[tz] US DoT report on time zone impacts and uniformity

Tim Parenti tim at timtimeonline.com
Fri Sep 23 02:21:17 UTC 2022

Time zones eking their way into popular media again…

CNN reports tonight that officials at the US Department of Transportation
are working on translating their official time zone boundaries (described
in regulatory texts) into the form of an official map, after — gasp! —
"investigators found no single map accurately showing the boundaries
nationwide", along with several inconsistencies on their own websites.


Of course, beneath the surface, this was just one finding from a 28-page
report published by the DoT's Office of Inspector General on Tuesday:

DOT Can Improve Processes for Evaluating the Impact of Time Zone Changes
and Promoting Uniform Time Observance, 2022-09-20

Among the other major findings of the report are that DoT is "responsible
for evaluating whether requests to change time zones serve the convenience
of commerce," but lacks "written guidance for how…officials should validate
the information provided by petitioners" when a time zone change is
proposed, making it difficult to address the potential impacts associated
with a change.  The report recommended "evaluat[ing] the relevance of the
convenience of commerce questions" developed to weigh such considerations,
and updating the questions, if necessary, to "reflect modern
commerce-related impacts of time zone changes".

And while DoT finds it "has no role in DST exemptions, …it is responsible
for fostering and promoting uniform time observance, including DST", but
again lacks "processes for tracking or monitoring localities" whose
observances deviate from those assigned.  The absence of an "official
repository of detailed maps" was found to be limiting the DoT's ability to
monitor "non-uniform time observance" as well as the public's ability to
identify it.  A note in an appendix further points out that a portion of
the official Central–Mountain time zone boundary through Stanley County,
South Dakota (near Pierre) refers to a railway river crossing… and that the
railway went out of business in 1995.

Tim Parenti
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