Rest stop construction

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Rest stop construction is the building of a public facility located along a highway, expressway, or freeway at which drivers can park their vehicles without exiting onto secondary roads. [1] While there are many different policies associated with rest stops for each state, the majority of the values associated with rest stops are congruent across the country. Highway rest areas and roadside parking areas fall under the care of the state’s Department of Transportation. Rest stops were previously called roadside parks, but today, a rest stop with limited to no facilities is a called a parking area or scenic area.[2] A current theme surrounding policy today is safety and regularity of the rest stops for truckers and other long term motorist to ensure that drivers have access to human amenities.


  • Increase overall highway safety by providing a haven for driver or passenger emergencies
  • Reduce the number of crashes happening on the roads by providing a safe place for drivers to rest or recharge.
  • Provide an central area for information and assistance.
  • Increase safety for truckers and long term vehicle drivers.
  • Allow a safe space for drivers to temporarily park their vehicles.
  • Provide basic facilities to the mobile public. This includes running water, toilets, and sinks.
  • Improve highway safety by providing truckers with a place to stop and maintain personal hygiene before returning to the road.

A state has been hearing numerous complaints by truck drivers that there are not enough frequent rest stops. Drivers are falling asleep at the wheel which endangers not only themselves, but other drivers on the road as well. Some drivers are pulling off to the side of unfamiliar roads which has led to hijackings and theft. Policy is important in this example because improvements to signage, current rest stops, and the construction of rest stops can help save lives. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is just one group that can represent the safety and equality of truckers and have made numerous impacts on current legislation. Minnesota conducted research on drowsy drivers in particular and found that drowsy driving causes approximately 1,550 deaths nationwide each year and $12.5 billion in monetary damage.[3] Minessotta’s Department of Transportation decided to run a pilot project to increase signage and propose new amenities to help drivers stay safe.


Tradeoffs of implementing this policy may include:

  1. Allotment of funds for the construction of a rest stops cannot go to somewhere else.
  2. Rest stops can be locations for crime as these sites are often unpatrolled and isolated at certain times of the day or night.
  3. Amenities have to be maintained and updated and funding can be hard to generate in states where the rest stops are not generating any income.
  4. Visually may not be appealing to the surrounding area.
  5. May take away from the authenticity of historic sites or natural parks.
Compatibility Assessment

If answered yes, the following questions indicate superior conditions under which the policy is more likely to be appropriate:

  1. Are the basic amenities at each rest stop in your state well maintained and updated?
  2. Would constructing more rest stops be economically feasible and where would revenue from sales at rest stops go?
  3. Would constructing a rest stop not take away from the cultural or historical value of a space?
  4. Is there not a rest stop at least every 30 miles?
  5. Are there safety concerns among the community and trucker associations regarding the rest stops?
  6. Is there a lack of access to the rest stops for the disabled?

The following questions should be considered when determining how to implement this policy:


  1. Is the rest stop open to the public and not limited in access to any group?
  2. Is there running water?
  3. Are there toilets and is there regular maintenance?


  1. Is there space for walking and trails?
  2. Is there disability access and ramps?
  3. Are there designated areas for pets?
  4. Is there a fuel station?
  5. Is there a store selling food, clothes, or souvenirs?
  6. Is there air conditioning and heat in restrooms?
  7. Are there large parking areas with separated sections for cars and commercial trucks?
  8. Is there wireless internet?
  9. Are there information areas for weather and road conditions?
  10. Are there state and local maps?
  11. Are there exercise facilities for adults?
  12. Is there space for law-enforcement personnel?
  13. Are there surveillance cameras for safety?
  14. Is there emergency assistance and a tornado shelter?
  15. Are there pens for tame animals such as horses?

[4] [5]



Examples of current legislature being reviewed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association:

  • Federal - HR 983
  • Federal - HR 527
  • Federal - HR 1371
  • Federal - HR 1120
  • Federal - S 806
  • Federal - HR 1467
  • Federal - S 1669

Highway Design Manual [3]


  • Urbanism. Assumption: That rest stops would increase economic vitality and therefore bring congestion into urban areas. [4]
  • Mass Transportation. Assumption: That this policy will support transport of materials which will increase their business. [5]
  • Labor Unions-Truck Drivers. Assumption: That the policy's purpose is to provide haven and a resting place for truck drivers who need amenities during their trip. [6]
  • Tourists. Assumption: That the rest stop will provide tourists with a representation of the attractions and amenities in the area. [7]
  • Historic Preservation. Assumption: That the rest stop would be a nuisance and would devalue the history or culture of the surrounding area. [8]
  • Government Agencies - Police. Assumption: That the rest stop would be another area for crime and patrol. Could be seen as a supporter if the rest stop is saving driver accidents and fatalities in the long run. [9]


  1. Common
Related Policies

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