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South Dakota Department of Transportation
Project Synopsis

Title: Assessment of Commercial Driver Rest Area Needs
Project Researcher: Mike Powell, Office of Research
Project Manager: Brian Hines
Research Period: 5/1/2000 - 10/31/2000
Cost: $30,000.00

Problem Statement: Federal Regulations have established permissible hours-of-service limits for commercial drivers to help ensure the safety of the general public. At a national level, many times commercial drivers in need of rest cannot find space at either private or public rest areas and are forced to park on the shoulders of entrance and exit ramps. It is not known whether these problems exist in South Dakota.

Many private truckstops feel that there is adequate parking at their truckstops. The entrance and exit ramps of interchanges are sometimes used when convenient or when rest areas are full. Trucks parking on the shoulder create a traffic safety hazard and damage to the shoulder and adjacent highway appurtenances.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) developed a guide Commercial Driver Rest Requirements: Making Space For Safety to help state agencies fulfill the requirements of Section 4027 of the Transportation Efficiency Act for the 21st Century (TEA21). These guidelines outline how to implement the process of determining commercial driver parking needs and should be use as the framework for this study. The following items have been determined necessary to complete the analysis and are outlined in the guidelines:


  • Inventory of major trucking corridors

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  • Inventory of rest areas and truck stops

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  • An informal survey of truck parking area deficiencies

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  • Spot surveys of commercial drivers' habits, attitudes, preferences and characteristics

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  • Use of corridor-based truck parking demand model

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  • Use of corridor-based parking supply assessment

  • SDDOT needs to evaluate the needs of commercial drivers and the adequacy of rest area and truck stop facilities. This evaluation is necessary to provide recommendations for adequate and safe rest area facilities for commercial drivers and other travelers and comply with Section 4027 of TEA21.


    Research Objectives:
    1  Develop recommendations to provide parking facilities and associated services and amenities that meet the rest needs of the commercial truck drivers in South Dakota, by using the guidelines developed by FHWA.

    Research Tasks:
    1  Meet with the technical panel to review the project scope, work plan and to provide a list of SDDOT personnel to contact.
    2  Perform a literature search regarding commercial driver rest area needs.
    3  Recommend for panel approval appropriate highway corridors used by motor carriers in South Dakota to be evaluated.
    4  Perform an inventory of all highway rest area facilities both public and private in the selected highway corridors.
    5  Conduct a direct observation survey of actual truck parking at a representative number of rest areas both private and public.
    6  Conduct spot survey of commercial drivers at the selected rest areas and truck stops along selected corridors to identify their driving habits, attitudes and preferences. This survey should be coordinated with the South Dakota Trucking Association.
    7  Apply the truck parking demand model to determine overall shortage, surplus, or misallocation of rest-area parking facilities.
    8  Perform an assessment of parking space supply and deficiencies in different amenity and service categories.
    9  Analyze and interpret the results to better understand the demand/capacity issues for truck parking in South Dakota. Recommend changes to SD rest area parking facilities, services and amenities to meet the rest needs of commercial truck drivers.
    10  Prepare a final report and executive summary of the literature review, research methodology, findings, conclusions, and recommendations. The results should be in a format that is usable by the national consultant.
    11  Make an executive presentation to the SDDOT Research Review Board at the conclusion of the project.

    Documents Available:

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