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Truck Parking Issues & Programs

July 19, 2006 Talking Freight Transcript

Operator:
We will be conducting an audio question and answer session at the end of the presentation. You may use the Q&A tab in the lower right hand corner of your window. If at any time during the call you require audio assistance please use star followed by a zero and a coordinator will be happy to assist you. Should you experience difficulty viewing today's presentation please contact technical support at 866-779-8239. I'll turn the presentation over to your host for today's call. Please proceed.

Jennifer Seplow:
Good afternoon or good morning to those of you to the West. Welcome to the Talking Freight Seminar Series. My name is Jennifer Seplow and I will moderate today's seminar. Today's topic is Truck Parking Issues and Programs. Please be advised that today's seminar is being recorded.

Today we'll have four speakers, Bill Mahorney of the Federal Highway Administration, Hari Kalla of the Federal Highway Administration, Quon Kwan of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and Paul Bubbosh of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Bill Mahorney is a Transportation Specialist with the Federal Highway Administration's Office of Freight Management and Operations. A 1986 graduate of the University of Colorado, he spent the first 10 years of his career with the FHWA's Office of Motor Carriers. His career with FHWA began as a Special Agent in the Arkansas Division, and after coming to headquarters in 1989, worked on a variety of programs including the commercial driver's license program, medical and vehicle regulations, the motor carrier safety assistance program, and the Intelligent Transportation Systems/Commercial Vehicle Operations program. Before rejoining the FHWA in August 2005, he spent 8 years in the private sector, working for the American Trucking Associations, Computing Technologies, Inc., and most recently, 6 years as Director of Safety, Security, and Regulatory Programs for the American Bus Association.

Hari Kalla is the MUTCD Team Leader in the FHWA's Office of Operations. His team is responsible for establishing and maintaining standards for all traffic control devices including traffic signs, signals, and pavement markings.

Paul Bubbosh, Program Manager of EPA's National Idle Reduction Program, has 15 years of experience working in both the private and public sector of environmental protection. EPA's SmartWay Transport Partnership has led the Federal government on efforts to reduce truck and locomotive engine idling. Since 2001, EPA has issued over $6 million in grants to study the effectiveness of idle reduction technologies. In addition, they have published guidance for states on quantifying and using emission reductions from idle reduction projects in State Implementation Plans and transportation conformity. Recently, EPA took the lead on helping states and the trucking industry address the issue of inconsistent and impractical state idling laws. Mr. Bubbosh led EPA's efforts on developing the model state idling law which is the subject of his presentation today.

Quon Kwan is a program manager in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) Office of Technology. FMCSA is the DOT modal administration that regulates the trucking and motorcoach industry. Quon has four major responsibilities at FMCSA.

First, he supports the Commercial Vehicle Information Systems and Networks (CVISN) program. The CVISN program is a Federal program that enables states to provide capabilities (i) for exchange of safety information about motor carriers and vehicles, (ii) for electronically administering credentials, such as for the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) and International Registration Plan (IRP), and (iii) for roadside safety screening of trucks/buses.

Second, he manages the commercial driver's license (CDL) third party testing anti-fraud project. This is a project to develop software to prevent and detect fraud perpetrated by contractors hired by state motor vehicle administrators to conduct the skills test portion of the application process for CDLs.

Third, he manages the hydrogen guidelines project. The hydrogen guidelines project is intended to develop guidelines, inspection standards, and regulations for accommodating the use of hydrogen as an alternative fuel in trucks and motorcoaches.

Fourth, he manages FMCSA's SmartPark project. The purpose of this project is to provide parking availability information in real-time to truckers on the road. He will describe this project in more detail during his presentation.

I'd now like to go over a few logistical details prior to starting the seminar. Today's seminar will last 90 minutes, with 60 minutes allocated for the speakers, and the final 30 minutes for audience Question and Answer. If during the presentations you think of a question, you can type it into the smaller text box underneath the chat area on the lower right side of your screen. Please make sure you are typing in the thin text box and not the large white area. Presenters will be unable to answer your questions during their presentations, but I will start off the question and answer session with the questions typed into the chat box. Once we get through all of the questions that have been typed in, the Operator will give you instructions on how to ask a question over the phone. If you think of a question after the seminar, you can send it to the presenters directly, or I encourage you to use the Freight Planning LISTSERV. The LISTSERV is an email list and is a great forum for the distribution of information and a place where you can post questions to find out what other subscribers have learned in the area of Freight Planning. If you have not already joined the LISTSERV, the web address at which you can register is provided on the slide on your screen.

Finally, I would like to remind you that this session is being recorded. A file containing the audio and the visual portion of this seminar will be posted to the Talking Freight Web site within the next week. Due to the size of the file, recorded files are available for viewing/listening purposes only and cannot be saved to your own computer. We encourage you to direct others in your office that may have not been able to attend this seminar to access the recorded seminar.

The PowerPoint presentations used during the seminar will also be available within the next week. I will notify all attendees of the availability of the PowerPoints, the recording, and a transcript of this seminar.

It's now about 1:00 and I see that many others have joined in so let's begin. Today's topic, for those of you who just joined us, is Truck Parking Issues and Programs. Our first presenter will be Mr. Bill Mahorney of the Federal Highway Administration Office of Freight Management and Operations. If you think of questions during this presentation or during any of the other presentations, please type them into the chat area on the screen. Questions will be answered in the last 30 minutes of the seminar. Our first presenter for today will be Mr. Bill Mahorney. I'm going to bring up Bill's presentation and turn it over to him.

Bill Mahorney:
Thank you, Jennifer. As Jennifer said I'm Bill Mahorney. Within our division we do have a lot of freight issues and my particular area of expertise is vehicle size and weight. What I'm going to talk about today is Section 1305, which is the latest highway bill, the Truck Parking Facilities Grant Initiative.

The purpose of this program directs the secretary to establish a pilot program to address the shortage of long-term parking for commercial and loaded vehicles on the National Highway System. For those of you on here who don't know what the National Highway System is, it's very broad. It consists of about 160,000 miles of roadway that is important to the nation's economy and I did put a hot link on there but it doesn't look like it is working, but if you type in that string you will be directed to a part of our website that describes the National Highway System in detail. Why did Congress do this? Numerous studies that have been done by the Federal Highway Administration, by the private sector, and by others show there is a deficiency of commercial vehicle parking spaces on certain corridors.

Congress laid out some information for us about what kinds of projects are eligible. Certain things promoting the availability of parking. This could involve upstream information; an example would be 10 parking spaces available at exit 33, something like that, or a call-in number or any means that possibly lets the driver know or make reservations to park. Construction of safety rest zones. Construction of parking adjacent to travel plaza and truck stops. Opening existing facilities (scales). Making improvements to seasonal facilities for year-round use. Improving the geometric design of interchanges on the National Highway System to improve access. For example, if there are some parking spaces available that can't be accessed because of the design or the way that a ramp was built, for example, updating that ramp so those parking spaces can be accessed by trucks is definitely an eligible project. Very important thing, projects are not intended for people of local business or commercial enterprise.

Congress has some priorities in 1305. Three key ones. Demonstration of a severe parking shortage. Consultation with the affected State and local governments and community groups. So Congress is definitely interested in this being a well-rounded group effort. And also the demonstration of the positive effects on safety and air quality. Congress played it out pretty broadly for us.

The funding availability in the broad scheme of things - it's not a ton of money but we are happy to have it. It is a discretionary program. $6.25 million is available for the duration of SAFEETEA-LU. After the recession it's $5.35 million for 2006. The federal share of a project is to be between 80 and 100 percent depending on the project type. It can be up to 100% for projects in safety rest areas that did not have facilities. All these things will of course be spelled out in the notice that will be coming which I'll talk about in a moment.

Who is eligible? States, the Metropolitan Planning Organizations, and governments. We are asking that all funding requests come from and be administered by the States. This is due to the fact that these are according to Congress Federal Aid Projects and we think that is the best way to get everybody's body in.

Review and selection process: Federal Highway will convene a panel and review the proposals based on the grant application criteria. Selections will be made and all applicants will be notified in writing and the funds distributed. This will be the process for this year for '06 and for '07 and '08 and the back end '09.

Our timeframes for this project: a FR Notice will be published with the application procedures criteria - a lot of detail on what exactly we're looking for. For grants we have quite a bit of examples on how the State can explain things like, for example, outlining a parking shortage in an area. Average truck parking is something we would be interested in. If there is evidence of truckers parked along the road then we will leave that up to the states to tell us we have a problem and here's why we have a problem and here's what we want to do to address that problem.

The Truck Parking Initiative is subject to the Reduction Act requirements. That's why it's not out yet. One of the hot links looks like it's working but I would encourage you to take a look at that. One is for emergency clearance and one is for general clearance. We asked for emergency clearance by July 14th and today is the 19th. We have not heard yet but we did that to expedite the process. As soon as we get emergency clearance, we are going to be expediting the Federal Register Notice that will outline the procedure. We anticipate a 60 day time frame for the states to get their proposals into the division offices. We will then have probably 60 to 90 days before the panel is convened and projects are selected and notification is made. But it will be a fairly quick process. The money is mid year money so even if we don't proceed any time soon, the '06 money will not go away. '07 will be out quicker and we anticipate in future years getting the project out maybe in the spring as opposed to this time. We were a little bit later than we would have liked for this project. We certainly invite everyone to take a look at this project. It's not a ton of money so the competition is bound to be very fierce. We're encouraging folks to partner with the State and local governments, with private sector, with whoever, in order to come up with an excellent proposal. As I said the competition will be tough. One of the reasons that they encourage intelligent transportation system is you can't put a lot of concrete or asphalt down so we're looking for innovative ways to look for this money to get truckers into safe parking areas. I thank you very much.

J. Seplow:
I do want to encourage anybody who has questions to pose them to the chat area. If you could indicate which presenter your questions are for and also send your questions to all participants. Our next presenter is Hari Kalla of the Federal Highway Administration Office of Transportation Information.

Hari Kalla:
My name is Hari Kalla. I oversee the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices program, this manual has all the federal standards for all traffic control devices including the traffic design marking traffic signal all the other technical devices.

I'm going to talk about Interstate Oasis Program. Here's the Oasis Program which has great potential to tackle the truck parking problem. Before I give you more details of this program, let me just explain what we mean by this in this context. Interstate Oasis is a facility of our interstate system which has the truck stops and to get to these facilities you have to get off the exit and the off-ramp into the facilities and that are supposed to supplement the public rest area. Any rest area/stop within the public right-of-way is not considered an Interstate Oasis. Section 1310 of SAFETEA-LU the Congress passed our department to establish a [ indiscernible ] and develop standards for these facilities at what standard these facilities have to be to be eligible for the Interstate Oasis. And some guidance on what [ indiscernible ]. Such as we need to look at products and services offered to the public that they should be [ indiscernible ] there should be parking and also there should be [ indiscernible ].

Congress also told us to develop standards as to what the facility should look like and how far they can be from our interstate highways. And also that if the State elects to participate in the program that any facility that meets those standards shall be eligible for this definition of an Interstate Oasis and we are supposed to build up a logo. [ indiscernible ] we start looking at the study and research. We found out that at least [ indiscernible ] which are very similar. What you see there on the screen is a picture of face sign for what they call the rest stop program. There are a couple of other states who have discussed and thought about that but they are now [ indiscernible ] establish the program. There are only two states that have ongoing programs.

After we did our research and then we had had a stakeholder meeting of all the 50 state DOTs, the National Association of Truck Stop Operators, to present the independent truck owners and operators, Information Services Association [ indiscernible ] because they already have the ongoing program and there is some other folks who participated in our discussion and we had the stakeholder meeting in December of last year. Was a very good meeting we've got lots of input from our stakeholder meeting. We basically at the meeting we asked stakeholders and which should be our minimum standards. Based on the input we got from our stakeholders, we published the Federal Register request for comments. It's a non-rulemaking notice and definitely this notice contains a draft program and which should be the draft standards for the oasis program. We realized that there is a lot of good information out there that we couldn't get to. So we posed nine questions, tried to get more input to finalize this program.

Our program that's published in the [ indiscernible ] included the standard for the [ indiscernible ] that this facility should not be more than 3 miles from an interchange and we had some criteria for accessibility from interstate highways so cars and semi-trucks could easily access these facilities and can get back on the interstate system. And then we had some language about the physical layout that these facilities should have - the appropriate layout so they can maneuver, park, and get in and get out of these facilities. The standard we had was to have them staffed 24/7 and we ask that these facilities should have adequate parking for trucks as well as cars and that the trucks should be allowed to park there for 10 hours. One of the standards we had they should be staffed for 24 hours. In terms of the products and services: the use of vending machine, public phones, water, and fuel for the vehicles.

Also there was some issues we asked a number of questions. Some of the questions were that what should be the maximum distance from the interchange? In our program we said it should be not more than 3 miles. The question we post [ indiscernible ]. The second question we have is that how did we assess the safety and convenience of these access routes and on-site layout? Sometimes you might have a truck stop but there might be some fluctuation [ indiscernible ] for the truck stop our facilities are [ indiscernible ]. Should there be a minimum number of truck parking at these facilities or should there be a formula where this number is [ indiscernible ] how long should a truck be allowed to park there? Again, we have food and drinking water as part of our services. Are there any other products and services available? Also, we ask the question of what the Interstate logo should look like. The design people have a design in mind. Also, the question was if someone is turning on the interstate how do we inform them or let them know that off this there is an Interstate Oasis? What type of signing should we provide?

The docket closed in April and we reviewed those comments and we got very good input and based on the input we got we are [ indiscernible ] the panel program. One thing which we didn't get a very good response on was what did the logo look like - it seems like everybody thought it should have a palm tree but we didn't get any specific design. The final policy will be in Federal Register later this summer. The other thing is that whenever the Interstate logo design we come up with it would require human factors study to understand what that logo means. That's [ indiscernible ] unless we decide that logo and you have to go to the rule making process to include that simple as part of our [ indiscernible ] standards.

Finally, if you want more information, I have a website. If you go to that website, there is a link, and also the second website I have is the Document Management and Systems website. If you go to that website you can do the simple search by the docket number which is 23550 and you can look at all the comments we got on this program. If you need more information or if you have any questions here is my contact information, my phone number and e-mail address. That's all I have.

J. Seplow:
Thank you. We did get a number of questions in. Thank you for your posted questions - I encourage you to continue posting them. Our next presenter will be Paul Bubbosh of the Environmental Protection Agency. If you give me a minute I will get you set up.

Paul Bubbosh:
I'd also like to thank our colleagues including this topic. We all agreed it was a very important subject to talk about. Let me begin with a little background. A lot of people ask about different types of idling. One type is non-discretionary - idling that is associated with a truck at a traffic light, and then there's discretionary idling in that we associate with the truck stop environment and that is when truck drivers are required by law to rest but usually if it is hot or cold will keep the engine running and this is the area where we are targeting reductions.

And lots of people ask about the statistics of idling, and they're difficult to nail down. Based on surveys and down blows from the engine control modules there's a range from 1,000 to upwards of 3,000 hours per year and that could be 40 to 50 percent of the total engine operating time. And how many trucks can be in this extended period? It's difficult to say and we will tie it at about a half a million Class 8 trucks. Using conservative assumptions we'll say the impact from idling is about 2 billion gallons of fuel consumed, about 11 million tons of carbon dioxide and 180,000 tons of nitrogen oxide, 5,000 tons of particular matter as well as other air toxins and impaired driver health and safety noise issues and increased maintenance costs and shortened engine life.

I want to say one thing about impaired driver health and safety. We issued a report earlier this year about the number of contaminants that get into a truck cab as a truck idles. This study was actually an interagency agreement between EPA and DOT and the entity that did the testing was the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. We posted that report on our website. The bottom line was that what we found was elevated levels of matter coming into a truck cab. The reason I mention this, we talk about certain triggers for changing one's behavior and we usually lie on economics. The fact is that the more you idle the more you waste your money. Another trigger here and one we're trying to pull more is the fact that you could be impairing your health with elevated levels of particular matters. This subject for this presentation is the other trigger which is laws -- laws.

I will turn to idling alternatives. Mobile and stationary. The third there you will see a link to our website. We have a fairly comprehensive list of all alternative idling which are commercially available today. The key point here is that alternatives are available today. They are affordable and they are effective in terms of idling.

On to the laws. One important point to bring out at the onset is that the federal government, with the authority that rests with the Environmental Protection Agency, we have no authority whatsoever to promulgate an idling law - a law restricting the amount of time an engine can idle. Our authority rests with things such as the emissions coming out of an engine. We don't set idling law. Across the country there are 15 states that have a statewide law and there are about 90 counties and towns spread out in over 30 states that have laws as well and there's another web link there if you want an exhaustive list of all the current laws as well as a link to the American Transportation Research Institute which also tracks the laws. Now, when the laws were first brought on, some of them date back to the 70's, the intent was the emission and noise. Today I can say with some confidence that compliance is generally poor and same with enforcement, is generally a low priority with law enforcement officials. There are some active programs that are actually interesting. Massachusetts and Connecticut are unique in that they place their idling while in the federal state implementation plan which is a requirement in the Clean Air Act. By doing so they meet their state law federally enforceable and EPA officials can enforce the state idling lot in those two states.

Two problems with the state and local idling laws. One is inconsistency and the other is impracticality. Let me give you an example of inconsistency. I will take two states that border each other, New York and New Jersey. New Jersey has a three minute limit. Again with 10 exemptions. The exemptions are not identical. They differ in some respects. If we took one state, New York State, a five minute limit, 10 exemptions. I listed out some of the counties - it stops at the letter p. From this list a great variety in times you will see throughout the State of New York. I think a key point with this data here is that knowledge of each state by state or county within a state is rather difficult to know absent some kind of signage/education campaign. We are able to obtain this information going out through legal databases and try to obtain what appeared. Try to imagine a truck driver traveling around the country trying to understand what the particular provisions are or exemptions or limits are on a state-by-state. It is very difficult.

Another area of concern expressed to the federal government is in practicality. Many states have exemption for weather that allows in this case the engine to idle for heat and I list four states and they all have a different temperature cut off. In Pennsylvania if it's below 40 degrees you can idle. In New York it's below 25, in D.C. it's below 30, and Connecticut it's below 20. It differs for every person, but you can see the discrepancy between how we set our own levels in our home and what some states have set levels for the interior of the truck cab which is really for all intents and purposes a trucker's home away from home. There is a great variety there and it is difficult, as you can imagine, for truck drivers to comply with that. At that rate, they are improving but certainly we think there is whether calls are rather draconian. The key point here is that many of the laws we're written without input from the audience to comply with these laws and that is truck drivers. That's one of the reasons why we established the workshops to bring truck drivers and owners together in the same room with state.

So the status is rather easy for state and local jurisdictions to enact laws. It's something in their toolbox that they're accustomed to using and so they do it. What we know is there is a lack of compliance. Absent a more consistent and practical approach, truck drivers will simply not comply with these laws making a lot ineffective. They will just build in fines for the cost of doing business. I think practically speaking for is a general lack of enforcement. There are priorities as you can imagine in law enforcement. We will talk about ways to change that and increase enforcement, but today it's not really actively enforced. So we decided to bring States and truck drivers and owners together in a small workshop setting to reach some kind of agreement on a model law and we hope workshops around the country and those are the areas, the cities that we held the workshops at. Our role is not, getting any type of regulation. Our role is a facilitator on behalf of the federal government. This model does not represent EPA or any other agency views regarding idling laws. The model law should be considered informational in nature.

I contemplated going through the idling law but I think it's rather difficult to do that. It's a short 10 page document and it lists the website where you can find it as well as the summary to each of the workshops. He will get any narrative as to some of the discussions that took place and I think that's very informative. One of the new purposes that we added was in addition to the historical means of reducing emissions and noise of the need to conserve fuel and maintain adequate safety of all truck drivers. Also [ indiscernible ] import. The law applies to truck drivers, but it also applies to locations where trucks idle, that is primarily locations where trucks would load or unload and this is something that a lot of truck drivers really brought to our attention that they may not actually be the cause of the idling but it's rather sometimes the owner of the facility that is causing them to wait and it's too hot or too cold and they need to idle. .

The lack of control. What I mean by that if you are a truck driver and you are to drop off your goods at a location and that location has backed up or logistical problem, they are making you wait. At a truck stop no one is making you wait or idle, they're simply there for you to fuel up, eat, take a shower of rest or whenever. So the dividing line was who is controlling the cause of idling and we came down that truck stops should not be implicated there. We hit the traditional exemptions. These are very common-sense exemptions, traffic, safety and health emergency, for law-enforcement purposes, maintenance, and work related operations.

The key provision to this model sleeper berth idling. As you may recall at the very beginning I talked about discretionary and non-discretionary idling motors. Most of the idling take this place and non-discretionary mode. Some states exempt idling which according to this process it's a big mistake. That is the idling you want to reduce. You don't really want to exempt it. In the same thing a lot of the trucking industry said they had problems with complying with sleeper berth exemptions -- I'm sorry with mandating that you're not allowed to idle during the rest period. This provision allows idling for cab comfort purposes until the state implements some kind of financial assistance program for idle reduction technology. The rationale is simply passing a law may not achieve the ultimate goal that you want. People will simply ignore it. So there is this thinking during the workshops that if states could say we are trying to help out the industry, they can then go about saying we're going to enforce the law during the sleeper berth mode, because we are also helping out the industry.

Now, there are some examples of state financial assistance programs. I list them all out there. They are growing. The one that you may have heard about is the Wisconsin one. They have 1 million to provide over five years and they've received an overwhelming amount of proposals. There are some ways to improve the effectiveness of laws. One is to adopt a model law. The other is proper training of law-enforcement, especially empowering Parking Enforcement Officers to issue idling tickets and the other is to post signs at all high idle locations: at truck stops and distribution centers. And the fourth is to post a hot line telephone number to report violations so you can make the appropriate authorities aware of some problems. Another example is issue a mock tickets as warnings. A sixth way is to publish and distribute a directory of state and local public idling laws. Another one is to include a state law to increase the potential for enforcement and possibly receive emission reduction credit. We issued a guidance that was part of the introduction about how states can quantify and use emission reduction associated with truck idling, reducing truck idling. There's another way to establish a data tracking system for repeat violators within the state. This is something we learned from Washington D.C. Finally, there is a new endeavor to have and that is encouraging the creation of idle-free zones. The partnership today - it really works with truck owners and shipping companies that hire trucking companies but for expanding it to include truck stops and one of the things they can do is they can't trade in idle-free zone. There is an addendum associated with this partnership - that's for state air quality officials in that they would offer some kind of enforcement discretion - they wouldn't actively enforce the law at these locations to sign onto implementing an idle free zone. You help the state out with the law.

That was it. I don't have a concluding slide - a slide with information on how to contact me but I'd be happy to give that to anyone.

J. Seplow:
Thank you, Paul. At the introduction I was talking about all the presenters' e-mail addresses. All attendees will be able to get the e-mail addresses at the end. We will move on to our final presentation of Mr. Quon Kwan of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. So Quon, I'm going to get you set up here and you can get started in the next few minutes.

Quon Kwan:
I'm going to talk about a program called Smart Park - providing for real-time truck parking information. Recently, truck parking has appeared and been featured in news articles twice within our local papers. The Washington Times, March 9th, 2006 issue had an article about a fatal crash prompting concern over truckers. It blamed the lack of truck parking as the cause of a fatality. A truck went over a barricade on the Beltway where it meets the I-270 spur causing the death of a passenger car driver - I believe he was a Marriott executive. Cause of that fatality was the truck driver not having rested or having not taken enough rest because there was insufficient parking for him to rest. The second article appeared in The Washington Post, April 16th, 2006 in the opinion section. It is entitled "Trucks on the Highway: How to Live with Them" co-authored by the American Automobile Association and Maryland Trucking Association. It recognizes that trucks are inevitable, that there is a need for all of us to learn to live with trucks, and one way we can do that is to urge more truck parking so that truck drivers can rest when they need to have a rest.

What I'm going to cover is FMCSA's mission, how it ties into truck parking, the background for truck parking, the purpose for the project, the white paper that we commissioned the Volpe National Transportation Center to do for us, and the steps we're taking to procure a demonstration of truck parking.

The mission of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is to (i) reduce the number and severity of commercial vehicles, that is, truck and motor coach crashes and (ii) enhance the efficiency of commercial vehicle operation. The way that truck parking ties in with our safety mission is that FMCSA focuses on safety and that focus on safety primarily is on the driver. We found that a very high percentage of accidents and fatalities are due to issues related to the driver. Someone had asked a question during our webinar about how fatigue and truck parking accidents are related. Our analysis division does regulatory analysis for rule making and in the regulatory analysis for the rule making for the "Hours of Service" rule, they found that driver fatigue accounts for something like 8 percent of all fatal truck crashes, and for 16 percent of all truck crashes regardless of whether they result in a fatality. The lack of safe available parking contributes to driver fatigue. Now, how is truck parking they related to our mission? Keep in mind that if we are going to regulate the hours that a trucker is allowed to drive, then we need to provide or make sure there are spaces in areas available for truck drivers to rest during this period of time that they're required to rest. The facility parking is the flip side of the "Hours of Service" rule . By truck parking facilities, as far as FMCSA is concerned, we mean to include both private truck stops and public rest areas. Weigh-in and inspection stations, park and ride lots and ports, (such as harbors or airports). The majority of the truckers prefer private truck stops because they have the amenities associated with food and fuel, telephones, and that kind of thing. Public rest areas tend to have fewer amenities. We favor the opening up of weigh and inspection stations to be used as rest areas. We have found a number of truckers using commuter park and ride lots as rest areas and also at ports, whatever port space is available at a harbor or an airport.

Background. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in their Special Report entitled "Highway Special Investigation Report" noted there was a lack of information on available parking for trucks on or near Interstate highways. They had recommended that our agency compile a guide both in hard copy and in electronic form on truck parking location and availability. This report came out in 2001, and we are taking that recommendation to heart. The second impetus for getting us involved in truck parking is the congressionally-mandated Federal Highway Administration "Study of Adequacy of Commercial Truck Parking Facilities." That report came out about a year or two later after the NTSB report. That also made some notes about parking and especially noted that there is adequate parking, but the parking spaces are not where they are in demand. In other words, there are corridors or regions where there is a shortage of parking and parking is critically needed. In its recommendation, it urged the use in deployment of intelligent transportation systems to provide information on parking availability in real time to truckers.

FMCSA initiated this "Smart Park" project for the purpose of demonstrating technology to provide information on parking availability in real-time to truckers on the road, and we have split this project into two phases: Phase I and Phase II. In Phase I what we want to do is demonstrate technology for collecting data on space occupancy at a truck parking facility and two, determine how many spaces are available. In other words, you could be collecting occupancy data based on the number of entries and the number of exits at a facility getting the difference between the two and the difference between that number and the capacity so that you can tell truckers how many spaces are available. In Phase II, we'd be demonstrating technologies for disseminating that information about that parking availability either through Highway Advisory Radio, Traveler Information System, 511 or a variable message sign. We also would be interested in demonstrating a technology, presumably in the area of software, that helps forecast availability based on past usage of parking at a facility. Thirdly and most important, we want to use the technology and demonstrate that it can be used for diverting trucks from field parking areas to areas with available capacity along a congested corridor or any region.

We produced a white paper with the help of the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center entitled "Intelligent Transportation Systems and Truck Parking" in February of 2005. This white paper has been posted on our agency's website and you see the link there, it's still on that site. This paper provides background information and lays out issues on five questions, critical questions in the area of truck parking. First, is there a shortage? Is the shortage likely to worsen? What are the potential solutions? How do we match available supply with demand? What role can technology play?

Let's start with the first question -- Is there a parking shortage? Well, the answer was given to us in the Federal Highway study on the adequacy of commercial truck parking. Nationwide, truck parking is adequate, and as I said before, there are regional shortages because the spaces are not where the demand is. Under our Hours of Service rule, drivers may run out of driving time and may not be near available parking which makes parking a critical issue. For the truck load segment part of the trucking industry, that is, for trucks that carry full truck loads, this segment of the industry needs overnight parking and it's also this same segment of the industry that is experiencing substantial growth, almost skyrocketing growth. We have found increased just-in-time delivery contributes to the demand for truck parking.

What are our potential solutions? To touch on what Bill Mahorney had talked about, we can increase the number of spaces. However, this is expensive. A less expensive solution would be to make underutilized spaces more attractive. The least expensive and most cost-effective solution would be to match supply and demand. How do you do that? We need to look at the process in choosing a location for overnight rest. Most of the time it's the truck driver that makes this decision. Sometimes it is with help from a dispatcher or planner. There are truck stop guides available which provide subscribers with information, and there are also web sites to help drivers make decisions. The problem with these guides and website's is there is no historical information provided on parking availability. Is there room for technology? Yes. And this would be where intelligent transportation system (ITS) would fit in. The appropriate ITS technology has to be determined on a case by case basis because the correct technology depends on the topography, climate, and other physical characteristics related to a corridor or region where the technology is being applied. A real-time parking information technology system might include a subsystem data on parking, converting that data to parking availability, and disseminating information about that availability to truck drivers on the road in real time.

What are the steps that FMCSA is taking? We started with the Broad Agency Announcement back in June of 2005. This was replaced with a pre-solicitation in December of 2005. Our acquisition office encountered a back log of procurements so we went to GovWorks. GovWorks sent out its solicitation to qualified bidders The evaluation was completed in March of 2006, but we were not able to make the award due to funding issues. We are currently negotiating with GovWorks and we plan to come up with another solicitation as early as late August of this year, and a solicitation will appear in FedBizzOps. My contact information is indicated on this slide, and Jennifer will, I guess, repeat that later. I will now turn it back over to Jennifer.

J. Seplow:
Thank you, Quon. I hope everybody enjoyed all four of these presentations.

Before we move on to the Q&A session, I want to briefly mention the Freight Peer to Peer Program. This new program is sponsored by the FHWA Freight Professional Development Program. The program is meant to facilitate information sharing between public sector freight transportation professionals and provide technical assistance on an as-needed basis. You can find more information about the program by going to the web address showing on the slide on your screen. This web site contains more information about the program, as well as information on how to apply to be a peer or receive technical assistance.

In addition to the Peer to Peer Program, I also wanted to mention that FHWA is now working on developing topics for next year's seminars. If you have a topic that you would like to hear about, or if you have ideas for presenters, please either type it into the chat area or send me an email to let me know.

I'm going to start off the question and answer session with the questions posted online. We have quite a few questions. If we still have time we will open up the phone lines for questions.

We'll start with a question for Quon, he was the last presenter. Quon, the question for you is how are ports considered given that gate hours may not coincide with drivers' required parking hours?

Q. Kwan:
We will consider ports as possible or potential truck parking areas . How are ports considered given that they are not used at night? Most ports I believe are very busy during the day. At nighttime, they are pretty quiet. It's at night time when truckers need to park. So despite the fact ports are not used at night time, ports may have spaces available that truckers can park.

J. Seplow:
Okay. I'm going to go back up and start at the top. I think the first few questions are for Bill. Who will assist states in formulating a request for this funding?

B. Mahorney:
The Register notice that will be published should be self explanatory and will explain all the particulars of what the criteria is. That should hopefully be enough to help a state or municipality in applying. But that will be as I said after we get a 1-B clearance, we cannot put it out legally until we obtain that clearance. But we will also put something out to the division offices at the same time. We will notify the divisions as to their particular role and ask them to notify the State and local governments as well.

J. Seplow:
Which State agencies will be eligible to apply for FHWA safe parking funds?

B. Mahorney:
State is defined in 231018 which basically says all the districts. They don't specify but since it is a federal aid project we figure it's going to be the State Department of Transportation or whoever handles the highways within the State.

J. Seplow:
You mentioned that FHWA clearly does not intend to have the initiative compete with privately-owned facilities. What about cases where even just adding parking capacity does compete (such as in urban areas where privately-owned truck stops charge users for parking on an hourly basis)?

B. Mahorney:
This is a tough one. What I refer to in the congressional plan, which is the House bill, had language the committee to develop this pilot project after working closely with the administration, industry, State, safety and construction agencies and truck plazas unrest top operative spirit. It is the committee's intent only to address adding parking facilities with an identified truck parking shortage. This truck project is not intended to compete with local business or enterprise. We have got a tough job. We have got to figure -- probably the most simple way of doing it is we can't give money to one private entity to the detriment of another. That's just something we're going to have to keep in mind and balance what Congress has told us with the language that these funds can be used to build parking spaces adjacent to private parking plazas and such. Where does Clinton have to wait that and that is one of the reasons Congress put in the language that said "when you apply" you need to show that even partnered and talked to different folks that are affected by this in the area. We're going to have to go through this and see if we can reconcile the proposal with the Congressional language. It's going to be tossed.

J. Seplow:
The next question, you've already answered the first part which was will you be sending states packets of information explaining how to make application. The second part is what type of projects will be considered to obtain this funding?

B. Mahorney:
The things I put in the power point. Those are the things Congress told us they want to be eligible for funding. The Federal Register Notice - I would definitely encourage you all to use those links that I gave for the clearance. Even though that is not the final notice, it does outline -- in other words, it will give you a flavor for what we will be looking for during this process. Any of those things that are listed in the power point presentation are definitely going to be eligible. It's going to be a question of who makes the best case in the area of most need.

J. Seplow:
Quon, I think this next question is directed to you. You did touch on this. The NTSB reported in 2000 that the percent of large truck accidents involving illegally parked vehicles on shoulders is a small number (0.3 percent). Can you comment on this number, and has it been refined? Is the need for additional truck parking based on the link between fatigue and parking rather than actual accidents?

Q. Kwan:
I'll try to answer that question. On the first part of that question regarding large truck accidents and illegal parking, we haven't seen any refinement or evidence that proves the NTSB conclusion Recently, I think the Maryland State Highway Administration did a study of fatalities or crashes involving illegal parking -- I'm not sure what their numbers were. I would point to that study to confirm or question the NTSB conclusion. - The study is posted on the Maryland State Highway Administration website. The second part of the question concerns the link between the need for additional truck parking and fatigue. The reason we are involved in the Smart Truck Parking project is the need to provide rest spaces for fatigued truckers. As I mentioned, our analysis team found that 8 percent of those fatal truck crashes can be linked fatigue and 16 percent of all crashes regardless of fatality can be linked to fatigue. Helping to provide truck parking will help solve the fatigue problem. Although it will not completely solve the problem, but it will help.

J. Seplow:
I should mention for all the presenters if there is a question you want to jump in on anything to please feel free to. Even if the question is directed to one person in particular. Moving on. The next question I believe is for Hari. Would FHWA consider waivers to the 3-mile rule in areas where an interstate highway passes through a sensitive area, such as a national park or environmentally sensitive area?

H. Kalla:
The [ indiscernible ] but based on that, the number of Commons, the same issue but in different format, but about [ indiscernible ] would you consider [ indiscernible ]. We are looking at that 3 mile rule and see how we can adjust the guide. I am sure we will be discussing that.

J. Seplow:
The next question is for you as well. Is it correct that only oasis facilities that are within 3 miles from an interstate highway are eligible and non-interstate limited access highways are not eligible, correct?

H. Kalla:
[ audio not clear ]

J. Seplow:
Are all the services such as fuel required for access to funds? Also, can a state rest area for cars and trucks with limited services have access to these funds because he said "within public right of way, not an interstate oasis"?

H. Kalla:
There is no funding involved in this particular program. All it involves is the designation of a facility as the oasis. There is no funding involved.

J. Seplow:
There are a few more questions for you, Hari. Is this a PPTA type of program? What is the benefit to these types of private establishments?

H. Kalla:
The topic of the seminar is the truck parking, I think that is the state here. And also it's a program that's supposed to [ indiscernible ]. There's a big issue in the rest area. There are two issues. One, is there are not enough public rest areas on interstates and the second thing is the state DOT is not only provide the service [ indiscernible ] I have two similar questions. The question that was tied in to consider criteria provided for alternative truck idling for special designations for green oasis for parking areas provide any service and the question from the room why isn't truck stop [ indiscernible ] included in the criteria? [ indiscernible ] to include these standards for [ audio not clear ] And the criteria we came up with but also the state colder input, we talk to the state colder and all the interested parties and that did not come as the minimum required criteria. I don't think we got a single commented asking us that we should include them as the criteria. This is basically the minimum criteria and interstate facilities can go beyond, so no, it was not [ indiscernible ].

J. Seplow:
There was a second question. Will a response document be sent to commenters?

H. Kalla
No. But what we will do we had about 39 comments. What we will do is [ audio not clear ] On what kind of comments we got and how did we address them. If you are interested in looking at what kind of comments you got, if you go to the [ indiscernible ] our final program will have some commentary. [ audio not clear ]

J. Seplow:
We'll now go to a few questions for Paul. The first question for you is there a correlation between the number of hours spent idling with the cost of fuel? Has that being tracked?

P. Bubbosh:
I thought I answered that earlier. On the face of it, the question is - have idling hours driven the cost of fuel? I would say no, I think there are other factors that are driving the cost of fuel. The question is more in terms of the relation between fuel and costs. Yes, obviously track how much fuel is consumed it's anywhere between 80 to 82 gallons per hour which is largely a factor of the load on the engine. The more air conditioning the higher the r.p.m. The more consumption fuel is born to take place and therefore the more emissions emitted. On the face of it, to answer the question, no, I don't believe idling hours per se drive up the cost of fuel.

J. Seplow:
Thank you. The next question is: did you include enforcement officials in your meetings?

P. Bubbosh:
To the extent that the enforcement is conducted by a state air quality or infirm to person, mean the responsibility rest, the responsibility and -- in the presence of actually enforcing it, then yes, we did invite them and they did appear at two workshops in particular. The one in San Francisco and the one in New Haven, Connecticut. Conducted primarily by a general law enforcement, no, we didn't target them. That is really one of the problems they're having is truly enforcing the law associated with state environmental office, then we as a federal agency have a greater ability to implement how they enforce the law or how to improve compliance where enforcing it strictly in their purvey a general law enforcement. I think is much more difficult for us to get a police officer to spend time enforcing idling laws.

J. Seplow:
Thank you. We will go back to some questions for Bill now. Are the parking areas in your program required to be established in conjunction with rest areas? Would establishment of parking locations having food and cleaning facilities not associated with rest areas qualify for 100% funding?

B. Mahorney:
Not necessarily. Congress was pretty broad with that. That certainly is an option. With regard to the second part, Congress referred to some specific funding criteria they referred to in title 23, 120B and C and for 100% funding there is a specific definition. There's a whole lot of stuff here but basically it says "in this subsection in terms of safety rest area can park their vehicles and rest for food, fuel and lodge services are not available and that is located on a segment of the highway ..." that is one of the two paragraphs. Paragraph A refers to 80% funding space,the first to 100 percent. To qualify for 100% to have to funnel that category. So the answer is no, a facility that had all those would not qualify for 100% funds.

J. Seplow:
The next question I believe is for you, Bill, the question is have we addressed what happens if any of these heavily funded private facilities closed?

B. Mahorney:
Actually, no. As far as our program right now, it just addresses the parking, the deficiency of parking in that respect. I'm not really sure I'd understand the question. I'm assuming from what you just said is if we give money to somebody and they established parking, is there any provision for that? And no, that's not something we really addressed as yet, but hopefully, we're hoping that we would see a problem in their proposal - something that is weak enough to go away and hopefully would not get funded in the first place.

J. Seplow:
If the person who asked that question if you want to write in and clarify we'll open up the phone lines in a few minutes if you want to clarify that. You can go ahead and do that.

Bill, the next question is in addition, to the general lack of truck parking facilities, one of the frequent complaints I have heard from local truckers is that encroaching residential development has created pressure to severely restrict or close outright existing facilities that do exist. Can any of the SAFETEA-LU money be used to purchase some of this property to create buffer zones around existing property?

B. Mahorney:
I don't think that would really be consistent with Congressional intent. That really is not enhancing parking. It offers some, I don't think so. Then it wouldn't be a buffer zone. Obviously, some of the things I mentioned, improving access, things of that nature, absolutely. In terms of purchasing something to create a buffer zone I do not think that would be eligible.

J. Seplow:
Another question for Hari, a long one. The Connecticut and Massachusetts state trucking associations I've spoken to decry the paucity of truck parking berths at rest stops, an apparent trend to convert existing rest stop space from truck parking to restaurant use. They're enthusiastic about truck stop electrification, and positive about "quiet" areas where trucks with APUs can park away from vehicles idling their engines. More births at rest stops can reduce idling in inappropriate areas, such as near people, and electrified or quiet berths can reduce idling overall. Please elaborate on how FHWA plans to address these opportunities via its interstate oasis program or other efforts?

H. Kalla:
It's not been addressed in oasis. If you know anything or any other program or effort that are looking at those opportunities. That's definitely not being addressed in the oasis program. The parking has been an issue for a long time and that's why I think Congress created this oasis program. That's definitely -- [ indiscernible ] address the idling issue. The only thing that I can link to it and unfortunately, we are in who rulemaking sort can't say too much about it, there is a provision of the energy bill encouraging by virtue of increasing the weight by 400 pounds of commercial motor vehicle if it does in fact exemption for using an AP you. Unfortunately, that's all I can say but it certainly something Congress had said please do.

J. Seplow:
Paul, is anything you want to add since it does address idling?

P. Bubbosh:
No.

J. Seplow:
Okay. The next question we have is for Quon. What is the current state of ITS usage for providing real-time truck parking information? Any examples? This might be a viable undertaking for major metropolitan areas with existing ITS infrastructure and where congestion is prominent. Existing ITS infrastructure across the nation does not provide any truck related information.

Q. Kwan:
To answer that question, right now as far as we know there is no application of ITS to truck parking. However, where we see ITS application to parking is in the area of car parking and that's most common but well exemplified in cases of parking garages at airports, such as Jacksonville and Baltimore (BWI). There they tell you whether this particular aisle of the garage has space available and how many spaces are available on that floor, and not just whether the garage has any space or whether any particular floor of the garage has any space. The most recent project I visited involving ITS for parking was in the San Francisco Bay area. The San Francisco Bay Area Transit Rapid Transit Rockridge Station commuter lot is equipped with ITS and two variable messages on Highway 24 tell you at a couple of miles ahead of the Rockridge exit and one mile ahead of the Rockridge exit whether there is parking available at the parking lot for commuters. As far as we know it has not been applied to truck parking and that's why FHWA recommended a demonstration project to show that ITS can be used for to address the truck parking problem.

J. Seplow:
The next question is for Hari. Would a vertical oasis or air rights be considered under the Interstate Oasis Program?

H. Kalla:
That was not considered in the draft language we had. [ audio not clear ] You might have a gas station with adequate parking. Do you mean by vertical [ indiscernible ] all know, that was not [ indiscernible ] I'm not really clear on what you mean by vertical.

J. Seplow:
If you want to clarify any minute we'll open up the phone lines.

H. Kalla:
Again, I think the [ indiscernible ] you have to get off a public exit and get off the interstate and go to the private facilities where you have parking.

J. Seplow:
The last question: the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs did submit a letter of comment during the comment period that suggested the need for truck parking and idling alternatives. Was the letter not received?

H. Kalla:
I'm sure we looked at it, but I don't remember [ audio not clear ] If you have a specific question you wanted to send me you have my e-mail address and my phone number so give me a call. [ audio not clear ]

J. Seplow:
That's all the questions I have typed in. At this time we will open the front line for questions. Operator, can you please give directions for asking questions over the phone.

Operator:
Ladies and gentlemen, if you wish to ask a question, please press star followed by one and a touch-tone telephone. Any audio like questions for please press star and one on your touch-tone telephone. So there are no audio questions.

J. Seplow:
Thank you. At this time we will go ahead and end a little bit early. If you do think of questions after the seminar, the representative e-mail addresses are shown on your screen and you can send them to me as well and I can direct them to the presenters. I would like to thank everybody for attending today's seminar. The recording will be available next week. The presentations will be available as well for download on the website and I will be sending out an e-mail when everything is posted and available.

The next seminar will be held on August 16, and is titled "Improving Border Efficiency." If you haven't done so already, I encourage you to visit the Talking Freight Web Site and sign up for this seminar. I also encourage you to join the Freight Planning LISTSERV if you have not already done so. Please also feel free to send me ideas for topics and speakers for next year's seminar series.

I want to thank all four of our presenters and everybody in attendance and enjoy the rest of your day!

Updated: 03/29/2011
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