PFJopen Photo: Sean Kilcarr/American Trucker

Report: Commercialized rest areas constrict truck parking

Study conducted by NATSO points out that nearly 90% of truck parking in the U.S. provided by the private sector.

A new report issued today by NATSO – formerly known as the National Association of Truck Stop Operators – claims that more truck parking spaces are made available by the private sector versus government-sponsored efforts, especially where the commercialization of rest areas is concerned.

The report titled, Rest Area Commercialization and Truck Parking Capacity 2018, updates a 2010 analysis of the relationship between commercial rest areas, which are operated by the government and located directly on the Interstate right-of-way, and total truck parking capacity.

“This study highlights that commercial rest areas result in significantly fewer truck parking spaces and do not represent a viable means of expanding commercial truck parking capacity,” said NATSO President and CEO Lisa Mullings in a statement.

“This reaffirms the industry's position that truck parking is best handled by the private sector, which provides nearly 90% of the nation's truck parking,” she added.

Conducted by Ronald Knipling of Safety for the Long Haul Inc., the research examined the correlation between interstate corridors' total truck parking capacity and the presence of commercial rest areas on the right-of-way.

Knipling’s research, which evaluated more than 12,000 miles of interstate in 13 states, found that non-commercialized interstate corridors have 6.57 truck parking spaces per mile, or 69% more, than the 3.88 spaces per miles on the commercialized interstate segments.

Non-commercialized interstate segments have, on average, one truck parking facility every 8.4 miles, compared with commercialized interstate segments with one facility every 12.8 miles.

All public and private designated truck parking located within one mile of the interstates was included in the totals, he said.

“Rest area commercialization is sometimes proposed as a means of increasing truck parking capacity along the Interstate Highway System,” Knipling added. “This study underscores that the private sector is far better at meeting the parking needs for the nation's truck drivers.”

NATSO noted that, since 1960, Federal law has prohibited the sale of food, fuel and other commercial service from rest areas located directly on the Interstate Highway System to prevent the granting of monopolies along the Interstate right-of-way. Congress permitted the continued operation of commercial rest areas in states where commercial rest areas existed prior to the enactment of the law.

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