Caltrans recently released its California Freight Mobility Plan, which details short- and long-term policies, strategies and investments. Trucking was a large focus, including parking, truck-only lanes, tolling and autonomous trucks.
On Monday, July 20, Caltrans published more than 300 pages outlining a plan for its freight system. A lot of space was dedicated to trucking, as trucks carry more freight in both value and weight than any other single mode in the state.
The California Freight Mobility Plan focuses on seven main goals:
- Economic prosperity.
- Environmental stewardship.
- Healthy communities.
- Safety and resiliency.
- Asset management.
- Connectivity and accessibility.
- Multimodal mobility.
This section aims to maintain, enhance and modernize the multimodal freight transportation system by improving network efficiency and travel time reliability, and reducing congestion. Addressing bottlenecks is one key objective.
The plan calls for a feasibility study for dedicated truck lanes. This also included a possible truck-only toll or truck bypass lanes. If California decides to use a toll, it would use the money for infrastructure facilities and mass transit systems. Rhode Island has a similar toll, which is being challenged in federal court.
The California Freight Mobility Plan also calls for a feasibility study for a variable tolling pilot project for both passenger vehicles and trucks.
Caltrans suggests evaluating the existing Intelligent Transportation Systems. It wants to target truck data such as trips and parking. Along those lines, the agency wants to expand freight travel information availability. For example, Caltrans could share real-time traffic data with carrier company dispatchers and increase the number of dynamic messaging signs.
Truck platooning is also addressed. Potential pilot projects for truck platoons are seen “as a potential part of a future solution,” according to the plan. The pilot program would take place in rural and urban corridors.
Another goal is to support strategies that reduce, avoid and/or mitigate adverse environmental impacts from the freight transportation system.