Montana Rest Area Plan Update
The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) is updating the Montana Rest Area Plan, which was last revised in 1999 and amended in 2004. The Plan represents MDT's commitment to preserve and enhance the existing rest area facility system. This update will develop policy recommendations and aid MDT in planning for and prioritizing rest area needs. MDT will use the Plan as guidance in determining maintenance and improvements necessary for Montana's statewide rest areas.
The update will consider state-managed rest areas, truck parking areas, and city park rest areas. These facilities play an important role in highway safety, which supports MDT's safety agenda under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). Activities such as walking and stretching, using a restroom, stopping for a meal, sleeping, or using a cellular phone aids in reducing driver fatigue and potentially reduce fatigue-related crashes.
Using existing available information, the update will identify a 40-year rest area service demand for parking, building, and water/wastewater facilities. A level of service assessment assists in determining the adequacy and availability of services provided at public rest areas. The update will use methodology described in the 2011 Montana Rest Area Use: Data Acquisition and Usage Estimation report to assess demand. The update will also consider peer state rest area programs to identify best practices in assessing service adequacy and availability.
The update emphasizes building and site preservation to extend the service life of existing structures and utility systems, and identify improvements to meet parking and building demands. These efforts emphasize the Statewide Rest Area Prioritization Plan Committee's asset management approach in determining the prioritization of individual rest area projects.
This study provides an opportunity to update MDT policies, apply best practices and usage methodologies, and develop a prioritized list of needs to assist MDT in managing and maintaining its rest area assets.