State agencies should facilitate the spread and usage of data for commercial vehicle operations, suggests VDOT analysis.

The report, which looked at commercial operations in the state, noted five key points for the agency to maximize its impact without duplicating efforts within the industry.

Date Posted

Traveler Information for the Commercial Vehicle Operations Community

Summary Information

A report published by the Virginia Department of Transportation analyzed Commercial Vehicle Operations (CVO) to review traveler information technologies and practices in the state, to understand CVO community information needs, document data availability to support a CVO information system, and to recommend a framework for a comprehensive statewide CVO information system and develop recommendations for improvements to existing systems in Virginia.

To perform this analysis, the team surveyed truck drivers, interviewed carriers and other public and private stakeholders, and reviewed other states' truck traveler information initiatives. The report found that the traveler information already provided by VDOT received positive ratings. However, the researchers also concluded that the private sector is participating in most roles that had previously been the sole responsibility of VDOT, such as collecting and presenting data. As such, the recommendations they issued emphasized VDOT's potential as a data provider and facilitator to maximize the impact of other parties' data tools. Real-time information was indicated to be a significant priority from truck drivers and carriers.

Lessons Learned

The report concluded with the following recommendations. It also highlighted possible avenues through which the recommendations might be most efficiently implemented.

  • VDOT Traffic Engineering Division (TED) and Operations Division (OD) should integrate data regarding truck routes and restrictions, including bridge weight, height and width restrictions, and tunnel restrictions (height, width, and hazardous materials) in the same data format and on the same platform. This recommendation is intended to serve the population that does not have access to truck-specific routing applications. This recommendation would be accompanied with a campaign about the limitations of general-purpose GPS software for routing trucks.
  • The VDOT Operations Division should expand the current 511 systems (website and application) to include truck-specific data. This can be accomplished by incorporating a new layer or creating a parallel site. This new layer would focus on information important for truckers, eliminating unnecessary information. If possible, VDOT would consider the incorporation of VDOT truck routes and restrictions information in a manner that allows the CVO community to identify the safest and shortest routes. At a minimum, VDOT should disseminate current 511 system capabilities to the trucking community.
  • The VDOT Operations Division should maximize data sharing and outreach of available information to support third-party application developers and traveler information providers. This includes exposing relevant data in an easily digestible format on external data portals and actively engaging private stakeholders on the best way to share available data so they can be efficiently incorporated into private party information streams and existing CVO business processes. VDOT should act as a catalyst for collaboration between public and private stakeholders for the adoption of new technologies, such as real-time work zone and incident notifications.
  • The VDOT Operations Division should champion the creation of a CVO Information Systems Coalition with neighboring states in order to leverage resources and accelerate the implementation of processes, applications, and new technologies. The coalition should act as a catalyst for collaboration between public and private stakeholders for the adoption of new technologies, such as real-time work zone and incident notifications. This could be integrated within existing regional groups.
  • VDOT District Traffic Engineers should review existing signed route restrictions for adequacy, conspicuousness, and providing statewide guidelines. Alternative routes must be easily identified or otherwise clearly provided. The first step would involve the evaluation of locations with a history of violations. The Traffic Engineering Division should review current practices and produce standardized sign placement guidelines, if needed. VDOT may consider installing graphic signs showing alternative routes in conjunction with the existing truck restriction signs.

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