The U.S. Department of Transportation recently issued a new “handbook” for states that provides best practices for designing and constructing new truck parking facilities along the nation’s interstate system.
[Above photo by the Arizona DOT]
“I’ve heard from countless truckers across the country about how the shortage of truck parking costs them time and money, not to mention making our roads less safe and weakening our supply chains,” noted USDOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a statement. “We’re … working with state and industry leaders to develop more parking that will improve safety and quality of life for our nation’s truck drivers.”
He noted that the American Trucking Associations and Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association wrote a letter to USDOT earlier this year citing that 98 percent of truck drivers report problems finding safe parking. The letter also noted that drivers waste on average more than 56 minutes of drive time to find parking, which equates to an estimated $5,500 reduction in annual compensation – roughly a 12 percent pay cut.
“One of the leading causes of truck crashes is driver fatigue. It is clear that adequate rest for drivers is foundational for safe operations. We have heard loud and clear from drivers – they need more places to rest and they need to be safe and secure while doing so,” added Robin Hutchenson, the new administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
“We are proactively working at the local and regional level to point to the numerous resources across USDOT for truck parking construction, expansion, and technology solutions, and we will continue to work collaboratively with agencies within DOT and with all of our partners in the industry,” she said.
Many state departments of transportation have engaged in a variety of truck parking expansion efforts in recent years.
For example, in 2019, eight states – Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin – launched a truck parking information management system or TPIMS to help truck drivers more easily locate available commercial vehicle parking spaces at both state-run rest areas and select private truck stops around the Midwest.
In 2020, the Arizona Department of Transportation invested $5.2 million to nearly double available commercial vehicle parking spaces at its I-40 Meteor Crater Rest Area.
More recently, the Colorado Department of Transportation collaborated with the Town of Bennett along and national truck stop chain Love’s Travel Stops to break ground on a project that will add 114 new full use truck parking spots along the Colorado Front Range.
The town is supporting Love’s addition truck parking spots to its local facility’s footprint while simultaneously working with Colorado DOT on the design of an expanded and improved State Highway 79 bridge that connects to I-70.
“The Love’s truck parking facility is an important component of our transportation system, providing a safe environment for truckers when the highway is closed due to adverse weather or other unforeseen circumstances,” noted Colorado DOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew in a statement.
“With commercial vehicles representing up to 35 percent of all the traffic on I-70 between Denver and the Kansas border, facilities such as this one can help solve some of our most immediate transportation challenges and serve as a model for future public/private partnerships,” she said.