A coalition known as the I-10 Corridor Coalition applied for a grant to create a system that will inform truck drivers of parking available along a key interstate in the southwest region of the country. The coalition is made up of Department of Transportations in Texas, Arizona, California, and New Mexico. The coalition was formed in 2016 with the mission to improve the efficiency and safety of Interstate 10. This Interstate is a frequented lane for many drivers across the country as it runs from Los Angeles to Jacksonville, Florida.
Highway Administration’s Approval of Funds as States Coalesce to Improve Driver Parking
An estimated 26,000 commercial vehicles traverse the Interstate daily. These trucks haul a variety of commodities from food products to equipment. The coalition made a request for $6.85 million in resources from the Federal Highway Administration’s Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment grant program. If the funds are approved by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the coalition would use the funds to inform commercial drivers of truck parking availability on Interstate-10. Arizona DOT representative, Tom Hermann, stated that this information would be displayed on electronic signs to make drivers more aware of available parking resources near them. Hermann also went on to say that it is likely other states in the I-10 coalition could adopt these electronic signs with the funds from the grant. In addition to signs indicating available parking the coalition would also like to focus its efforts on developing an app that would alert drivers of parking availability. Making driver’s more aware of their parking resources is critical however some have also criticized the I-10 coalition’s methods, stating that more truck parking spaces are necessary as well. The Texas Trucking Association’s President, John Esparza stressed the importance of this initiative by the I-10 coalition, reinforcing the fact that there are 200,000 tractor-trailer drivers in Texas and many more that run through the state. With Texas being a major hub for transportation, these funds can be critical and greatly benefit Texas heavy haul shipping companies and Texas flatbed shippers alike.
Informing truckers of their parking options would make the Interstate safer for drivers and truckers as drivers would not have to pullover to the side of the road or on the side of an exit ramp. Truck parking has become such an important issue in the industry that the American Transportation Research Institute ranked shortage of available truck parking as fourth on a list for the most pressing issues in trucking. Truck parking is important to flatbed shipping companies because drivers won’t have to waste their valuable time on the road searching for a parking spot when their hours go out of service, especially as officials enforce ELD regulations more stringently. Flatbed heavy haulers frequently need to stop or take detours which means parking is important for drivers handling cargo like this. Improving the safety to prevent accidents and the efficiency of I-10 will only help the transportation networks for the states the interstate runs through. Flatbed shipping quotes will in turn be alleviated on the shipper side as the efficiency of the lanes improves and drivers are able to move more quickly between lanes. But none of these plans will be possible unless the Federal Highway Administration approves the I-10 coalition’s request for a grant, the application was submitted June 18th and a verdict on the FHWA’s decision will be made later this summer.