DOT advised to tackle problems with technology in strategic freight, traffic mitigation plan

A Department of Transportation committee has advised using technology to address certain trucking issues among its 81 recommendations for developing a National Freight Strategic Plan.

DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx released the National Freight Advisory Committee’s report July 14. The 47-member committee includes stakeholders from trucking, rail, unions and public interest groups.

Intelligent Transportation Systems will become more crucial, but are not commonly used at the municipal traffic management level or to interface with local truckers. Greater ITS use would increase freight flow and minimize community and environmental impact while improving safety and productivity.

Also, commercially available technology should be better used to address truck parking, the committee advised. Truckers could receive information on parking availability, reservation, cashless payment and navigation on smart phones.

Regional freight planning should include collaboration and streamlined interstate policies regarding matters such as truck weights and tolling, the report says.

The recommendations resulted from meetings, teleconferences, webinars, freight facility tours and stakeholder feedback received earlier this year.

The NFAC had submitted the report to Foxx June 12, noting it would review the department’s forthcoming proposal for reauthorization legislation. The committee had asked to submit additional recommendations on streamlining state and local planning compliance and reporting, freight safety goals and workforce development.

In addition to the 81 recommendations, the report included proposals that received full support at subcommittee level, but not overall committee consensus. These recommendations were to mandate that all transportation modes demonstrate adequate financial responsibility and workers are paid for all work performed.

The report also included an item on liability insurance levels, which FMCSA recently initiated rulemaking to increase. Minimum insurance requirements for trucking companies were set more than 30 years ago, the minority report stated, which has resulted in truck crash victims receiving insufficient compensation and reliance on federal programs for help. New trucking companies should be required to demonstrate financial capacity and knowledge of the regulatory requirements, the report said.

Click here to see the committee’s full list of recommendations.