage turnover; 3) increase fines for parking offenses; 4) implement a fee system that requires couriers to pay a premium for reserved parking spaces during their peak delivery times; and 5) implement a permit system for commercial vehicles that occasionally need space all day for doing maintenance and other work in area buildings.

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