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[dropcap style=”plain”]I[/dropcap]f you’re asking what is Map-21, and work in freight, you are not alone. As MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act) comes closer to the requirements of the act going into effect this October 1, there are many facets to the Act which will affect those in the freight and transportation industries. Indirectly, this will greatly affect those who ship freight, such as manufacturers and distribution companies. If you run a supply chain, it’s important you also know about MAP-21, as it could impact the delivery of your products to customers or you receiving supplies from your vendors. Since this is such a complex Act, with many details, we will first do an overview of MAP-21, followed by a deeper dive into different aspects in subsequent posts. This first post should answer your question, “What is MAP-21?” and “How does it affect the Freight industry?”

What is Map-21?

On July 6, 2012, President Obama signed into law P.L. 112-141, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). MAP-21 provides needed funds and represents a milestone for the U.S. economy:

  • The first multi-year transportation authorization enacted since 2005
  • Funds surface transportation programs at over $105 billion for fiscal years (FY) 2013 and 2014
  • Transforms the framework for investments to guide the growth and development of the country’s vital transportation infrastructure.


MAP-21 was enacted on October 1, 2012 and its requirements will go into effect on October 1, 2013.  MAP-21 directs the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to begin 29 new rule-makings within a 27-month period, which does not include current rule-makings underway. Knowing what is Map-21 will surely allow you to have no hiccups in your business around freight.

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Highway Administration states 6 benefits of investment in the US Transportation ecosystem:

  • Strengthening of America’s Highways through the National Highway Performance Program.
  • Establishes a performance-based program providing a means for more efficient investment of Federal transportation funds.
  • Creates jobs and supports economic growth by authorizing a $82 billion for road, bridge, bicycling, and walking improvements as well as including a number of provisions designed to improve freight movement.
  • Supports the DOT aggressive safety agenda supporting the Highway Safety Improvement Program by doubling funding for infrastructure safety, including a fight against distracted driving and the push to improve transit and motor carrier safety.
  • Streamlines Federal highway transportation programs by simplifying a number of complex programs into a few new core programs
  • Accelerates project delivery and promotes innovation with changes aimed at ensuring the timely delivery of transportation projects.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has supported the bill stating, “This is a good, bipartisan bill that will create jobs, strengthen our transportation system and grow our economy. It builds on our aggressive safety efforts, including our fight against distracted driving and our push to improve transit and motor carrier safety. The bill also provides states and communities with two years of steady funding to build the roads, bridges and transit systems they need. We look forward to working with Congress, states and local communities to put this bill to work quickly and effectively.”

From reviewing what is MAP-21, it appears that a lot of the focus is not only improving America’s infrastructure but also ensuring it’s done effectively and efficiently.

The Effect on Freight Brokers and Freight Forwarders

Map-21 includes many important provisions intended to help the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)  in its mission to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks and buses. The FMCSA does have its work cut out for them to educate all on what is Map-21. Many of the provisions in MAP-21 track the FMCSA’s strategic framework to improve commercial motor vehicle safety by supporting three core principles:

  • Raise the bar to enter the industry and operate on our roads;
  • Hold motor carrier and drivers to the highest safety standards to continue operations; and
  • Remove the highest risk drivers, vehicles, and carriers from our roads and prevent them from operating.

map-21-transportationSo, in a nutshell, what does this mean to those in the transportation industry? These are 8 impacts on your business and the industry as a whole:

  1. Requires disclosure of family ownership of multiple transportation companies: Carriers, brokers and freight forwarders must disclose any familial relationships with owners of other transportation companies.
  2. Includes a ban on “reincarnated” carriers. DOT can revoke registration or authority of a “reincarnated” carrier or levy a fine. This also applies to failure to disclose important facts.
  3. Requires event-on-board-recorders (EOBRs) on all interstate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) within 2 years: The Department of Transportation (DOT) will issue rules within a year, so that by 2014, CMVs will install an “electronic logging device” to “improve compliance” with hours of service (HOS).
  4. Establishes a national driver registry: There will be a national registry of drivers with CDLs, including driving history and drug and alcohol test results.
  5. Imposes minimum driver training standards: Within one year, the DOT will establish national driver training standards for a commercial driver’s license.
  6. Creates a Unified Registration System (URS): All motor carriers, brokers and freight forwarders must register, and carriers and brokers must register with separate authority for each function.
  7. Increases the broker bond to $75,000: Brokers are required to post a bond or other financial security of at least $75,000, starting October 1, 2013. The original version had a $100,000 minimum.
  8. Imposes stricter regulation of bond and trust companies: More transparency and fairness are required in the payment of claims by bond and trust companies.

What are your general thoughts on Map-21? Do you feel more confident when you know what is Map-21, or does it simply make you feel like this is more policy to make the industry have more headache? Let us know in the comments below!