July 1, 1996
The sight of trucks parked along highways while their drivers sleep may be due in large measure to a nationwide need for more public and private truck parking spaces, according to a study commissioned for the Federal Highway Administration.
The study, titled "Commercial Driver Rest and Parking Requirements -- Making Space for Safety," says current demand for truck parking spaces on interstate highways appears to exceed the number available. The shortfall is predicted to grow in the next five to ten years.
The report contains the first comprehensive and systematic description of public truck rest areas across the U.S. It includes a national database on facilities and their usage, models of utilization and future demand, and a guide for states and other jurisdictions to use in determining rest area needs and development.
To determine whether private truck stops might alleviate some of the shortage, the research surveyed a number of their operators. Results indicated that private spaces to be added in the next three years might help relieve the shortage. Yet the report found that truck drivers use public and private parking for different reasons, such as length of stay, security, food or rest needs dictating their choices.
Under the National Highway System Designation Act of 1995, the states have the option of using 100 percent federal funding to finance public rest area modifications or construction.
Copies of the executive summary of the report are available at no charge from the Office of Motor Carrier Research and Standards (HCS), 400 Seventh Street, S.W., Room 3107, Washington, DC 20590.
George L. Reagle
Associate Administrator for Motor Carriers