US Truck Parking Shortage

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US Truck Parking Shortage

Key Takeaways

  • The stretch of I-30 between Little Rock and Texarkana, the I-40 corridor between Memphis and Little Rock, the I-95 corridor, the Chicago area, and California all face a similar issue of having very high truck traffic density when compared to the number of available parking spaces.
  • California's official plan to solve its truck parking shortage issues is called California Freight Mobility Plan 2020, and it introduces a concept called the 'Smart Truck Parking' system.
  • Three additional locations in the US with major truck parking shortage problems are the I-35 corridor, Maryland, and District Five.

Introduction

The report provides an analysis of five previously identified locations in the US with truck parking shortages. The locations are the I-30 corridor between Little Rock and Texarkana, the I-40 corridor between Memphis and Little Rock, the I-95 corridor, the Chicago area, and California. Furthermore, the report also provides an analysis of additional locations in the US with truck parking shortages, along with their respective maps. The three additional locations identified in the research are the I-35 corridor, Maryland, and District Five. Further details on the logic can be found in the Research Strategy section.

1. I-30 Highway Between Little Rock and Texarkana

Existing Truck Parking Problems

  • According to a report by the Federal Highway Association, the stretch of I-30 joining Little Rock and Texarkana is one of the worst areas for truck parking. This is due to the lack of enough authorized parking spaces on the highway and the high density of trucks.
  • According to Texas Statewide Truck Parking Study, I-30 has the lowest amount of truck parking spaces in Texas, as there are only 32 parking lots "per 100,000 truck-miles traveled."
  • Despite the lack of enough truck parking spaces, I-30, I-45, and I35 handle more parking densities than any other highways in Texas.
  • According to a research report by the University of Arkansas, the stretch of I-30 connecting Little Rock and Texarkana has a lot of truck traffic density. However, there are very few authorized truck parking spaces in the area. Therefore, most of the trucks are parked at gas stations, restaurants, and diners.
  • The study assumes that the lack of enough parking spaces, minimal parking costs at restaurants, and drivers preferring to stop at gas stations are the main reasons for the underutilization of the authorized parking spaces despite having a high truck density in the area.

Efforts for Solving Truck Parking Issues

  • An old study from 2017 conducted by the Texas Department of Transportation analyzes the need and opportunities for new parking lots in I-30's Texarkana area. However, no major project has been conducted based on this study. Similarly, no current expansion projects for the area could be found.

2. I-40 Highway Between Memphis and Little Rock

Existing Truck Parking Problems

  • While there is less truck parking demand in I-40 when compared to I-30 due to more number of truck parking spaces, the closure of the I-40 bridge in Memphis has resulted in a huge truck parking congestion in the stretch of I-40 between Memphis and Little Rock. Around 40,000 vehicles crossed the bridge every day, and around 12,500 of those were commercial trucks.
  • The increased congestion is mainly because the closure of the bridge has resulted in truck drivers taking rest breaks between Memphis and Little Rock rather than the previously popular West Memphis area. Therefore, the parking spaces in the area have become insufficient.
  • Before the closure of the bridge, the Little Rock area of I-40 was already facing unauthorized parking issues. Based on a 2019 report by the University of Arkansas, there was more unauthorized parking lot density in the area than any other highway in Arkansas.

Efforts for Solving Truck Parking Issues

  • The main reason for the current problem was the closure of the I-40 bridge in May. However, the bridge is going to be reopened very soon. The official date for the reopening is August 6, 2021.
  • Some truck parking expansion projects are ongoing in I-40. The Arkansas Department of Transportation is expanding truck parking spaces in the West Memphis area.
  • Similarly, other truck parking spaces in different parts of I-40 are also in the process of expansion. For example, the Arizona Department of Transportation is also expanding its truck parking spaces. These projects will help in decreasing the congestion in the area.

3. I-95 Corridor

Existing Truck Parking Problems

  • According to the National Coalition on Truck Parking, there are truck parking shortages throughout the entire I-95 corridor. The survey analyzed the parking inventory data from 2014 to the end of 2019 to generate this finding.
  • A majority of truck drivers reported in the same survey that they had problems finding safe parking along the I-95 corridor.
  • The truck drivers who participated in the survey cited the I-95 corridor as a location with high parking shortages.
  • I-95 is considered to be the second-most dangerous interstate corridor of the US for truck drivers based on the number of fatal truck accidents that occur on the corridor. I-95 is the longest north-south interstate highway and covers the highest number of states (15 states). Therefore, there is usually a high truck traffic density on the highway, and it requires a lot of parking space.

Efforts for Solving Truck Parking Issues

  • There have been many projects related to solving truck parking issues on the interstate highway. There is an organization called the I-95 Corridor Coalition that tries to solve persisting issues on the highway.
  • A major contribution of Corridor Coalition is the Truck'N Park service. Truck'N Park is an online service "designed to provide accurate, up-to-the-minute information on available truck parking spaces at selected parking facilities along the I-95 corridor."
  • The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) commenced a new project in May 2021 for the expansion of parking lots along the I-95 corridor. The VDOT is adding "20 news spaces for trucks and oversize vehicles to safely park along I-95 in the Fredericksburg area." The main objective of the expansion is to meet the growing demand for truck parking in the I-95 corridor.

4. Chicago Area

Existing Truck Parking Problems

  • According to a report by Chicago Business, major corridors in Chicago receive a volume of around seven thousand trucks each day. The huge number of railroad crossings in the area is the main reason for the truck and passenger vehicles congestion.
  • The trucks on the stretch of Harlem Avenue from I-55 to I-95 face an average delay of 14.7 hours each day. Therefore, many truck drivers prefer parking or resting in these heavy traffic areas, such as Harlem Avenue and Cicero.
  • Due to large delay times and heavy traffic, truck drivers in the Chicago area find it very difficult to find parking spaces. Therefore, many drivers have to park on the road shoulders or unauthorized slots, making it very unsafe and unpleasant.
  • According to the National Coalition on Truck Parking, there are truck parking shortages throughout the Chicago area and the states surrounding the Chicago area. A majority of truck drivers reported in the same survey that they had problems finding safe parking in the area.

Efforts for Solving Truck Parking Issues

  • According to Chicago Business, many planners in the Chicago area are trying to find real estate that could potentially be turned into truck parking spaces. One of the discussed ideas for solving the truck parking issues is to establish an inventory of available spaces.
  • On August 21, 2019, the Truck Parking Near Me company opened two new parking facilities for commercial trucks in the areas surrounding the Chicago freight hub. The company first conducted a survey and realized that "there is a need beyond crisis levels within a 40-mile radius of the Chicagoland area."
  • In April 2021, the first phase of a $6 million development, including a secure truck and trailer parking facility, was announced by the Transport Properties of Chicago. The project will build 574 secure parking spaces.

5. California

Existing Truck Parking Problems

  • An article from Ohio University reported that California is the state with the highest traffic congestion in the US. California leads all the states in the US with 85% urban interstate congestion. Since the volume of trucks on the highways of California is very high, it is not uncommon for the state to have a truck parking shortage.
  • According to the National Coalition on Truck Parking, there are truck parking shortages in California. The survey analyzed the parking inventory data from 2014 to the end of 2019 to generate this finding.
  • Most truck drivers reported in the same survey that they had problems finding safe parking in California. The truck drivers who participated in the survey cited California as a location with high parking shortages.

Efforts for Solving Truck Parking Issues

  • The California Department of Transportation has introduced a number of strategies for the state to manage truck parking shortages under the California Freight Mobility Plan 2020. The agency intends to build a smart truck parking and reservation system to manage the flow of traffic into and out of the truck parking spaces in California.
  • The California Department of Transportation also intends to expand the 'Smart Truck Parking' system and "broadcast freight travel information widely to the trucking community."
  • Under the same plan, the agency intends to expand the existing private and public parking facilities in California and develop new facilities in strategic locations.
  • The I-10 Corridor Coalition received a huge grant of $6.85 million in 2019 to develop a Truck Parking Availability System (I-10 TPAS) that will go live in 2023. This system will "detect, monitor, and provide real-time truck parking availability information to truck drivers, dispatchers and other interested stakeholders through roadside dynamic message signs, smartphone and in-cab applications and online via websites and traveler information sites." This system will benefit four states — California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

ADDITIONAL 3 LOCATIONS WITH TRUCK PARKING SHORTAGE

1. Interstate-35 Corridor

  • I-35 is one of the most heavily used and congested truck parking corridors in Texas with a huge demand for parking spaces. However, it has a low traffic parking density of 53 spaces per 10,000 miles, which is much lower than the statewide average.
  • While there are a lot of truck parking spaces in I-35, they are concentrated around just six locations. Therefore, other locations in the interstate often have shortages of truck parking spaces.
  • The map of the I-35 corridor has been attached to this link.
  • Austin's I-35 is considered to have the worst traffic congestion for truckers in all of Texas. The delayed miles and annual cost for truckers caused by I-35 in Austin are 98,804 person-hours and $45 million, respectively.
  • There are 4,573 parking spaces throughout I-35. While 318 of those are public, 4,255 of those are privately-owned.

2. The State of Maryland

  • According to a report by the Maryland Department of Transportation, around 190 trucks in the state are unable to find parking spaces in the morning every day. Therefore, they resort to parking in unauthorized, unsafe, and undesignated areas like the side of the highways.
  • The Maryland Department of Transportation admits that limited parking spaces in the state could be the reason for truck drivers' hesitancy to park at the designated parking lots. The urban areas in Maryland have "very few parking facilities and little to no available truck parking spaces during overnight hours."
  • The map of Maryland with some of its truck parking spaces has been attached to this link.
  • Maryland has been ranked as the second-most congested state in terms of highway traffic by an article from Ohio University. It has a 75% urban interstate congestion rate. According to the Maryland Department of Transportation, 23,320 heavy truck drivers from Maryland lose a total of over $130 million in a year due to the delay in finding parking spaces.
  • There are 2,902 designated truck parking spaces in Maryland. 333 of those spaces are located at 12 rest areas, travel plazas, and welcome centers. Similarly, 262 of those spaces are located at 14 truck weight and inspection centers. Lastly, 595 of those spaces are located at MDOT facilities.

3. District Five

  • According to the Florida Department of Transportation, the shortage of available and efficient truck parking spaces is a major concern for the safety of the truck drivers and economic competitiveness in District Five of Florida. In District Five, 85% of all freight is moved by trucks. According to the report, "41 states provide more truck parking spaces per 100,000 daily truck vehicle miles traveled than Florida.
  • The demand for truck parking spaces within the District Five highways outweighs the supply. For example, the average demand for I-4 is 481 spaces. However, only 89 spaces are available.
  • The map of District Five has been attached to this link.
  • Around 55.6 million miles are traveled daily through the state highways in District Five. The highest demand for truck parking spaces in a day occurs at mid-day from 10 AM to 3 PM. The I-4 corridor in District Five receives the second-highest daily truck density. However, it has the lowest parking spaces available.
  • There are 17 public truck parking locations with 652 spaces in District Five. Similarly, there are 26 private truck parking locations with 1,268 parking spaces in District Five. Therefore, there are 1,920 total parking spaces in the district.

Research Criteria

The findings are based on reports and articles published by government agencies, research papers, and articles in the media. The exact quantitative information related to the traffic encountered at the locations was not available in the public domain for some locations. Therefore, we have included qualitative information from reports, such as high traffic congestion and low traffic congestion, and alternative quantitative information, such as miles traveled, congestion rate, and delayed miles, in this research. A dated report from March 2019 was used for the findings related to District Five. Since no recent studies had been conducted on the location and no other location with adequate information could be found in the public domain, the report from March 2019 has been used in this research. All the remaining information related to both parts of the research has been adequately found and included.
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