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Publication Number: FHWA-RD-01-159
Date: March 2002

Model Development For National Assessment of Commercial Vehicle Parking

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This report summarizes activities and research that were undertaken as part of a study mandated by the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). Section 4027 of TEA-21 specifies:

The Secretary shall conduct a study to determine the location and quantity of parking facilities at commercial truck stops and travel plazas and public rest areas that could be used by motor carriers to comply with Federal hours of service rules.The study shall include an inventory of current facilities serving the National Highway System, analyze where shortages exist or are projected to exist, and propose a plan to reduce the shortages.

1.1 Purpose of study

The goal of this study was to provide technical support to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in satisfying the requirements of TEA-21 Section 4027. This study of the National Highway System (NHS) extends a study completed in 1996 of commercial driver rest and parking requirements on the Interstate Highway System ("1996 Study" ). (1) The present study involved the conduct of the following four tasks:

  • Plan, organize, and provide logistical support for a meeting to bring together key national stakeholder groups as a kick-off to the study.
  • Estimate the extent and geographic distribution of truck rest parking supply, demand, and shortages (current and projected) along the NHS using existing national and State inventories and studies.
  • Determine how commercial vehicle drivers plan for and address their parking needs for both short-duration and Federal hours-of-service rest; how drivers select when, where, and at what facility they park; and how and why drivers decide to use public versus private parking facilities.
  • Provide technical support to public-private partnerships in various States in carrying out their initiatives and preparing their plans of action.

The objective of the stakeholder meeting was to present an overview of the proposed data collection methodology, the parking demand estimation model, and the driver survey being developed as part of this study.A meeting was held in May 2000 to brief approximately 30 attendees representing 15 different stakeholder organizations.Attendees included representatives of Federal and State departments of transportation, enforcement agencies, the motor carrier industry, private truck stop operators, commercial drivers, and safety advocacy groups. The meeting provided the project team with important insight into the factors affecting commercial driver parking needs, sources of information that could be used in the study, and a critical review of the proposed plan for model and survey development and data collection.

The objective of the second task was to develop a parking demand model to assist States in predicting truck parking demand along their highways and to conduct a national assessment of commercial vehicle parking availability by comparing existing and projected demand along segments of the NHS to existing and projected supply. The results of this task, together with a summary of the model development process, are presented in this report.

The third task involved the development of a questionnaire and nationwide survey of truck drivers to determine truck driver parking needs and preferences. The survey sought to determine: 1) how truck drivers plan for and address their parking needs; 2) how they select when, where, and at which facility they park (including public versus private stops); and 3) what drivers think of the adequacy of current parking facilities. The results of the driver survey task are published in a separate report.(2)

In addition to the above tasks, a fourth task was undertaken to provide technical support to public-private partnerships in various States in carrying out their initiatives and preparing plans of action. The results of this partnership support task, which include a compilation of the status reports from the various State partnerships, are presented in a separate report.(3)

1.2 Objective of this report

This report documents the results of the task to develop a parking demand model for estimating the extent and geographic distribution of truck rest parking supply, demand, and shortages. The next section briefly reviews previous studies of truck parking issues including the 1996 Study and subsequent studies by individual States.Then, the report focuses on the parking demand estimation model developed for the TEA-21 Section 4027 study, which was used to assess the demand for existing parking and to forecast the availability of commercial vehicle parking along the NHS. Along with an explanation of the model, this document presents supporting research, discusses field studies, and chronicles the process behind the development, calibration, and validation of the parking demand model.

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