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Freight Management

Commercial Vehicle Operations

The District Department of Transportation’s mission is to ensure efficient and safe mobility of /commercial vehicles traveling in the District of Columbia while mitigating community impacts and preserving transportation infrastructure. Commercial vehicles are essential to the District of Columbia, providing goods and services to thousands of District residents and businesses every day. The city’s diverse mixture of land uses, dense urban environment, and extensive transportation infrastructure require a distinct set of rules and regulations to govern the operation of trucks. In order for the District to function efficiently, it is important that drivers observe these rules and regulations.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding commercial vehicle operation in the District of Columbia please contact the Freight and Motor Carrier Program at (202) 671-2226.

For information about Freight Rail, click here.

Industry Updates

Winter 2014 Freight Bulletin is now available! This newsletter provides news, policy, and program updates for DDOT programs and other items related to and affecting the District freight community. In this issue of the Freight Bulletin you will find information about: H Street NE Streetcar and Loading Zones, District Off-Hours Delivery Program, District of Columbia Interactive Truck and Bus Map, District Freight Plan, DC Street Safe – Photo Enforcement Equipment, and Transportation Services Freight Index.

DC Street Safe On November 23, 2013, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) deployed new photo enforcement equipment that can detect failure to stop at stop signs, oversized vehicles on restricted truck routes, failure to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk, gridlock and speeding through an intersection. MPD will begin issuing fines for the violations caught by these new cameras in the near future. There are currently eight oversize vehicle enforcement locations as part of the DC Street Safe program; a map of the new photo enforcement locations is available at

View these entertaining videos to learn more about the program.

Commercial Loading Zone Program The District is rolling out a new loading zone management program. Program highlights include enhanced loading zone regulations, restored signage, efficient allocation of space, outreach to community and industry, and a streamlined process for handling loading zone requests. Click here to download a PDF with more information on this program.

The District is Developing a District Freight Master Plan. In 2011, 21 billion in domestic goods were shipped within, to, and from the District. This freight movement is critical to the District’s economy and quality of life. As the region’s population increases and the economy grows stronger, the demand for freight also will increase. The objective of the Freight Plan is to develop freight transportation strategies and recommendations to support sustainable future economic growth, and balance the needs between communities and various industries in the District.The Freight Master Plan is scheduled to be complete by January 2014, details and contact information are available on the District Freight Master Plan webpage.

Definition of a Commercial Vehicle

In the District of Columbia a commercial vehicle (truck) is defined as any vehicle with more than three wheels that is greater than twenty-two feet in length, or that is used or maintained for transporting freight, merchandise, or other commercial loads or property.

Truck Routes

The District Department of Transportation has established a truck and bus through route. This map has been created as a part of an extensive effort to identify and designate specific routes for trucks and buses to travel on while in the District. Click here to download a PDF.

Additional information about truck restriction can be found under Routing in the D.C. Traffic Rules for Commercial Vehicles section below.

Commercial Vehicle Curbside Loading Regulations

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has developed a commercial loading zone management program, as supported by the “Commercial Curbside Loading Zone Implementation Act of 2009”.

As a part of this program DDOT has completed an inventory and survey of all loading zones within the central business district, including Adams Morgan/Columbia Heights and Capitol Hill.

D.C. Traffic Rules for Commercial Vehicles

It is important to know and follow the traffic and parking regulations when operating in the city. Be aware of pedestrians and bicyclists, and follow all posted traffic regulations and requirements. District regulations are strictly enforced by the Metropolitan Police Department and violations will result in a ticket and a fine.

General Rules

Please refer to the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations, Title 18 for the most current traffic regulations governing trucks and commercial vehicles.


It is important to know your destination and review your routes before coming to the District of Columbia. Unless making a delivery, any vehicles traveling on a restricted street will be subject to a fine. To view the truck and bus route and restrictions PDF, click here.


There are many events occurring throughout the city on a daily basis and parking for commercial vehicles is limited. It is important to read all parking and traffic signs before you park. All traffic and vehicle activity is governed by Title 18 of the D.C. Municipal Regulations. Commercial vehicles can be ticketed for:

  • Double parking.

  • Stopping and loading at unauthorized areas.

  • Parking at meters.

  • Stopping, loading or parking on streets with rush hour prohibitions.

  • Parking in any area posted “No Parking” or “No Standing”.

  • Parking in a commercial vehicle zone for longer than the posted time limit; and

  • Parking in a residential neighborhood.


Please show consideration for our environment and the District’s anti-idling law. Commercial vehicles may idle for up to three minutes in the District of Columbia, and may idle for up to five minutes if the temperature is 32oF or below. View our Idle Reduction Campaign.

Diesel Idle Reduction Video - DDOT and our sister agency DDOE have produced a short video to inform commercial vehicle drivers about the idling laws in DC, and to enlist their help in our Diesel Idle Reduction Campaign. To view the video, please click here. Please share this with your groups and friends and help spread the word. Visit the Idle Reduction Campaign webpage for more information or to nominate a driver who exhibits positive idle reduction behavior.

Oversize and Overweight Vehicles

The District of Columbia has size and weight restrictions that limit the size of the vehicles that can legally operate on District roadways. View the legal size and weight limits for all vehicles and information on permitting.

Reports, Studies and Presentations

The District Department of Transportation has been actively engaged in addressing community and industry concerns regarding freight movement in the District and improving the overall management of commercial vehicles. Our current and completed studies can be found below.

District-Wide Truck Safety Enforcement Plan (pdf)

Motor Carrier Program Overview presentation (pdf)

District Motor Carrier Management and Threat Assessment Study (pdf)