The Federal Highway Administration plans to conduct a state-by-state commercial truck parking availability survey sometime this summer as a follow-up to a similar study it conducted back in 2014.
According to a Federal Register notice filed on April 23, FHWA said it plans to tally the location, number of spaces, availability and demand for truck parking in each state, including both public and private facilities, such as truck stops. The agency also intends to poll public safety officials in each state regarding truck parking use and patterns, including the location and frequency of trucks parked adjacent to roadways and on highway exit and entrance ramps.
FHWA added in its notice that it also plans to survey trucking companies and truck drivers regarding the issue of "insufficient truck parking" rest facilities, future truck parking needs and locations, availability of information on truck parking capacity, and other impediments to identification, access, and use of truck parking.
The agency said this survey is required by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century or "MAP-21" Act. Section 1401(c) of that act mandated such a survey be conducted to evaluate the capability of the states to provide adequate parking and rest facilities for commercial trucks engaged in interstate transportation.
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials conducted a survey of state DOTs for the FHWA's office of freight management and operations on the truck parking issue five years ago, with nearly 14 percent of respondents indicating that problem was "very significant" in their state, while approximately 57 percent of respondents had studied or analyzed truck parking needs and availability.
Yet the shortage of truck parking remains a persistent problem, one that is truly national is scope, explained Andrew Andrusko, principal planner at the office of freight and commercial vehicle operations within the Minnesota DOT.
"This survey is a great opportunity to remind everyone that this is a big issue that affects all of us," he told the AASHTO Journal. "As we move to this 'follow-up' survey we hope it provides more accurate data on the scope of the problem. From our perspective, this is an ongoing issue and it is one that will compete with all the other needs state DOTs deal with."
"The shortage of adequate and safe parking for commercial trucks remains a concern. It's an issue that's not going away," explained AASHTO Executive Director Bud Wright. "Assessing the volume of commercial truck traffic in each state as well as developing a system to measure the adequacy of commercial truck parking facilities in each state, as this survey aims to do, will help state departments of transportation better focus their planning activities on finding ways to solve this problem."
The House Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year 2019 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development funding bill by voice vote on May 16, which allocates $71.8 billion in discretionary spending to the U.S. Department of Transportation and HUD – $1.5 billion above fiscal year 2018.
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