The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) released its Congressionally mandated “National Strategic Freight Plan” to inform infrastructure planning and support enhanced efficiency of freight movement.
The plan identifies improving the safety of the freight system, modernizing infrastructure and supporting the development of data and technologies as primary goals.
Of interest to NATSO members, the freight plan includes discussions on electric vehicles, alternative fueled vehicles, truck parking, and autonomous trucks.
Specifically, the discussion on electric and alternative fueled vehicles hints that USDOT has formed a view that growth in the use of EVs is a passenger and small truck trend, rather than a large truck trend. DOT writes that, for “long haul” trucks, fuel cells and hydrogen may be better than electric. It also acknowledges the benefits associated with natural gas and biodiesel.
The discussion on truck parking states that "Numerous [studies have found] an expected growth in truck activity, severe shortages of parking for trucks, lack of information for drivers on truck parking availability, and challenges due to limited delivery windows." The freight plan states that truck parking concerns center along major freight corridors and in metropolitan areas.
The plan notes that e-commerce shopping habits are increasing rapidly, creating a demand for deliveries in areas that already experience congestion issues.
In a section likely written pre-COVID, the plan notes that the population of the United States is becoming more concentrated in increasingly congested metropolitan areas, creating challenges for the delivery of goods.
The plan also speaks favorably of the idea that the development of highly automated trucks could occur in the coming decades, which will allow trucks to operate with limited human intervention for portions of long-haul trips.
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