Several states considering moves that could affect truck parking

June 22, 2018

Tyson Fisher


As truck parking continues to be a problem, some states are attempting to solve the issue. The Interstate 10 Corridor Coalition is seeking a grant for truck parking alerts. Meanwhile in Iowa, the state Department of Transportation is considering getting rid of several rest areas while adding truck parking in other locations. Pennsylvania is trying to solve the problems with a public-private partnership.

I-10 Corridor Coalition grant
State departments of transportation in Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and California, collectively known as the I-10 Corridor Coalition, are looking to obtain a federal grant to build a program that will alert truckers of available public parking spaces at I-10 rest areas.

The coalition is seeking an Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment Grant worth $13.7 million. The Federal Highway Administration oversees the grant.

According to an Arizona Department of Transportation news release, the coalition states are proposing a system that would inform truckers of available parking.

The proposal is similar to a $25 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant that was awarded to eight Midwest states in 2015. Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin have installed what they call a Truck Parking Information Management System or TPIMS. The systems will send truckers parking availability information through traveler information websites, dynamic truck parking signage along interstates and smart phone apps.

The Arizona DOT claims the I-10 system will help truckers better plan their daily schedules while reducing the number of trucks parked along the freeway shoulders and ramps. The department also says safety will improve by reducing the number of tired drivers, reduce time spent searching for parking and reduce emissions/fuel consumption.

I-10 Corridor Coalition’s proposal does not add parking spaces to the infrastructure. Rather, it lets truckers know what existing spaces are available in real time.

Iowa DOT seeks input on rest area closures
While the I-10 Corridor Coalition is trying to help truck drivers park at existing locations, Iowa is considering getting rid of several parking areas in the state.

Iowa has 38 full-service rest areas and 16 parking-only rest areas. From 2012 to 2016, the Iowa DOT have assessed the demand for all rest areas in the state for its Iowa Rest Area Management Plan. As a result, the state has recommended improvements for high-demand rest areas and closures for the rest. Included in the analysis was 24-hour traffic counts at the facilities.

After analyzing each rest area, the Iowa DOT is recommending closing 11 full-service rest areas and all 16 parking-only rest areas over the next 30 years.

Iowa’s DOT recognized that although passenger vehicle parking was sufficient during peak times, truck parking often exceeded the amount of spaces during peak overnight hours. In a weighted evaluations, truck parking was valued the third highest at 20 percent next to spacing and usage at 30 percent and 25 percent, respectively.

“We understand that adequate truck parking is an important part of accommodating freight travel throughout the state,” an Iowa DOT video explains. “It is important to know that our studies have shown that most of the truck parking at parking-only sites is underutilized during peak hours. Therefore, we are considering closure of all parking-only sites over five years.”

The closure of 11 full-service rest areas and 16 parking-only sites will eliminate 279 truck parking spaces. However, Iowa plans to replace those spaces with more parking at existing locations as well as implementing what they call an “interstate oasis program.”

According to the Federal Highway Administration, an interstate oasis is an off-freeway facility, such as a truck stop, that supplements public rest areas. Certain standards are required to be considered an oasis, including truck parking.

Pennsylvania looking into truck parking solutions
On Thursday, June 21, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation participated in the Eastern Pennsylvania Freight Summit. During the summit, truck parking was addressed.

Among the many topics discussed, stakeholders discussed a public-private partnership initiative to alleviate truck parking issues. Those involved in discussions were:

  • Jeff Purdy, transportation specialist, FHWA Office of Freight Management and Operations
  • Kevin Stewart, president and CEO, Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association
  • Joe Gurinko, deputy director, PennDOT P3 Office

According to a Lehigh Valley Live report, truck parking was the liveliest discussion on Thursday. During the discussion, stakeholders talked about how trucking companies, warehouse developers and municipalities are at least partly responsible for truck parking.

Still in the early stages of the public-private partnership, PennDOT will start with requesting information.

Tyson Fisher

Tyson Fisher joined Land Line Magazine in March 2014. An award-winning journalist and tireless researcher, his news reports, features and blogs bring depth to our editorial content, backed with solid detail. Tyson is a lifelong Kansas Citian.