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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

District Freight Signage Plan
The District of Columbia Department of Transportation is working on a District Freight Signage Plan. For more information and to provide feedback, visit the project webpage at

Truck Routing Tool - The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has developed an Oversize Overweight (OSOW) Routing module in the Transportation Online Permitting System, TOPS.

The routing tool will be incorporated into the OSOW permitting process, when applying for an OSOW permit (single-haul permit) the routing tool will determine a safe path of travel within the District for the Applicant and their vehicle. The permit will be valid only for travel on the route identified by the routing tool.

The OSOW Routing module also is available for use by the trucking community. You can access the routing tool here by selecting ‘Guest Access’.

For more information about OSOW vehicles in the District, see the Oversize and Overweight Vehicles tab below or visit the Trucks webpage in the DDOT Compendium.

Off-Hours Delivery Program
DDOT, in partnership with FHWA, will launch an Off-Hours Delivery (OHD) pilot in early 2015. This pilot will provide an opportunity to address and alleviate issues including congestion, efficiency, air quality, and curbside management by encouraging deliveries to be made during non-peak traffic periods. Visit our OHD webpage for more information or to participate in the program.

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.

The District has developed a Freight 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. This plan outlines the District’s freight transportation strategies and steps to facilitate future economic growth while balancing the needs between communities and various industries in the District. View the Final District Freight Plan or visit the webpage for more information. In addition, the District’s long-term planning document, moveDC includes a chapter on freight planning. This chapter, the ‘Freight Element’, summarizes the freight transportation strategies and recommendations developed as a part of the District Freight Plan.

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 Loading Zones

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has developed a commercial loading zone management program as supported by DCMR Rule 18-2402 , enacted December 2013.

Since January 1, 2015, commercial vehicles have been required to pay for the use of loading zones. In order to park in a loading zone, a commercial vehicle operator will need to either display a permit on their vehicle or pay-by-cell immediately after parking. Permits (day or annual) can be obtained from the Transportation Online Permitting System beginning November 6, 2015.

Ways to Pay:

1. Annual Permit ($323) or Daily Permit ($25)*

Allows parking at commercial vehicle loading zones during designated hours for up to two hours, and parking in a metered space between off-peak hours of 10am—2pm or when meter enforcement is not in effect. Daily permit is valid for 24 hours, annual permit is valid for a calendar year (permits expire at the end of the calendar year in which it was purchased). *Annual passes will take up to a week to process, day passes can be printed out immediately.

2. Pay-by-Cell ($2/Hour)

To Pay-by-Cell, once parked, the operator must immediately pay for the space by utilizing the ParkMobile service and indicating the zone number found on the loading zone sign.

Commercial Loading Zones Program Process

  • Visit the Truck and Bus Map to see where loading zones are located
  • Check loading zone signage for day/hour/time restrictions
  • Place your day or annual permit on the lower, rear exterior portion of the cab’s passenger side
  • Don’t park for longer than the sign indicates or for more than two hours if no time limit is indicated
  • Spaces are for active loading or unloading
  • Immediately pay for time needed to load/unload if you do not have a day or annual permit

Operators Will Be Ticketed If:

  • Permit is expired or not properly displayed ($50 ticket)
  • No permit is displayed and payment-by-cell was not made ($100)
  • Vehicle stays longer than time limit designated or two hours if no time limit is designated ($50)

Carriers, click here for a printable informational flyer! and visit the Truck and Bus Map to see all District loading zones and truck routes and restrictions.

In addition, the ticket price for an unauthorized vehicle parked in a loading zone has increased from $50 to $100.

For general information on changes that affect non-commercial vehicles, download our informational postcard.

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)