Truck Parking is finally starting to receive more attention. It is certainly long overdue, given that it has been a known problem in the industry for as long as STC can remember. With approximately 313,000 truck parking spaces existing nationwide – one parking spot for every 11 drivers—this issue is a national problem.
Indeed, in ATRI’s most recent Critical Issues in the Trucking Industry survey, truck parking was identified as the industry’s top issue, with 38% of respondents calling for encouraging local and regional governments to reduce regulatory burdens limiting the construction and expansion of truck parking facilities.
DOT Secretary Buttigieg has thankfully made it a priority of DOT, and two Bills were introduced in the 117th Congress to push more money out to the states to help address the problem. The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act (S 5169) was introduced on Dec. 1 in the Senate and is similar to a bill introduced in March 2021 in the House (HR 2187). The Senate bill would permit DOT to issue grants for projects that provide truck parking, including $175 million for fiscal year 2023. One bill has already been introduced in the 118th Congress as well. The SHIP It Act also addresses truck parking.
STC is happy to see prominent national leaders finally singing off the same song sheet. But to succeed, STC believes we need a comprehensive solution that begins with a complete inventory of available parking and a coordinated effort to build capacity where it is needed most. Unfortunately, while truck parking is a national problem, it quickly becomes a local issue in which citizens object to important projects, preventing progress.
We also believe technology can play a key role. We need a national truck parking system to notify drivers—wherever they are—when truck parking spaces are available so they can stop and rest. A national truck parking plan and notification system should be a top national priority included in DOT’s National Roadway Safety Strategy. The plan also needs to partner with the private sector to build much-needed capacity.
Not only would this benefit safety, but efficiency and productivity as well. Many studies have shown us the inefficiencies and stress drivers bear when they can’t find a place to stop and park. The technology is available today to do this. We need a national plan that works collaboratively with state and local government and community leaders, as well as the private sector, to make this happen. We have started down this path; we need to keep the pressure on to make it a reality