oversight

Improvements Needed in Management of Highway Safety Rest Area Program

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1971-06-02.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

Improvements     ceded In
Management Of Highway
Safety’ est Area                 rogram   B-164497(3)




Federal Hlghway AdmInIstratIon
Department of Transportation




BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL
OF THE UNITED STATES
                   COMPTROLLER      GENERAL        OF    1 HE   UNITED    STATES
                                  WASHINGTON        DC      20548




B- 164497(3)




To the      President        of the Senate     and the
Speaker       of the      House   of Representatives

        Thus IS our report           on the improvements        needed    m the
management         of the hlghway       safety   rest area program.          Fed-
eral partlclpatlon        m this program         IS admmlstered       by the
Federal     Highway      Admmlstratlon,        Department       of Transporta-
tron

           Our     review  was made  pursuant   to the Budget                                and Ac-
counting         Act, 1921 (31 U S.C   53), and the Accounting                                  and
Auditing         Act of 1950 (31 U S.C. 67)

           Copies   of this report              are bemg      sent to the Director,
Office      of Management        and           Budget,    the Secretary    of Transpor-
tation,      and the Administrator,                 Federal     Highway   Admmistratlon




                                                           Comptroller             General
                                                           of the United           States




                            50 TH ANNIVERSARY                   1921-    1971
 COMPTROLLERGENERAL'S                          IMPROVEMENlS NEEDED IN MANAGEMENTOF HIGH-
 REPORTTO THE CONGRESS                         WAY SAFETY REST AREA PROGRAM
                                               Federal Hlghway Admlnlstratlon, Department
                                               of Transportation
                                               B-164497(3)

 DIGEST
 ------

 WHYTHE REVIEW WASMADE
        Safety rest areas are essentially      rural facllltles   designed to provide
        motorists  with adequate opportunities      to stop safely and rest for short
        periods.   They may include such comfort and convenience        facilities  as
        drinking  water, plcnlc tables,    and refuse containers.

        Costs of constructing  these areas are generally   shared by the States
        and the Federal Highway Administration.   Through 1970, about $166 mll-
        lion of Federal funds had been authorized   for the construction  and im-
        provement of 1,209 rest areas.

        The General Accounting Office  (GAO) conducted a review in eight Staies
        to determine whether the Highway Admlnlstratlon   was providing States
        with the guidance and control  necessary to ensure that

             --rest   areas were constructed       first   where most needed and

             --Federal  financial  partlclpation         was llmlted to the cost of facile-
                ties and equipment reasonably          necessary to meet motorists' needs.


FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS
        Although the Highway Admlnlstratlon    has issued guidelines    for the States
        to use In selecting   sites for safety rest areas, it has not required      the
        States to establish   and adhere to a system of priorities     to ensure that
        rest areas are constructed    first where most needed.     (See p. 6.)
        Studies conducted by the Highway Adminlstratlon        indicate       that use of
        rest areas on interstate    highways tends to increase as the distance
        from other rest areas and/or developed areas increases.               The States
        included in GAO's review,     however, had constructed      rest areas close to
        developed areas even though comfort and convenience          faclllttes       gener-
        ally were not available    along stretches  of highway without           adequate
        stopping facilities.     (See pp. 8 and 9.)




Tear
--   Sheet


                                                                     JUNE      2A971
    To increase the effectiveness             of the safety rest area program, the
    Highway Admlnlstratlon    should          require    that States build rest areas first
    where comfort and convenience             facilities     are not otherwlse avallable.

    The HIghway Admlnlstratlon      has Issued guidelines     to the States as to
    the size and type of facilities        required for various    traffic volumes;
    however, lt has not required      the States to adhere to these guIdelInes.
    As a result,   rest areas included in GAO's review that had been designed
    to serve similar    volumes of traffic

      --had bulldings  which ranged in size from 320 to 1,400                         square    feet
         and which cost from $10,650 to $90,000,

      --were       located   on from 3 to 44 acres of land,              and

      --provided        from 14 to 102 parklng           spaces.

    The cost and quality  of equipment             for     these rest     areas   also varied
    widely.  (See p. 18.)

    GAO belleves    that, although regIona        differences        in archltectural
    styles and bulldIng       materials   and practices     may have accounted for some
    of these variations,        the wide vanatlon      of facllltles        and equipment re-
    su'lted because the HIghway Admlnlstratlon            had not provided        the States
    WI th specific    guIdelInes     for rest area facllltles          acceptable     for Federal
    funding.

    The HIghway Admlnlstratlon    needs to provide     and enforce guldellnes re-
    lating  to the size, type, quality,    and cost of safety rest areas that
    ~111 be acceptable   for Federal financial    partlclpatton.


RECOMMENDATIONS
              OR SUGGESTIONS
    The Secretary         of Transportation     should      require     the Federal     HIghway Ad-
    mjn1stratjon        to

      --Require   the States to establish              pr-rorltles    to ensure that safety
         rest areas ~111 be constructed             first       where most needed    (See p            17.)

      --Issue      guidelines  regarding safety rest areas setting   forth limits
          on the amount of land and on the size, type, and cost of facllltles
          and equipment that ~111 be acceptable      for Federal flnanclal   partlc-
          lpation.      (See p. 35 )

      --Establish   review        procedures at the national    level to ensure that
         these pnontles           and guIdelines  are being followed.    (See pp. 17
         and 35 )




                                               2
AG@K2?ACTION? AND Uli?RESOLVED
                             ISSUES
         The Asslstant   Secretary  for Admln?stratlon,     Department of Transporta-
         tlon, agreed that priority     should be gtven to constructing     rest areas
         along stretches   of highway presently     wIthout adequate stopping faclli-
         ties and said that the Department would continue to stress this
         prjority.

         The Assistant   Secretary stated that the States had developed master
         plans for the location    of safety rest areas which were being used in
         substantial   conformity  with existing guidelines.  (See p. 15.)

         The eight States included in GAD's review had developed State-wide                  mas-
         ter plans which showed existing     and proposed locations for safety              rest
         areas.   The Highway Administration    approved the plans even though

             --most of the plans showed that       the States   intended   to construct          rest
                areas in or near urban areas,      and

             --most    of the States had not established     pnonties   to ensure         that
                rest   areas would be constructed   first   where most needed.

         The Assistant      Secretary   stated also that the Department would continue
         surveillance      of the design of safety rest area facllltles,     lncludlng  the
         location     and acquisition     of land, to ensure that Federal funds were
         properly     spent, but that he did not believe      that it would be proper to
         establish     speclflc    cost llmltatlons  for equlpJnent.  (See p. 34.)

         GAO belleves    that requiring    the States to establish     and adhere to a
         system of prlorltles     for optimal locations      of rest areas should help to
*        ensure that she needs of motorists         are met. For a program--such      as the
         safety rest area program--for         which the Government generally    funds up
    \,   to 100 percent of the cost, the Highway Admin?stratlon           should prescribe
         guidelines   for acceptable    facilities     and equipment to ensure that the
         needed rest areas are being provided          at a reasonable  cost.
          (See pp. 17 and 34.b


MATTERSFOR COAWDE~TIOIV BY THE COUGRESS
         This report IS being issued to advlse the Congress of the need for the
         Federal Highway Administration     to improve its administrative guidance
         and control  over the hlghway safety rest area program and thereby lm-
         prove the program's  effectiveness    in meeting the needs of motorists.




Tear Sheet
                          Contents
                                                                  Page

DIGEST                                                             1

CHAPTER

   1       INTRODUCTION                                            4

   2       REED TO IMPROVE ADMINISTRATIVE   CONTROL OVER
           PLANNING AND LOCATION OF SAFETY REST AREAS              6
               Nevada                                              10
               Florida                                             11
               Agency comments and our evaluation                  15
               Conclusions                                         17
               Recommendation  to Secretary  of Trans-
                  portation                                        17

   3       REED TO PROVIDE GUIDELINES FOR DESIGN ANDI
           CONSTRUCTION OF SAFETY REST AREAS                       18
               Facilities                                          22
                      Comfort station     buildings                22
                      Land                                         25
                      Parking   spaces                             26
               Equipment                                           28
                      Picnic  tables                               29
                      Refuse containers                            33
               Agency comments and our evaluatxon                  34
               Conclusion                                          34
               Recommendation        to Secretary   of Trans-
                 portation                                         35

   4       SCOPE OF REVIEW                                         36

APPENDIX

   I       Letter     dated December 23, 1970, from the As-
              sistant     Secretary  for Administration,    De-
                partment    of Transportation,     to the Gen-
                eral Accounting     Office                         39
                                                                 Page
APPENDlX
  II       Officials  of the Federal Government respon-
             sible for the administration  of activities
             dicussed in this report                              48

                          ABBREVIATIONS
AASHO      American Association     of State Highway Officials
FHWA       Federal Highway Administration
GAO        General Accounting     Office
COMPTROLLERGENERAL'S                       IMPROVEMENTSNEEDED IN MANAGEMENTOF HIGH-
REPORTTO THE CONGRESS                      WAY SAFETY REST AREA PROGRAM
                                           Federal Highway Admlnlstration, Department
                                           of Transportation
                                           B-164497(3)

DIGEST
------

WHYTHE REVIEW WASMADE
    Safety rest areas are essentially      rural facllltles   designed to provide
    motorists  with adequate opportunities      to stop safely and rest for short
    periods.   They may include such comfort and convenience        facilities  as
    drinking  water, picnic tables,    and refuse containers.

     Costs of constructing  these areas are generally   shared by the States
     and the Federal Highway Administration.   Through 1970, about $166 mil-
     lion of Federal funds had been authorized   for the construction  and im-
     provement of 1,209 rest areas.

     The General Accounting Office  (GAO) conducted a review in eight States
     to determine whether the Highway AdministratIon   was provldang States
     with the guidance and control  necessary to ensure that

         --rest   areas were constructed         first   where most needed and

         --Federal  financial  participation          was limited to the cost of facile-
            ties and equipment reasonably           necessary to meet motorists' needs.


FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS
     Although the Highway Administration    has issued guidelines     for the States
     to use in selecting   sites for safety rest areas, it has not required       the
     States to establish   and adhere to a system of priorities     to ensure that
     rest areas are constructed    first where most needed.     (See PO 6 )
     Studies conducted by the Highway Administration        indicate       that use of
     rest areas on interstate    highways tends to increase as the distance
     from other rest areas and/or developed areas increases.               The States
     included in GAO's review,     however, had constructed      rest areas close to
     developed areas even though comfort and convenience          facilities       gener-
     ally were not available    along stretches  of highway without           adequate
     stopping facilities      (See pp. 8 and 9 )




                                             1
     To Increase the effectiveness            of the safety rest area program9 the
     Hlghway Admlnlstratlon    should         require    that States build rest areas first
     where comfort and convenience            fac~l~t1e.s are not otherwise    avaIlable.

     The Highway Adminlstratlon      has issued guidelines     to the States as to
     the size and type of facllltles       required  for various    traffic volumes,
     however, it has not required      the States to adhere to these guldellnes.
     As a result,   rest areas included      in GAO's review that had been designed
     to serve slmllar   volumes of traffic

       --had butldlngs  which ranged in size from 320 to 1,400 square                          feet
          and which cost from $10,650 to $90,000,

       --were       located   on from 3 to 44 acres of land,              and

       --provided        from 14 to 702 parking           spaces.

     The cost and quality  of equipment             for     these rest     areas also varied
     widely.  (See p. 18.)

     GAO belleves   that, although regional         dtfferences        In architectural
     styles and building       materials    and practices     may have accounted for some
     of these variations,       the wide variation       of facllltles        and equipment re-
     sulted because the H-rghway Admlnlstratlon            had not provided the States
     with specific    guidelines      for rest area facilltles           acceptable     for Federal
     funding.

     The HIghway Administration    needs to provide and enforce guidelines   re-
     lating  to the size, type, quality,    and cost of safety rest areas that
     will be acceptabfe   for Federal financial    participation.


RECOMi'dBWDATIONS
               OR SUG?GBSTIOfiS
    The Secretary         of Transportation       should     require     the Federal   Highway Ad-
    ministration        to

       --Require   the States to establish             priorities     to ensure that safety
          rest areas will be constructed             first      where most needed.   (See p. 17.)

       --Issue      guldellnes  regarding safety rest areas setting   forth limits
           on the amount of land and on the size, type, and cost of faclllties
           and equipment that ~177 be acceptable      for Federal financial   partic-
           lpat-ion      (See p. 35.)

       --Establish    review      procedures at the national   level to ensure that
          these pnoritles         and guidelines are being followed.    (See pp. 17
          and 35 )




                                              2
AGENCYACTIONS AND UNRESOLVEDISSUES
    The Assistant   Secretary for Admlnlstratlon,     Department of Transporta-
    tion, agreed that prlonty     should be given to construct7ng     rest areas
    along stretches   of highway presently    without adequate stopping faclll-
    ties and said that the Department would continue to stress this
    priority.

    The Assistant   Secretary   stated that the States had developed master
    plans for the location    of safety rest areas which were being used In
    substantial   conformity  with existing   guIdelines. (See p. 15.)

    The eight States Included In GAO's review had developed State-wide                    mas-
    ter plans which showed exlstlng     and proposed locations for safety                rest
    areas    The Highway Administration    approved the plans even though

       --most of the plans showed that        the States   -intended    to construct          rest
          areas in or near urban areas,       and

       --most    of the States had not establlshed      priorities to ensure           that
          rest   areas would be constructed    first   where most needed.

    The Assistant      Secretary stated also that the Department would continue
    surveillance      of the design of safety rest area facllltles,      lncludlng  the
    location     and acquisition     of land, to ensure that Federal funds were
    properly     spent, but that he did not believe      that it. would be proper to
    establish     speclflc    cost limitations  for equipment.    (See p. 34.)
    GAO believes    that requiring    the States to establish          and adhere to a
    system of priorities     for optimal locations       of rest     areas should help to
    ensure that the needs of motorists          are met. For a       program--such     as the
    safety rest area program--for          which the Government      generally    funds up
    to 100 percent of the cost, the Highway AdmInistration                 should prescribe
    guidelines   for acceptable    facilities      and equipment     to ensure that the
    needed rest areas are being provided           at a reasonable      cost.
     (See pp. 17 and 34.)


MATTERSFOR CONSIDERATIONBY T3E CONGRESS
     This report IS being Issued to advise the Congress of the need for the
     Federal Highway Admlnlstratlon    to improve Its administrative guidance
     and control  over the highway safety rest area program and thereby lm-
     prove the program's effectiveness    in meeting the needs of motorists.
                                    CHAPTER 1

                                 INTRODUCTION

       The Hrghway Beautrfrcatron          Act of 1965 (23 U.S.C. 131
 note) provrdes     for scenrc development       and beautrfrcatron        of
 roads in the Federal-aid         hrghway program.      The act established
 the following    program areas.        Cl) outdoor-advertrslng       con-
 trol,   (2) Junkyard    control,     and (3) landscaprng       and scenic
 enhancement.

         Our review was drrected      prlmarrly   toward examining        into
 the manner rn which the Federal Highway Admlnlstratson                  (FHWA),
Department      of Transportation,     the prrncrpal     Federal     agency
responsible       for highway matters,     was carrying    out its respon-
slbllltres      with regard to landscaping       and scenic enhancement,
with particular        emphasis on FHWA's admrnlstratrve         guidance
and control       over the locatron    and constructron     of safety rest
areas.      Safety rest areas are off-roadway         areas with provr-
sions "for emergency stopping          and for resting     by motorrsts
for short periods,        with comfort and convenience        facrlrtres
dr;rcdc."

         Prior    to the 1965 act, the States were authorized                   by
 23 U.S.C. 319 to include             rn the cost of Federal-aid           hrghways
 subject      to the normal cost-sharing          ratios--90       percent    Federal
 to 10 percent        State for interstate        highways,      and 50 percent
Federal       to 50 percent      State for primary        and secondary hlgh-
ways-- the cost of "such roadside               andlandscapedevelopment,
rncludang       such sanitary       and other facrlrtres         as may be deemed
reasonably       necessary     to provrde     for the surtable         accommoda-
tron of the public          ***oll     FHWA generally      lrmrted     Federal par-
trclpatlon       on the Interstate        Highway System, however,            to the
costs of acqursltron           of land, and constructron            of turnouts
and parkrng        areas.

        The 1965 act which, among other things,             revised    23 U.S.C.
 319, retained    the provision     for Federal     partrcrpatlon        In the
cost of landscaprng       and scenic enhancement as a part of
Federal-aid    highway projects       and authorized      an addrtlonal       al-
location    of appropriated     funds to a State to be used for land-
scaping and scenrc enhancement equivalent              to 3 percent       of the
funds apportioned       to the State for Federal-ard           highways.

                                         4
        In accordance with the provisions             of the 1965 act, FHWA
revised    its program to authorize         Federal       participation        in
the costs of such items as comfort              stations,        picnic   tables,
shelters,     cooking facilities,       and facilities           to display      trav-
eler information.         As  of   December   31,    1970,     Federal    funds     of
about $166 million        had been authorized         for the construction
and improvement      of 1,209 safety rest areas.                 In the eight
States included      in our review,      236 rest areas had been con-
structed     or authorized      for construction        as of December 31,
1970, at a cost to the Government of about $32 million.

        FHWA's administrative          responsibilities           are carried      out
principally      by FHWA division         offices       in each State,      the Dis-
trict     of Columbia,    and Puerto Rico.             Each State has the pri-
mary responsibility         for initiating          proposals       for safety     rest
areas, determining        their     location      and size, and choosing             the
type of Federal partlcrpatlon.                  The States submit proposals
to the responsible        divlsron       office     for approval.         Normally
the division      offices     approve safety rest areas on the basis
of policy     and procedural        requirements          promulgated     by FHWA
headquarters.         In addition,       division      offices     rely on infor-
mational     guides developed         by the American Association              of
State Highway Officials            (AASHO) and subscribed              to by FHWA.

         AASHO is a nationwide           organization     of representatives
from each State's          highway     department      and FHWA. The obJective
of the organization           is to    advise State and Federal highway
officials       in establishing        a well-coordinated       system of na-
tional     highways.       Through     the years AASHO has issued policy
statements        and guides on       a broad spectrum of highway-related
matters,      including      safety    rest areas.
                                     CHAPTER 2

            NEED TO IMPROVE ADMINISTRATIVE               CONTROL OVER

           PLANNING AND LOCATION OF SAFETY REST AREAS

         Although     FHWA has established          fairly  definitive       guide-
lines for the States to use sn selecting                   sites along Federal-
aid highways for safety rest areas, FHWA has not required
States to establish          and adhere to a system of prlorltles                  to
ensure that safety rest areas are constructed                      at locations
which would meet the motorists'                greatest    need.      Generally,
for the safety rest areas included                  in our review,      the States
had followed        the practice        of constructing     safety rest areas
on Federal-aid         highways in close proximity            to urbanized       or
commercialized         areas even though comfort and convenience
facllltles        were not available        along stretches        of highway wlth-
out adequate stopping           facilities.

      The basic objective            of the safety rest area program is
to provide,        for  safety    and   convenience,      adequate opportunities
for the highway traveler             to stop and rest for short periods.
FHWA guidelines         describe     safety rest areas as essentially
rural   facllltles        which should be developed            1.n a manner that
the facilities,         in combination       wrth commercial          facilities,
would provide         motorssts    with safe stopping          places at reason-
ably spaced intervals.             USHO issued a policy             statement       on
the locatron        of safety rest areas In the Interstate                     Highway
System in 1958.          The guidelines       contained      in this policy
statement,       which   were    adopted   by   FHWA,   state     that

       "Safety     rest areas should be provided           so' that in
       combination      with other stopping      opportunities
       within     or near cltles      and at service     facilities      on
       crossroads      with interchange     connections,         there
       preferably      will  be facilltles     available       for short
       stops about every one-half          hour driving        time."

        Revised guidelines         issued by AASHO in 1968 contain          a
similar     statement.     According      to AASHO,    the  distances    between
available      service  facilities       at crossroads     and interchanges
should be considered          as one of the controlling          factors  in
planning      safety rest areas.

                                           6
     FHWA instructions        issued    in 1966 state       that

     "Safety     rest areas should be located              at practl-
     cable and suitable          distances      from the outer edges
     of suburban or urban development.                   Safety rest
     areas and similar         facilities       in connection        with
     Federal-aid       highways in the metropolitan               areas are
     special     cases and will         require    careful     planning
     and justification         of need."

      The term "practicable and suitable              distances      from the
outer edge of suburban or urban areas"               was defined       by FHJ?A
in March 1965 as follows
     “MC*     [on the Interstate System] safety rest areas
      should be well removed, perhaps 10 miles or more,
      from the edges of suburban or urban development,
      *** l ”

      "-k-k* [on the primary   system] Safety rest areas
      are not to be approved within          or near the devel-
      oped areas, urban and suburban,          of vrllages,
      towns, cities   or rural    industrial     developments."

The rnstructlons     state also that rest areas "are not essen-
tial  facllltles   in or near developed    communities  where local
parks and roadsrde      businesses furnish  necessary  motorist  ser-
vices and convenrences."

      Locating  highway safety rest areas away from commercial-
rzed or urbanized     areas apparently       was intended       by FHWA, at
the begrnnlng   of the program,      as a means of ensuring           that
the traveler   would be provided      with some type of safe stop-
ping place and comfort      and convenience      facllltles       at regu-
larly  spaced intervals     and that,    to achieve        this objective,
safety rest areas should be built          first   at those locations
where such facilities      were not otherwise        available.

      F'HMA advised us that,   although  the guidelines      requiring
that rest areas be placed at practicable       and suitable      drs-
tances from the outer edges of suburban and urban development
were appropriate     during the initial  stages of the program,
the guidelines     were under study for possible     modsfrcatlon.
FHWA stated    that, with the complexity    of urban highway systems,

                                         7
it might be desirable,         sn some instances,       to locate a rest
area near an urban area and thereby provide                an opportunity
for a traveler     to rest and read his map prior             to entering
the urban area.      FHWA   stated   also   that   in   some    instances     it
might be desirable      to include    a visitor      information       center
as part of the safety rest area development.                  FHWA    stated
further    that the availability      of a potable        water supply or
other utilities     might dictate      the location       of a rest area in
or near an urban area.

          In addition,    FHWA advised us that the policy       which en-
couraged safety rest areas away from commercial              facilities--
which was suitable         sn 1966 when interstate     highway rest areas
were few and far between-- also was under consideration                   for
change.       F'HWA stated that it was neither      proper nor safe to
require      a highway traveler      to leave the interstate      highway
and find a roadside         business   to provide  him with comfort fa-
cilities.

      We recognize    that certain   changes and modifications       of
program policy     are likely   to occur as thus program evolves,
and we agree that changes should be made if they are in the
best interests     of the highway traveler.      We believe,    how-
ever, that there is some question        as to the advisability      of
the changes contemplated      if they are being considered       on the
basis of what will      best serve the highway traveler.

        FBWA has conducted national              rest area usage studies
within    the past 3 years to determine                the present    demand for
and characteristics          of the use of existing            rest areas.      The
studies     were based on data collected               on rest area usage, na-
tionwide.        The most recent study was conducted during                  the
summer of 1970.          The lnformatlon         in these studies      indicates
that use of rest areas on interstate                   highways tends to in-
crease as the distance            from other rest areas, cities,             and
developed      areas increases.           In addition,      the  most  recent
study lndlcates        that,on      the average,       about 70 percent      of
highway travelers         sampled stopped for the purpose of using
the rest rooms or resting              and that,     on the average,      less than
4 percent      stopped for the purpose of using the telephone                    or
getting     travel   information.

       On the basis of these studies,            it     appears that the     inr-
tial   guidance  to the States relative               to the desirability      of
locating  safety rest         areas away from urbanized           or commercral-
szed areas continues          to have validrty.

      With regard to FHWA's belief           that 1.t 1s neither    proper
nor safe for a highway traveler           to leave an Interstate       hrgh-
way to find comfort facllltles,           the highway traveler      must,
of necessity,     leave the interstate         highway for any number of
reasons,    such as to obtain        gas, food, and lodging.      AASHO
and FHWA criteria      require     that Interstate     highway interchanges
be designed     to provide     for safe exzt from and reentry          onto
the system,

          Further,    although    FHWA stated that the avallable     potable
 water and other utllltres           may dictate   that rest areas be
  located     near urban areas, we were advised by FHWA offrclals
  that the maJorlty         of these problems were encountered      1.n the
  southwestern       part of the United States.        Also we found no
  evidence      that the locations      for the rest areas included     in
  our review had been selected           prlmarrly   on the basis of the
'avallablllty        of potable    water and other utllltles.

       We selected      61 safety rest areas In eight States In five
FHWA regions      for review.          Of these 61 rest areas, 24 were
located   wrthln     2 miles and 10 addstlonal            were located       erther
within   5 miles of towns or communrtles               or wlthrn      5 nnles of
commercral or public         facrlrtles.          FHWA considered      two of
these rest areas to be special                cases and, rn accordance          with
exrstrng    gurdellnes,      required       the States to Justify         their
need,    For most of the rest areas, however, we found no evr-
dence that FHWA had questioned                locating   them near urbanized
or commercralrzed        areas.        The following     cases illustrate         the
types of site locations           selected       by the States and approved
by FHWA that conflicted           with the overall         gurdelrnes     deslgned
to provrde     safety rest areas along stretches                of highway wlth-
out adequate stopping          facllltres.




                                           9
NEVADA

       At the time of our fleldwork      In Nevada, eight hlghway
safety rest areas had been completed.          Of the eight areas,
four were located      wlthln  the crty limits    of communltles    and
two were located      wlthln  5 miles of communltles.       At the same
time there were many remote and sparsely          populated   areas In
the State where there were few, if any, comfort and conve-
nlence facllltles      along the highways.     For example, there
were no safety rest areas on the maJor hlghway between the
Utah-Nevada     border and the town of Wlnnemucca, Nevada, a
distance    of about 235 miles.

        On the basl; of our review of safety             rest areas In both
Nevada and other States,        we concluded       that extensive       use of
rest areas located       In close proxlmlty        to communltles       by res-
idents    of the communltles      tended to restrict         the avallabll-
lty of the facllltles        to travelers.       For example, we noted
that the parking      lot of the safety rest area located               in the
town of Hawthorne,       Nevada, was being used by customers of
the grocery     store and service       station    located     directly
across the street.         In addition,      the town restricted        the
hours during which the rest area was available                  and thereby
further    reduced Its usefulness        to motorists.         (See photo-
graphs below.)




                      SAFETYRESTAREA-        HAWTHORNE,NEVADA




                                        10
FLORIDA

        FHWA approved Federal     participation       m the construction
cost of two safety     rest areas--Silver         Beach and Gulf Breeze--
in the State of Florida       that are located        on two-lane         roads
along which there are extensive           commercial      facilities,         even
though there were long stretches            of highway in other parts
of the State where few public          comfort and convenience              facile-
ties were available.       Gulf Breeze is located            near Pensacola,
Florida,    and Silver  Beach is located         about 40 miles east of
Gulf Breeze on the route which generally              follows         the Gulf
Coast of Florida.      Both safety       rest areas are basically              rec-
reation    orlented.

        In June 1966, FHWA approved Federal                    participation       in the
acquisition        costs of beach property              at Silver      Beach to pre-
serve the natural            scenic quality        of the area.         At that time
it was not antended to develop the property                         for active     rec-
reation     or associated           uses.     In December 1967, FHWA approved
Federal     participation            in the costs of developing             a rest area
on the property,           including       construction     of three comfort          sta-
tion buildings,          six picnic        pagodas, 12 plcnlc          pavlllonsp     and
other associated           facilities.          The Federal     cost amounted to
about $423,000,          including        about $110,000 for the land.

         The Silver       Beach safety     rest area (see photograph         on
p,, 12) 1s located            among a number of commercial      facilities,
including     restaurants,         motels,    and service stations.         About
5 miles west of Silver             Beach there are numerous commercial
facilities       and about 10 miles west there is a State park, a
wayside park, and a city park, all of whichhavecomfort                        and
convenience       facilities.

       During visits  to the Silver    Beach safety  rest area, we
noted that most of the visitors      were swimmers.     State offi-
cials   advised us that the State had anticipated       and designed
Silver   Beach to meet the recreational      needs of visitors    and
that showers for the convenience        of swmmers were going to
be added at the State&s expense.

       FHWA also participated    in the costs of developing     a
safety rest area at Gulf Breeze.        The facilities  include   a
comfort   station,  20 picnic  tables with shelters,    and 32 auto-
parking   spaces.   The comfort station    also has showers, the

                                              11
RTMENT   OF TRANSPORTAT]


                           SILVER   BEACH   SAFETY   REST   AREA   - FLORIDA
cost       of which was borne        by the State.     Federal              costs    for
this       rest area amounted        to about $90,000.

      The Gulf Breeze safety rest area 1s on the oceanfront
and adJacent       to the south end of the old Pensacola Bay
Bridge which IS advertised                  as the world's         longest       flshlng
pier.     The  driveway        through        the   safety    rest    area     leads     to
the old bridge            About 3 miles north,              across the new bridge,
IS a State wayside park having complete comfort and conve-
nience facllltles           slmllar      to those provided            at the safety
rest area, lncludlng             parking        spaces for about 140 cars,
(See photographs           below > There 1s a public                  faclllty        3 miles
southeast     of the safety rest area that also has complete
comfort and convenience               facllltles           Also there are numerous
commercial     facilities,          such as service           stations,        restaurants
and motels,     wlthln        2 miles east and 5 miles west of the
safety rest area.



*      a




            GULF   BREEZE   SAFETY                               STATE     WAYSIDE
                   REST AREA                                             PARK




      Although  neither  the law nor FHWA regulations       preclude
States from constructing     safety rest areas on Federal-aid
highways at locations    which naturally     encourage recreation
as a primary   actlvlty  and only lncldently      provide highway

                                             13
travelers   with safety rest stops,          rt appears that these two
safety rest areas should not have been given prlorlty                   over
other rest area locations          because there are many other pub-
lic and commercial     faclllties       In these areas avallable          to
travelers   for recreatron        and safety   rest stops.       There    are,
however,  long stretches        of highway In less developed           areas
of the State where no such facilltles             are available.




                                     14
AGENCY COMMENTS AND OUR EVALUATION

        In a draft report  submitted   to the Secretary   of Trans-
portation    for comment, we proposed that FHWA require      each
State to establish     and adhere to a system of priorities,        to
ensure that safety rest areas to be constructed         on Federal-
aid highways are provided      first in those locations    where
most needed.

       The Assistant       Secretary      for Administration,         Department
of Transportation,         by letter      dated December 23, 1970, com-
mented on the matters           discussed     in our draft      report.     Cer-
tain of the Department's            comments relative         to our findings
have been discussed         on the preceding        pages.      In specifically
commenting on our proposal,             the Assistant       Secretary    stated
that he agreed that priority              should be given to rest area
construction         along stretches      of highway without        adequate
stopping     facilrties     and that the Department would continue
to stress this in its administration                of the program.

        He stated also that the States had developed               master
plans which were being used substantially                in conformity      with
FHWA and AASHO guidelines           and that,    of the 385 rest areas
planned on controlled-access           highways in Region 3, 62 have
already     been constructed         He stated further       that the re-
mainlng 323 rest areas were on a priority                schedule generally
established      by a combination      of miles of highway and traffic
needs, and that the master plans for this region                  showed an
orderly     system of development.          In addition,     he said that
the necessity      and Justification       for any significant        vari-
ations would be given careful            consideration      by FHWA and the
States on proJect-by-proJect           basis.

        With regard to the States'        master plans, we found that
the eight States included         in our review had developed     State-
wide planning      documents which showed existing       and proposed
locations     for safety     rest areas and that FHWA had approved
the plans even though (1) most of the plans showed that the
States intended      to construct     rest areas in or near urban
areas, in direct       conflict   with the policy    in effect  at the
time, and (2) most of the States had not established             pri-
orities     to ensure that the rest areas would be constructed
first    where most needed.


                                         15
        We found that the master plan for the one State Included
in our review,        which is within        the jurisdiction         of FHWA Re-
gion 3, showed only planned and existing                    rest area locations
without    indlcatlng      the priority        for their      constructron.       We
noted that there were a slgnlficant                number of safety rest
areas yet to be constructed             on controlled-access            highways in
the State.       These areas apparently           had prroritles          lower than
those of other rest areas which had already                     been constructed
on non-controlled-access,           relatively       low-traffsc-volume         roads,
some of which were located            near highly       developed       tourist   ar-
eas.

       In further      commenting on our proposal             regarding    prrori-
ties,    the Assistant       Administrator      pointed      out that conslder-
able savings in cost could be achreved by lncludlng                       site
preparation     work for a safety rest area as a part of a hlgh-
way construction        project     and that rn such cases priority               de-
termlnatrons      for the highway project,            rather     than the safety
rest area, should dominate.                In summary, he advised us that
each safety     rest area was considered             rn the light       of Its con-
sonance with the State's            overall    need when the proposed area
was submitted       for approval       and that its prlorlty          was evalu-
ated at that time.

      We agree that, where possible,          States should include
safety rest areas as part of highway constructron                projects.
It should be noted, however,      that 74 percent         of the mileage
of the Interstate    Highway System was opened to traffic                as of
December 31, 1970, and that much of the remaining                mileage was
urban or suburban in character.          In addition,      in the States
where we made our review,     many   of    the  rest   areas   In existence
were constructed    after  the highways had been completed,                Of
the 181 rest areas planned for construction             on the Interstate
System in the eight States,      78 will      be located    on portions
of the system which are currently         open to traffic.

       FHWA officials  have pointed             out that the overall     cost
of the safety rest area program               is relatively      small compared
with the cost of the Federal-aid                highway program and that it
therefore   receives  proportionately              less administrative    atten-
tion.

       Although   the safety rest         area program is small compared
with   the highway construction           program,   about $166 million has

                                         16
already    been authorized     for the safety rest area program.
A program costing       that amount appears to warrant       prudent
management.     The size of the program should not be the only
factor   for determining     the amount of control       to be exercised
by FHWA. FJ3WAshould exercise           the control   necessary   to en-
sure that the national       objectives     of the program are accom-
plished.

CONCLUSIONS

       The purpose of the safety           rest area program is to pro-
vide a place for motorists          to stop and rest for short periods.
The safety     rest areas we revlewed          generally        had been con-
structed    near urban areas or commercial               or public        facilities
which already      had comfort and convenience              facilities          avail-
able.    Although     there may eventually         be enough rest areas
to adequately      serve the safety        rest needs of the motorists,
we believe     that FHWA needs to establish,               and to require            the
 States to adhere to, policies           and procedures           designed to
ensure that safety         rest areas are provided            first     in those
areas where no such facilities             are available.            We believe
also that,     unless such action        is taken,       the States will              con-
tinue to construct         safety  rest areas at locations                which may
not be of the most benefit          to motorists          in terms of provid-
 ing such facllitles         along stretches      of highway without                ade-
quate stopping       places.

RECOMMENDATION TO SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION

      We recommend that the Secretary        of Transportation           re-
quire that FJ3WArequire       the States to establish       priorities
to ensure that the safety        rest areas will   be constructed
first   at locations  where most needed and to establish               review
procedures    at the national     level  to ensure that such priori-
ties are being followed.




                                            17
                                         CHAPTER 3

                      NEED TO PROVIDE GUIDELINES                   FOR

           DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION OF SAFETY REST AREAS

        FHWA needs to provide,          and to require          the States to
adhere to, definitive         guidelines      relative        to the size, type,
quallth     and cost of safety rest areas acceptable                       for approval
for Federal    financial      particlpatlon.           Although      FHWA has pro-
vided some guidance        to the States,         particularly        with regard
to such things      as the amount of land to be developed                      and the
number of parking        spaces required        for various        traffic      volumes,
FHWA had not required         the States to adhere to such guide-
lines.

          Generally     FHWA's practice             seems to have been to approve
and authorize          Federal      financial        participation         In the cost of
acquiring,         constructing,         and equipprng           safety rest areas of
virtually       any size or quality               proposed by the States.                   As a
result,      there is a striking              variance       in the type, size,
quality,       and cost of safety rest areas constructed                            by the
various      States to serve similar                 types and volumes of traffic.
Some States usually              provide      large,      elaborate      facilities          with
customized         equipment,       while     other     States     provide       facilities
and equipment which are comparatively                          small and austere.

        Although    regional    differences        in architectural       style
and generally       accepted building         materials     and practices       may
have accounted        for some of these variations,              we believe     that
the extent       of these variations        resulted     because FHWA had not
provided      and required    the States to follow            definitive     guide-
lines    as to the size, type, quality,              and cost of safety rest
areas acceptable         for approval     for Federal       financial     partrci-
pation.

      In the safety rest areas included           in our review,   we
noted that comfort station        buildings   designed to serve slm-
nlar volumes of traffic       ranged in size from 320 to 1,400
square feet and In cost from $10,650 to $90,000.               The number
of automobile-parking       spaces provided     ranged from 14 to 102,
and the area of land acquired          ranged from 3 to 44 acres.
The cost and quality      of the equipment      acquired   for the rest
areas also varied     widely.

                                                18
        As early as July 1965, an FHWA headquarters              official
advised FHWA field        personnel   that some States,       in antrcipa-
tlon of the Highway Beautification            Act, were planning          rather
extensive      and costly    rest areas on the Interstate          System and
that there might be a need to establish             uniform     cost-control
limits.      In January    1967, another     FHWA headquarters        official
advised FHWA field        personnel   that he had noted "wide varia-
tions in the scale of provisions           for parking,     picnic      and
comfort facilities"        provided   by the States and asked the
States for a report        on "rest   area design guides and opera-
tional    experience     of the States ***."

        Replies   received  from the States     indicated   that as of
March 1967 there was a significant          lack of uniformity     on the
location      and cost of rest area facilities        among the States.
In a memorandum to the regrons and States dated October 3,
1968, FHWA noted that the number and, in some instances,                the
quality     of rest areas on the Interstate        Highway System varied
greatly     from State to State.                                   I

         Even though FHWA has long been aware of these slgnlf-
icant variances        in the safety rest areas provided      by the
various     States on the Interstate       System and the other
Federal-aid      highways,    F'HWA has not provided   the States with
definitive      guidance    as to the type and quality     of facilities
and equipment       to be provided     in safety  rest areas.

        FHWA guidelines         issued in 1966 for all Federal-aid
highways point out that rest and recreation                         areas "are to be
provided      with comfort        and convenience        facilities         *** reason-
ably necessary         to accommodate the traveling                 public"      and that
safety rest areas are for emergency stopping                          and for resting
by motorists        for short periods          and could include            such com-
fort and convenience           facilities        as drinking        water,     toilets,
tables     for meals, walkways,           open shelters,           bulletin      boards,
refuse containers,         lighting       installations,           and signs.         The
guldellnes       state also that simple types of design of suitable
appearance       for each installatron            that will       be durable         and
maintainable        at low cost should be adopted for all facilities

      FHWA has suggested    that,  for design concepts, the States
consider  the AASHO guidelines      issued in 1958 and 1968 on
safety rest areas.     These guidelines      contain  little    guidance,
however,  on the type and quality       of faclllties      and equipment

                                           19
 to be provided,    other than to point out                       that the obJective
 of such facilities      should be to provide                     reasonable conve-
 nrence and comfort      to motorists.

        The AASHO guidelines          state that the decrsion           as to the
 extent   of such facilities          depends on the pollcres           and prac-
 tices of the various          State highway departments           that are
 based on their     experiences.           As early     as 1958, however,      the
 AASHO guidelines       recognized       that each item added to comfort
 and convenience      facilities       entailed      not only additional
 costs for installation           but also addltronal        continuing     costs
 for maintenance      in a pleasing         condition.

        FHWA advised us that,        contrary  to our opinion      as to the
lack of definitive      guidelines       for comfort  station    buildings,
there had been maximum size limits            set and that the lobby
 size had been based on the number of comfort facilities
within    a building.    We found that early in 1966 one FHWA re-
gion had provided     the States under its Jurisdiction             with
"some ideas" with respect          to the size of buildings        which
might be provided     on the basis of varrous         traffic    volumes.
Overall    lobby size in these buildings          was generally     related
to the number of comfort facilities            within   the buildings.

          In 1968, this same region           definitized          these ideas by
  setting      maximum size limits       for Federal-aid             participation             in
 the cost of comfort          station    buildings.          The llmrts          were
 based on the total         number of comfort facilatles                    within      the
 building        and were related     to traffic        volume factors.               We
 found no evidence,         however,     that the other regrons included
 in our review had adopted these maximum limits.                             In fact,
one FHWA official         from another region             stated that within               hrs
own region there was no need for imposing maximum limits                                   on
the costs for rest area facilities                   and that,        on a nationwide
basis,       if it were apparent       that things         were getting            out of
hand there mrght be a need in the future                      for definitive              cri-
terra      relative    to the extent       of Federal        participation            in the
costs of rest area proJects.

       FHWA also advised us that a number of safety rest areas
built   early in the program had proved to be inadequate           and
undersized      and that rt was costly      to redevelop   them to meet
the new levels      of traffic    and use,     FHWA stated that safety
rest areas recently       or currently     being built   were more closely
meeting    existing    and proJected   needs and requirements.
                                               20
FHWA lndlcated      that It had encouraged    rest area upgradlng
where It felt     that a State's    design was too frugal      and aus-
tere and that     It had asked for restraint        where It felt
that a design     was too elaborate     and costly.

       On the basis of our review,            we tend to agree with FHWA
that some of the rest areas built              early In the program are
inadequate       and undersized      and that It probably       would be
costly    to redevelop        them,   Some of the safety rest areas be-
ing constructed        at the time of our review,         however,    were of
the same size and design as those which had been built                    at
the lnceptlon       of the States'       programs.    For example,      in two
of the States included            In our review,    a one-size,     one-design
comfort     station    building     was used for all safety rest areas,
regardless       of the traffic      volume of the highways to be
served.

        If FHWA 1s concerned about the cost of redeveloping
comfort      station   bulldings,      we find It dlfflcult      to under-
stand why FHWA permltted            these States to continue       to con-
struct     such bulldlngs.         The fact that one State builds         ex-
tremely     modest 320-square-foot          bulldIngs   to serve relatively
large volumes of traffic            while another State builds       an ex-
tremely     lavish   1,323-square-foot         bulldlng   to serve an rela-
tlvely     small volume of traffic          indicates   that FHWA's con-
trol   over the States'         programs 1s inadequate.

      Some examples of the variances   In the size of the
safety rest area facllltles   and type of equipment  provided
are presented  below




                                       21
FACILITIES

Comfort      statlon    buildings

        Some States provide       buildings       which are srmply designed
and functronal       while other States "express             their     hlstorlcal
heritage     by way of the visual          impact of their        bulldings        ***.'I
Among the States where we made our reviews,                    Missouri       pro-
vided the smallest        comfort     station     buildings.       Each of the
buildings      was about 320 square feet In size and was designed
to serve traffic       volumes ranging         from 5,500 to 19,300 cars
daily.      The costs of the buildings            ranged from $10,500 to
$16,320,     depending    on location       and the cost of labor.               They
were generally       constructed     of cinder block and included                  toi-
let facilities       and small utility        rooms.       (See   photograph
and floor      plan on p. 23.)

        The comfort station        bulldings      constructed    rn New Hamp-
 shire were a striking         contrast      to the buildings      constructed
rn Missouri.       Most of the buildings           in New Hampshire were
large-- ranging      from 700 square feet to 1,475 square feet in
size--and    usually     contained      lobbies,     utility  rooms, base-
ments, caretakers'        rooms, information          booths,   and flre-
places.

        Although       the size and cost of New Hampshire's            comfort
station      buildings       generally    seemed to be somewhat related        to
the volume of traffic              to be served by the bulldings,         we
noted that a large,             elaborate   safety rest area had recently
been constructed            on a section    of the interstate      highway
near the town of Springfield               which has a relatively       low
traffic     volume.         This comfort    station  building     1s 1,323
square feet in size-- one of the largest                In the State--and
cost about $90,000,             a higher   cost than that of any of the
other burldrngs           in our review.

         The building     contains     such amenities      as a spacious
lobby,     a large stone fireplace,          a caretaker's      room with
stove and refrigerator,            and an lnformatron       booth.   The floor-
to-celling      picture     windows overlook     a scenic view of the
surrounding       mountains        In contrast    to the size of the build-
ing, the parking         area had spaces for only 15 automobiles.
 (See photograph        and floor    plan on p, 24.)


                                           22
MEN




           I    COMFORT    STATION
               STATE    OF MISSOURI
                320 SQUARE     FEET




      23
I
      r\,   ENTRY

                                   INFORMATION




MEN




                                                  LOBBY




                    ATTENDANT5
                                             II


       i      COMFORT      STATION
              STATE    OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
              1323 SQUARE      FEET    (ALSO H AS bL
              FULL    BASEMENT      WITH UTIL .ITY ROOM)




                           24
Land
         Although FHWAhas provided the States with farrly de-
finitive      guidelines    as to the practical     maxlmum limits   for
the number of acres of land required to develop a rest area
with full comfort and convenience facilities,             FHWAhas not
required the States to adhere to such guidelines.                It has
long been recognized that the amount of land required for
rest area facilities          is related to, among other things, the
volume of traffic         to be served by the facilities.        The guide-
lines suggest from 5 to 8 acres for rest areas to serve a
relatively       small traffic    volume--under    10,000 vehicles
daily--from       6 to 10 acres for a medium traffic       volume--
10,000 to 25,000 vehicles dally--and            from 8 to 12 acres for
a large traffic        volume --more than 25,000 vehicles daily.
     The amount of land on which rest areas were constructed
In the eight States included in our review ranged from
       --2 to 42 acres for rest      areas serving     small tr'affic
         volumes,
       --5 to 38 acres for rest areas serving         medium traffic
          volumes, and
       --3 to 44 acres for rest areas serving          large   traffic   2
          volumes.
         FHWAstated that the amount of land needed for rest
areas varied because the land need for parking areas might
vary with the design year and forecast of traffic,            the type
of vehicles,       the type of traffic,  the availability     of land
because of terrain,        the State's prerogative    to build a full
faclllty    initially     or in stages, and the economies assocl-
ated with the purchase of full parcels rather than several
remnants.
      We recognize that the amount of land acquired for
safety rest areas will vary, depending upon the type and
amount of traffic    eventually  to be served by the facilrtres
and the avallability    of land.   We also agree that, in some
cases, more land than is actually needed must be acquired
for such reasons as the owner's being unwilling        to sell only
part of a parcel or the acquisition      of one parcel's   eliminat-
ing access to other parcels,
                                    25
       As previously      indicated FHWAhas issued guidelines      to
the States relative         to the minimum and maximum number of
acres of land required for development of rest areas to
serve various volumes of traffic.          In establishing   these
guidelines,    FHWAtook into consideration        such things as the
types and projected volumes of traffic          and the ultimate de-
velopment of full rest area facilities.           Thus we believe
that the minimum and maximum number of acres specified in
the guidelines,      revised when necessary, should be used as a
basis for establishing         the amount of land eligible   for Fed-
eral financial     participation.
        We believe also that FHWAshould require a State to
justify    any purchase of land which significantly      exceeds the
number of acres suggested in the guidelines        and that, if the
 State cannot justify   the purchase of the additional      land,
FHWAshould limit Federal participation       to the cost of ac-
quiring the number of acres required to provide a facility
adequate to serve the expected volume of traffic.
Parking   spaces

        FHWAand MSHO have long recognized that the need for
parking spaces at rest areas is directly     related to the vol-
ume of highway traffic   to be served.   FHWAguidelines     sug-
gest that up to 30 parking spaces be provided for a small
traffic   volume, up to 40 for a medium traffic     volume, and up
to 60 for a high traffic   volume.
      Parking spaces provided    at the rest areas included      in
our review ranged from
     --11 to 93 for small-volume facilities,
     --13 to 82 for medium-volume facilities,        and
     --14 to 102 for high-volume facilities.
       As previously  indicated,    we recognize that various fac-
tors, such as the type of traffic        and the amount of land
available    for use, have a bearing on the number of parking
spaces to be provided.       In view of the suggested relation-
ship between traffic    volume and parking spaces needed, how-
ever, it is difficult     to understand FHWA's basis for approv-
ing Federal participation      in financing the construction    of
a safety rest area in California       which provides only 14

                                 26
parking spaces to serve an interstate       highway having a high
potential   traffic volume and of a safety rest area in Flor-
ida which provides 93 parking spaces to serve a two-lane
road havrng a very low potential    traffic     volume.  Both of
these rest areas are located in heavily tourist-orznted
areas and are In close proximity to commercial and public
facilities.




                                27
EQUIPMENT

         The cost of certain        basic items of equipment           generally
found In the safety          rest areas Included          In our review varred
significantly        from State to State.           Although     FHWA and AASHO
have suggested that prcnic             tables,    refuse containers,         bulle-
tin boards,        and sun shelters       be provided       whenever possible,
FHWA has not provided           the States with maxrmvm limits              on the
amount of Federal participation                rn the cost of such items
of equipment.          As a result,      some States provide        functional,
relatively       inexpensive      equipment,     while other States provide
custom-designed         equipment apparently          chosen more for Its
esthetic      value than for Its functronal             value,

      We found      that   the cost    of

       --picnic     tables varied     from $75 to $628,
       --refuse     containers   varied     from no cost to $200,          and
       --bulletin      boards varied     from $250, to $3,500.

       In addition,    we found that certain    States and Federal
agencies within     those States often had purchased     slmllar
items of equipment      at considerably   lower costs.

         Although    the variation     in the cost of each item of
equipment may not be substantial             when considered     separately,
the acqulsitlon         of more costly     equipment than necessary
could have a significant           overall   effect     on the Federal par-
tlclpatlon        in the cost of the program, especially           when con-
srdered in light          of the fact that the States are planning
to construct        about 1,000 addrtional        safety   rest areas on
the Interstate         Highway System.

       FHWA stated that it had been aware of variations                in
the cost of certain      equipment      found in safety rest areas
and indicated     that these variations,          across the country,
were not unexpected      and not necessarily          unreasonable,      FHWA
stated that the variations         had been brought about,          in part,
by such economic and marketing            factors   as supply and demand,
labor and materials,      transportation,         and the controls     some-
times placed by Government and labor organizations                  on mate-
rials,   labor,   and products     and that,      because these factors
varied   so much and changed so often with the local or na-
tional   economy, placing      any dollar       cost limit    on items of

                                        28
basic equipment      would be arbitrary   and difficult         to admln-
ister.     Likewise,   purpose and desrgn will      vary     between items
ostensibly     having simrlar  functions.

        We recognrze    that all of these factors         would have some
effect     on the cost of various       items of equipment       furnished
in safety     rest areas.      We believes    however,    that the wide
variatrons      in type and cost of equipment         encountered      in our
review were not the sole result            of such factors,     partlcu-
larly    since we found wide variances          in both type and cost
of items in adJacent        States.     The variances     in these adJa-
cent States were caused primarily            by the fact that one State
chose to use custom-designed           equipment while the other State
used "off the shelf"        items.

         Presented      below are examples which, In our opinion,
Illustrate         the need for FHWA to provide        to the States guide-
lines      setting    forth   the type and cost of equipment       eligible
for Federal particrpatlon.             FHWA should approve any signifi-
cant deviations           from such guidelines     only if a State shows
that the high costs for certain              items of equipment    are
caused by economic factors            of the types mentioned      by FHWA.

Picnnlc   tables

       Most of the States included     in our review provided        sim-
ple all-wood   or wood-and-pipe    frame picnic    tables   in their
highway safety    rest areas.   In some States the tables were
attached   to concrete   slabs, and in other States the tables
could be moved from place to place.         (See photographs     on
p. 30.)    The cost for these types of tables        ranged from
$75 to $210.




                                      29
       STATIONARY   PICNIC   TABLE                  MOVEABLE   PICNIC   TABLE


        In their    safety rest areas, however,             Florlda    and Call-
fornla    provided     plcnlc     tables    which were elaborate        in de-
sign and which cost considerably                more than those the two
States and certam           Federal agencies       provided      for use In
State and national          parks       Also, the tables       Florida    and Cal-
lfornla    provided      m their       rest areas cost considerably          more
than did the tables          provided      by the other States included
in our review.




                                        30
                              CALIFORNIA   PICNIC   TABLE


        The picnic   tables       California        provided    in some of its
highway safety rest areas have truncated,                     diamond-shaped
tops made of clear redwood supported                    by concrete    pedestals,
 (See photograph     above.)         The cost of these tables ranged
from $175 to $500.           In contrast,         in its parks and recre-
ational    areas California         provided        standard   redwood picnic
tables which cost about $85 each.                    We also noted that in
its recreational       facilities         the Western Region of the Na-
tional    Park Service,        Department       of the Interior,       which
serves California,        generally         provided      a wood table with
metal supports      and two benches that cost about $80, in
some cases it provided            concrete      and redwood tables        or all-
concrete    tables.




                                           31
                              FLORIDA   PICNIC   TABLE


       The picnic    tables     Florida      provided     in some safety rest
areas had concrete-slab           tops and seats, both covered with
ceramic tile,     and were supported             by prestressed-concrete
columns which were cemented to a concrete-slab                     foundation.
(See photograph      above.)        The cost of these tables            ranged
from $480 to $1,100.           State    officials      advised    us  that,
although   ceramic tile        shattered       easily   and was expensive         to
reparr   or replace,      this    type   of    table   was   easy  to   maintain,
and that concrete,        instead      of wood, had to be used because
of the termite     problem in the State.

      Florida   apparently      is the only State which provides
ceramic tile-covered       tables.     State officials  advised us
that they were considering         other types of tables.

       We noted that in its State parks Florida          provided
treated-pine     picnic     tables which cost about $30 each.         In
its recreational        areas the National   Park Service,     South-
east Region, provided          wood-and-pipe frame tables which cost
about $46 each.

        Also in a national      forest     in Florida      the Department      of
Agriculture    provides    concrete-slab          picnic   tables which cost
about $158 in 1966.        On the basis of information              supplied
by Department     of Agriculture       officials,        we estimated     that
these tables would cost about $210 at the time of our review.

                                         32
Refuse   containers

        In their   safety   rest areas, two of the States Included
In our review provided          recondltloned       011 drums and paint
barrels     and furnished     them at no cost to the Federal              Gov-
ernment, while other        States provided         metal trash cans which
were anchored to the        ground and which cost about $40 each.
Callfornla,      however,   p rovlded      both recondltxoned         011 drums
and precast-concrete        trash cans.         The  precast-concrete        trash
cans cost up to $200        each.       (See photograph       below.)




                        CALIFORNIA   REFUSE   CONTAINERS




                                         33
AGENCY COMMENTS AND OUR EVALUATION

        In commenting on our proposal             that FHWA develop,             and
require      the States to adhere to, specific                guidelines       regard-
ing safety      rest areas setting       forth      limits     ‘on the amount of
land and on the size and type of facilities                       and equipment
that would be acceptable          for Federal         partlclpatlon,         the As-
sistant      Secretary   for Administration,           Department        of Trans-
portation,       stated that FHWA would continue                surveillance       of
the design of these facilities,              including        location      and land
acquisition,        to be certain    that Federal          funds were properly
and wisely       spent and that,     in revising         the current        guide-
lines,     FHWA would consider       the advisability             of specific
guidelines      along the line recommended by us.

       He stated also that FHWA would continue     to furnish
information     and guidance to the States on the design and
purchase of rest area equipment to be certain        that the Fed-
eral funds were properly     spent but that he did not believe
that it would be proper to establish      specific   cost limita-
tions    for equipment.

        We believe    that,     in the absence of such guidelines            re-
garding     the type and cost of equipment             acceptable    for Fed-
eral financial       partxipation,         there will    continue    to be a
lack of assurance that needed facilities                 are being provided
at reasonable      costs.       We believe     further   that in a program
such as this,      in which the Federal Government generally
contributes      up to 100 percent         of the funding,      it is incum-
bent upon the administering             agency to prescribe       definitive
guidelines.

CONCLUSION

       The States included      in our review generally      acquired
land and provided    facilities     and equipment which varied
widely   in terms of size, quality,        type, and cost.      In view
of the nationwide    character     and scope of this program,         and
since the Federal    Government generally        contributes   up to
100 percent    of the funding,     we believe    that it is reasonable
to expect that FHWA would provide          more definitive    guidelines
to the States as a means of controlling            the costs of this
program.


                                         34
RECOMMENDATION
             TO SECRETARYOF TRANSPORTATION
     We recommend that the Secretary of Transportation       re-
quire FHWAto issue specific guidelines      regarding safety
rest areas setting forth limits on the amount of land and
on the size, type, and cost of facilities     and equipment that
will be acceptable for Federal financial     partxipation,    and
to establish  review procedures at the national level to en-
sure that such guidelines   are being followed.




                               35
                             CHAF'TER4

                          SCOPEOF REVIEW

       Our review was conducted at the Washlngton, D.C., of-
flee of FHWA; the FHWAreglonal and divlslon      offices;    and
the offlces of the State agencies responsible     for lmplemen-
tatlon of the safety rest area program, under the Highway
Beautification     Act of 1965, in the States of Callfornla,
Florlda,     Iowa, Mlchlgan, Mlssourl, Nevada, New Hampshire,
and Vermont,
      We reviewed pertinent leglslatlon,       FHWApollcles    and
procedures, and FHWAand State records pertalnlng          to the
safety rest area program.   We   also    discussed the   program
with officials   of FHWAand the States that we visited.
       Our review included examlnatlon into the plannlng for
and construction    of 61 of the approximately        236 safety rest
area projects constructed or authorized for construction             in
the eight States.      We selected the 61 safety rest areas to
provide samples of projects constructed to serve projected
average daily traffic     volumes of (1) under 10,000 vehicles,
(2) between 10,000 and 25,000 vehicles,         and (3) over 25,000
vehicles,    because these projected average traffic        volumes
were the bases for certain construction         criteria   contained
in FHWA's instructions.       We selected the most recent projects
constructed or under construction        on interstate,    primary,
and secondary highways within these volumes.




                                   36
APPENDIXES




     37
                                                                               APPENDIX I


                      OFFICE   OF THE SECRETARY         OF TRANSPORTATION
                                    WASHINGTON,   D C     20590



ASSISTANT SECRETARY
 FOR ADMINISTRATION                                                            December      23,   1970


Mr. Richard W. Kelley
Assistant  Dsrector,  Clvrl Dsvlsron
United States General Accounting Offsce
Washington, D.C. 20548

Dear Mr. Kelley

Mr. Bernard Sacks' letter    of July 22 requested comments on the GAO Draft
Report entxtled  "Improvements   Needed sn the Management of the Safety Rest
Area Program. "

The report contends that there 1s (1) need to improve adrmnlstratlve    con-
trol over the planning and locatzon of safety rest areas, (2) need to
improve gusdellnes   for constructing safety rest areas, and (3) need to
 control costs on items of equspment provided   In safety rest areas.

A number of guldellnes            have been prepared by FHWA and AASHO on the SUbJeCt.
Pr-smarlly among these are the Instructions               for Highway Beautsficat,son       Cost
Estimate,     the 1958 AASHO Policy for Safety Rest Areas, the 1968 AASHO
Guide for Safety Rest Areas, and FlMA PpMxs 21-4-6, 21-17, and 80-1.                        This
material    has a scope and flexibilaty            that recognszes the States*
prerogative      for initiative,       a degree of tolerance       for lndavidual     State
policy decisions,        and some latitude       for lndivadual      engineerzng   Judgment In
each specific       proJect situation.         The prancipal    guide has been PPM 21-17,
which was developed shortly            after passage of the Highway BeautlfLcatlon
Act of 1965, FHWA and AASHO policy on safety rest areas has been further
developed and refined           in recognition     of changing traffic      and traveler
requirements,       and the need to broaden and reissue PPM 21-17 has been
recognazed.

The safety rest area program is relatively         new, particularly       on Interstate
highways where there has been a generally        short-time     progressxve     develop-
ment of a series of safety rest areas along any one route.                Developing
experience  has shown that it 1s econormcally        advantageous      to include a
safety rest area as a part of a highway constructson            project,    that there is
a need for larger    safety rest areas than were first        thought to be necessary,
and that visitation     and usage have been greater than was antlcspated.                Some
rest areas built    early In the program at a relatively          moderate cost are now
recognized to be inadequate      In size, quality,     and service,      and need to be
updated at costs reflecting      present high cost levels       for labor and
materials.     &gh operatsng and maintenance costs have led the States to
conclude that it 1s preferable       to have a smaller number of large safety


                                                  39
APPENDIX I

rest areas along a route than a greater number of small ones. The
priority  for construction  of safety rest areas prlmarsly   1s governed
by a State's schedule for the orderly    progressson of constructson    of
sections of highway routes.

We appreciate     the concern and Interest    you have shown 1-n the safety
rest area program and can assure you that the GAO report ~111 be care-
fully  considered    m further  conslderatlon    of the long-range  crlterla
for this program.      While we have recognized the need to broaden and
reissue PPM 21-17, the report has given us a greater awareness of thx
need and for placsng greater     stress on completsng this revlslon.

For your further   lnformatlon,    we are enclosing detailed    comments rela-
tive to the primary flndlngs      as set forth an the report.
                                             Slncerely,




Enclosure                            Alan     L    Dean




                                        40
                                                                                       APPENDIX I

                                       GAO DRAFT REPORT

                 "IMPROVE!JENTS NEEDED INTHEMANAGEMEBJT OFTHE

                               SAFETY REST AREA PROGRAM"



NEEDTO IMPROVE ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROLOVER THE PLANNING
AND LOCATION OF SAFETY REST AREAS

The report lndscates that " . . It 1s reasonable             to expect that FHWA
would establish   a system of priorities      and control      the construction
of rest areas so that each State has sufflclent           facllltles      to provide
the highway traveler   with regularly     spaced areas where he can stop and
rest for short periods of time . . . ." The report recognizes that
 %aster plansV have been developed rn eight of the nine States reviewed,
but that sn some instances site locations        were not in consonance with
the general prsnclples    of locating    safety rest areas away from urban
areas and public or commercial establishments        which could provide the
traveler  with safe stopping and comfort facllltles,              also that most of
the master plans did not show a priority        In which the State's (safety
rest areas would be built.

The GAO report      recomends      that     FHWA.

        1.   Reevaluate      the States'       master plans      for      safety      rest   area
             locations

        2    Require      the States      to establish      a priority          for   construction.

        3.   Establash a review           procedure      to assure       that    the prlorstles
             are followed.

Guldellnes  prepared by FHWA and AASHO call for safety rebt areas on
freeways to be located approximately      30 to 40 mLnutes drsvmg time
apart and to have TacilitLes     deemed necessary for the comfort and con-
venience of the traveling    public.   For thss purpose, master plans
showing proposed locations    were prepared by the States.

Generally,    safety rest areas on one system            in a State should be developed
on a priority     basis.     However, this may conflict             with the significant
economy that could be affected          by including       the safety rest area as a
part of a highway construction          proJect,       In many cases, the several work
Items of a safety rest area proJect,             I.e.,   the right-of-way           acqulsltlon,
ramps, parking,     grading,    paving,    buildings,      utilities,       and landswplng        can
be included In a total highway proJect with considerable                       sa-rlngs ln Costs
Accordingly,    the Statewide prlorlty          deterrmnatlons         for the highway proJect,
not the safety rest area, should dominate.                 Traffic       conslderatlons       may




                                                  41
APPENDIX I

influence    priorltles.    In some Instances,    spacsng may be affected     because
the rest area facllltzes      have been added to an area prlmarlly      selected
for Its scenic quality        In other Instances,     spacing may be affected    by
having to shift proposed sites because of topography,          lack of adequate
and suitable      land, and improper condltlons    for water, sewage disposal
and other utllltles.

Generally,    the States' master plans are being used In substantial                conforrmty
wath FHWA and AASHO gusdellnes         In Region   3, for   example,      there    are   385
rest areas planned on controlled-access        highways.      Of  these,     62  have    been
constructed.       The remasnang 323 have a prsorlty      schedule generally          estab-
lashed by a comblnatson of miles of highway and traffic               needs. A look at
the master plans for th'ls Region wall show an orderly            system of development
The necesszty and Justificatson      for any srgnificant       variations       are given
careful    considerataon   by FHWA and a State on proJect-by-proJect             basis.

SAFETYREST AREAS LOCATEDNEAR ORWITHlNURBANORSUBURBANAREAS                         OR
COMMUNITIES

The GAO report points out that rest areas sn four States had been located
in or near urban areas, contrary      to FHWA guldellnes.    These guldellnes,
lnstruc-tlng    that rest areas be placed "at practicable    and suitable
distances    from the outer edge of suburban and urban development,'       were
appropriate     during the ~nltlal stages of the hsghway beautlflcatlon        program,
but are under study for possible modlflcatlon        at the present time.

There are instances where It 1s desirable        to provide a rest area when
approaching   an urban area, usually for rest and orientation,           prior to
enterzng the city.      In some cases, a vlsltor     informataon    center 1s made a
part of the rest area development.        Here, brochures,      maps, and other
material,   and sometrmes trained    personnel,    may help a traveler.       With the
complexity   of some urban highway systems and the confusson of several
systems converging     on a large city, a traveler      needs and appreciates       the
chance to rest, read his map,     and  decide   upon  hss  actions   before   entering
the busy city traffic.

In other sltuatsons,     the appropriate   dessrable   sate or the avallabillty       of
a potable water or other utilltles       supply may dictate   the location      of the
rest area near or In an urban area.        Further,  In some States, FHWAhas
concurred in a program of roadside parks whsch generally          are small areas
along primary or secondary routes.        Some States develop these roadside parks
sn small towns.      This practice   1s considered to be acceptable     and consrstent
with the legaslatlve     Intent of the highway beautlflcatlon      program.

SAFETY REST AREAS CONSTRUCTEDNEAR PUBLIC OR COMMERCIALFACILITIES
MADE AVAILABLF BY OTHER THAN THE STATE HIGHWAY DEPARTMEXC

The report lmplles that whenever there are developments      along a highway or
at an Interchange,    such as public parks, gasoline statrons,    restaurants,
motels, and so forth,    safety rest areas are to be located elsewhere.        The



                                             42
                                                                   APPENDIX I

FHWA policy which encouraged this positson,   although suitable In 1966 when
Interstate  rest areas were few and far between, 1s under consideration  for
change.

We belleve   that It 1s nexther antended proper nor safe to require            a
highway traveler     to leave the Interstate,     for example, and fznd a roads&e
bussness to provide him with comfort facsllties.           It is not fa1.r to the
operator   of the business.      Seldom does a driver's    or a family's    need for a
 comfort stop coLn.clde with a vehscle's       need for fuel.   An out-of-the-way
corner of a gasoline      station or the parking area of a motel 1s not a proper
or desirable    place for a driver     to park and stay for rest, relaxatson,       or
p~cmcking.      Many businesses would not have the facilltles         for parksng and
comfort to aCCODXnOdate      more than Just a few Of the great mass of Interstate
users at any given tsme. Public park areas may have facslltses              adequate for
a sizable number of highway travelers,         but may not perrmt trucks or tractor-
trailers   to enter the area,       A number of publsc parks charge a fee to enter
the area.

FLnally,   1.f safety rest areas were not allowed where comfort and convenience
facllrtles    were to be found near cltles       or at service facllltles      on cross-
roads wath Interchange      connectzons,   many routes in the Nation never would be
el1glble   for a rest area, partscularly       on the Interstate     System. In the
East partacularly,    snterchanges     are located at farrly     frequent   sntervals,
even In rural areas, and there are business establishments              at practically
every znterchange

SAFETY REST AREAS CONSTRUCTEDAT LOCATIONS WHICH ENCOURAGE
LONG-TERM STOPPING FOR RECREATIONAL PURPOSES

The GAO report points out that rest areas have been constructed      at locations
whxch encourage long-term   stopping for recreational   purposes.   The report
quotes PPM 21-17, which states,     "Safety rest areas are not provaded for
overnsght  campsng or active recreation     , , . .'

Agarn, the report cites an FHWA guide which has been In the process of
change.      Section 319(b) of Title 23, USC, enacted as part of the mghway
Beautsficatlon      Act of 1965, provLdes that highway beautiflcatlon        funds may
be used for the ". . . acqulsitlon           and development  of publicly  owned and
controlled      rest and recreation     areas . . . ." This provision     of the law
relatrng     to recreation   is reflected     in a Circular  Memorandum forwarded   to
the field      and the States on February 1, 1968. This said in part

      "At some locations    the rest area rmght include adJacent lands
       for recreational    purposes.   In this manner the facIlltles . . .
       would serve both the motors& that would make a short stop and
       also those that wished to stop for several hours and enJoy some
       active recreatLon."

Thss policy,   whsch has been followed  for the past several years,         1s con-
slstent with   the provaslons of Federal law as set out in Section          319(b).



                                         43
APPENDIX      I

In summary, we see no need for a speclflc            reevaluatson     of the States'
master plans.        Each safety rest area 3s considered 3n the light of
ats consonance with the State's overall            needs when s-t 1s subrmtted
for proJect approval.          Its prlorlty   1s evaluated     at that tame. Like-
wise, FHWA's regular       review procedures,      which are well known to GAO,
appear adequate to assure compliance with established                polscles.   We
do agree with GAO that, wherevex possible,             consastent wath other con-
strasnts     mentsoned above, prlorsty       should be given to rest area
construction      along stretches     of highway presently      wsthout adequate
stopping facllltles,       and we wiLl contmnue to stress this sn our
admsnlstratlon       of the program

NJXEDTO PROVIDE GUIDELINES FOR CONSTRUCTING SAFEZY REST AREA3

The report suggests that there 3s a '. . . need for increased atinls-
tratlve      guidance and control by Fi3WAto provsde more assurance that
the llmlted       amount of funds avaslable     sn this program are used more
 efflcaently      and that the facslltles     constructed      serve the needs of
the highway traveler       ln a unlfolm and consistent          manner", that this
need J-S brought on '. .         because FHWA has not provsded the States
with adequate guuldellnes as to acceptable            sizes and costs for safety
rest area development and has not exercised sufflclent                 control over
the States' plans for constructing          these facllltles."

The GAO report       recommends that       FHWA

      1.   Develop     more specsfrc       1lmlt.s on the type, amount, and cost
           of rest     area faczlltles       and the amount of land to be acquired.

      2.   Develop appropriate           controls  at the natsonal   level   to assure
           that the guldellnes           are being followed.

Durrng the short time that the Interstate               safety rest area program has
been In progress,       much knowledge has been gained by FHWA and the States
regarding      hsgkway traffic    and traffic      volumes, travelers'      needs and
Incllnatlons,       and the effect these have on safety rest area sizes and costs
FHWA has been aware of the variations              Sn range of sizes and costs
during this early "growing"          period.     Guidelines      first promulgated  by
FHWA and the States, antlclpating             a growing and changing program, were
written     with considerable     flexlbsllty      and latrtude.

On any gsven route within a State or between States, safety rest areas,
of necessity,      will. vary in acreage.      For instance,    land needed for parking
areas may vary with the design year and forecast              ADT, the class of
vehicle     (truck and passenger car), the type of traffic            (bussness and
recreational),       a State's prerogative     to build a full facility        inrtially  or
by stages, and the avallabllity          of land because of terrain        (mountainous,
rollrng,     and flat).     Land needed and suitable      for bulldings     and utilltres




                                              44
                                                                        APPENDIX I

may vary because of topography       and geology (for sltlng,     potable water
supply and sewage disposal).       Land  In  excess of actual    physical  needs
may be acquired because of the benefits,        economcally     and from tnaln-
tenance and operations    vlewpomnts,    of having full parcels rather than
several remnants,     Land may be acquired to serve as a screen or
lnsulataon   for safety rest areas or to preserve,       protect   or &splay
some outstanding    scenic resource.

A number of safety rest areas built        early sn the program,ln       accordance
wsth FHWA and AASHO guldellnes       promulgated   at that time, have proven
to be inadequate    and undersized    In land and facllltles.       It 1s costly
to redevelop   them to meet the new levels       of traffsc   and use. Rest
areas recently    or currently   being built are more closely meeting exist-
lng and prOJeCted    needs and requirements.       Guldellnes   currently     ln use
were written   to permit greater flexibslity,       latitude   and JUdgment by
FRWA and the States.

Generally, within any given State, safety rest area bulldlngs      may vary
In size because of design year, ADT and other factors,     but wsll be
compatible  Ln architectural style, materzals, and quality

Since 1966, there have been FRWA guidelines     relative   to the maximum
1lmLtatlons  of comfort statson facilitLes.     Lobby size has been based
on the number of sanitary   facllltres   within the bullding      In keepsng
with the guldellnes,   some States prefer a mlnlmum approach to building
design and do not include a lobby, while others provide       a lobby.

A number of States are provldlng            welcome centers at State entrances.
Some are being built on the primary approaches to large metropolitan
areas or areas having slgniflcant            hlstorlc,   scenic, or other values.
These welcome centers may be separate developments               or may be combined
with comfort stations          in safety rest areas.      A number of them have
large lobbies and trained          personnel    to dispense informatzon.    Lsats
of Federal-aid      participation       in welcome centers are deterrmned by
existing   guidelines       and generally    go only to the 1amLts pernntted      for
a normal safety rest area.            The additional    costs are financed by funds
from other sources.

The Federal-aid        program is a partnership      between the Federal and State
Governments.        The State has the right of initiative          on a pr0Jec-t.  For
this reason, we belleve         that the States have the right,        within reason,
to determsne the character          and quality    of the bulldings    they propose to
construct.        Some States express their hLstorlca1         herztage by way of the
visual      impact of their bulldings,      others provsde the simplest of comfort
facllitles.        We have encouraged upgrading where we have felt that a
State's      design was too frugal      and austere,    and we have asked for
restrasnt      where we have felt that a design was too elaborate            and costly,
but, within a reasonably wide range, we have respected the State's                 right
of initiative          We shall continue to inform and advise the States of
up-to-date       construction   techniques    and materials   which would have an
effect      on the design and cost Of structures.

                                            45
APPENDIX I

In summary, we will continue surveillance                  of the design of these
facllltles,       1ncludLng locatson and land           acqulsltlon,     In order to be
certain     that Federal funds are properly             and wisely spent.       LlkewLse,
In revlslng      PPM 21-17, we wrll consader            the advxsablllty     of specsfxc
guidelines      along the lines recommended            by GAO.

NEED TO CONTROL COSTS ON ITESIS OF EQUIPMENT PROVIDED IN SA,FEX!YREST AREAS

The report states that '. . . costs for certaan bassc stems of equipment
generally    found In safety rest areas--plcnXc       tables,   refuse containers
and bulletin      boards--vary    widely from State to State."       It adrmts that
varlatlons     are to be expected ln a program that spans the continent,
but that I).          the extent of the varlatlons,    with regard to the quality
and type of equipment, lndlcates         a need for FHWA to establish       upper
llrmts on the cost of these items. .             ' Further,   the report Judges
that some States Me .          provsde custom ieslgned equipment apparently
chosen more for Its aesthetsc value than Its functLona1             value."

The GAO report     recommends that      FHWA

      1,    Provxde the States with more speclflc   guldellnes                as to the
            tries and quality  of rest area equipment.

      2     Establish    cost llm1tatlons        for    items of equipment.

We are very much aware of varlatlons            In the cost of certain         equipment found
sn safety rest areas          These varlatlons,      across the country, are not
unexpected and not necessarily         unreasonable.         They are brought about, In
part, by such economic and marketang factors as supply and demand, labor
and materials,     transportatson,     and the controls         sometxmes placed by
Government and labor organlzatsons           on materials,       labor and products.
Because these factors vary so much and change so often with the local or
national    economy, we belleve     that placing any dollar            cost llmst on atems
of basic equipment would be arbstrary             and dlfflcult      to adrmnsster.     Lske-
wrse, purpose and design will vary between Items ostensibly                    having a
similar   function

We know of no single instance where basic equspment 1s not serving the
function     for which It was procured and provsded.                Form follows   function.
The shape, size, materrals             and appearance of such Items as plcnlc tables,
refuse containers,        bulletin       boards, and shelters     are basic factors      In a
fully    design-sntegrated         system of consistently      high quality,     considered
desirable      by most States.         A few States prefer to dessgn for each location.
Early rest areas could and did contaan mlnlmum gravel parking,                     pit toslets,
pump-handle water supplies,              oil drum trash cans and the simplest of picnic
tables and benches.         Today, the traveling         public demands better than these.
In our present society,            environmental    condltlons    are becoming lncreaslngly
important      and the States generally          wash to provide the very best for
 "State advertlslng        V Furthermore,        the great volume and hLgh lntenslty          of



                                            46
                                                                   APPENDIX I

use ln most rest areas requsres the provision of great capacity and
high-quality facllltles  lf they are to serve adequately over a
reasonable span of time.
In support of those States that are providing more custormzed rest area
equipment, a dxtinctron     should be recognxed between the cheap-dollar,
lowest first-cost,   hagh maintenance p~cnac table, trash can, bulletIn
board or other installatron    and those that cost more Lnitlally but are
much more resistant   to wear, defacement or other vandalism, or outrsght
theft, and are less costly to maxntaln.
The environment of a safety rest area differs     from that of most publxc
outdoor recreational    areas. Generally, a rest area is relatively         small,
compact and highly developed, serving many travelers       for a relatively
short span of time per person. Public parks generally are large and
are used less xttensively     for longer periods of time for a different
purpose. Park facllltles      and equxpment, If appropriate,   reflect the
character and purposes of the park. They would most lrkely be unsuited
zn character and quality for safety rest area purposes.
In summary, we ~111    continue to fUrnlsh information  and guidance to the
States on the design    and purchase of rest area equipment in order to be
certain that Federal    funds are properly spent. We do not believe it
proper to establish    specific cost lutvtatlons  for equipment.




                                        47
APPENDIX II

               OFFICIALS OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
              RESPONSIBLEFOR THE ADMINISTRATION OF
              ACTIVITIES DISCUSSEDIN THIS REPORT

                                           Tenure of office
                                           From
SECRETARYOF TRANSPORTATION
  (note a):
     John A. Volpe                      Jan.        1969   Present
   * Alan S. Boyd                       Jan.        1967   Jan. 1969

SECRETARYOF COMMERCE(note b):
   Alexander B. Trowbridge
      (acting)                          Jan.        1967   Mar.   1967
   John T. Connor                       Jan.        1965   Jan.   1967

FEDERALHIGHWAYADMINISTRATOR
  (note a):
    Francis C. Turner                Mar.           1969   Present
    Lowell K. Bridwell               Apr.           1967   Jan. 1969

DIRECTOROF PUBLIC ROADS(note c):
    Ralph R. Bartelsmeyer            &Y             1969   Present
    Francis C. Turner     I          Jan..          1967   Mar. 1969
    Rex M. Whitton                   Feb.           1961   Dec. 1966

HIGHWAYBEkTIFICATION      COORDINATOR
  (note d):                                    ‘)



    George F. McInturff   iacting)      June        1969   Aug.   1970
    Fred S. Farr                        Feb.        1967   %Y     1969

aPosition created by the Department of Transportation    Act
 (Pub. L. 89-670).
bAll functions,  powers, and duties of the Secretary 0s Com-
 merce under certain laws and provisions   of law related gen-
 erally to highways were transferred   to and vested in the
 Secretary of Transportation  by the Department of Transpor-
 tation Act.
.                                                   APPENDIX II


'Title     changed in April 1967 from Federal Highway Administra-
  tor, Department of Commerce; position abolished by reorga-
  nization    of FHWAeffective   August 6, 1970. Duties trans-
  ferred to four associate administrators.
dPosition abolished by reorganization        of FHWAeffective
  August 6, 1970; duties transferred       to the Scenic Enhance-
  ment Division,     Office of Environmental   Policy, FHWA.




‘U S GAO   Wash   , D C


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