ATRI report shows congestion cost the USA’s trucking industry US$63.4bn in 2015

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According to a new study released by the USA trucking industry’s not-for-profit research organization, American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), traffic congestion on the country’s National Highway System (NHS) added over US$63.4bn in operational costs to the road haulage industry in 2015.

Using a variety of data sources, including its own unique truck GPS database, ATRI calculated delay on the NHS totaling more than 996 million hours of lost productivity, which equates to 362,243 commercial truck drivers sitting idle for a working year. The organization’s analysis also documented the states, metropolitan areas, and counties that were most impacted by these delays and subsequent cost increases. The top 10 states experienced costs of over US$2bn each, with Florida and Texas leading with over US$5bn each.

As expected, traffic congestion tended to be most severe in urban areas, with 88% of the congestion costs concentrated on only 17% of the network mileage, and 91% of the total congestion cost occurring in metropolitan areas. This concentration of congestion has been well-documented in ongoing work by ATRI that annually identifies the worst truck bottlenecks in the USA. The analysis also demonstrates the impact of congestion costs on a per-truck basis, with an average increased cost of US$22,676 for trucks that travel 100,000 miles annually.

As well as its own Freight Performance Measures (FPM) truck GPS database, the ATRI analysis also used commercial truck travel times from the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) National Performance Management Research Data Set, and truck volumes from the FHWA’s Freight Analysis Framework v4 (FAF 4).

As a direct result of this analysis, ATRI is able to provide a unique and strategic resource on congestion information to Departments of Transportation (DOTs) and transport agency planners at every jurisdiction level. Using the output of this analysis, ATRI’s congestion cost database has been updated with 2015 information, which includes hours of delay and cost by major jurisdiction type and road level, and presents annual and monthly data for 2014 and 2015, enabling the evaluation of location-specific trend analysis.

“Congestion-related costs continue to rise and impact our supply chains. A five-minute delay for each UPS vehicle, every day, costs the company US$105m annually in additional operating costs, noted Rich McArdle, president of UPS Freight. “ATRI’s report quantifies this drain on the economy, which must be addressed through targeted infrastructure investments.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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