Congestion cost US trucking $9.2 billion last year

Congestion on North America's interstate highways added over $9.2 billion in operational costs to the trucking industry in 2013, according to research released by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI).

ATRI, a not-for-profit research institute, utilised motor carrier financial data along with billions of anonymous truck GPS data points to calculate congestion delays and costs on each mile of US interstate roadway. “Delay totaled over 141 million hours of lost productivity, which equated to over 51,000 truck drivers sitting idle for a working year,” the Institute said.

ATRI’s analysis also established the states, metropolitan areas, and counties with the highest congestion costs. California led the nation with over $1.7 billion in costs, followed by Texas with over $1.0 billion. The Los Angeles metropolitan area saw the highest cost at nearly $1.1 billion and New York City was close behind at $984 million.

Accordong to ATRI, congestion tended to be most severe in urban areas, with 89 per cent of the congestion costs concentrated on only 12 per cent of the interstate mileage. 

The analysis also demonstrates the average impact of congestion costs on a per-truck basis. For example, a truck driven for 12,000 miles in 2013 saw an average congestion cost of $408, while a truck driven for 150,000 miles had an average cost of $5,094.

“Congestion is an unfortunate byproduct of our just-in-time economy, and it’s a significant roadblock to our country’s productivity as well as its global competitiveness,” said Jack Holmes, President of UPS Freight, the heavy freight division of UPS. “ATRI’s analysis quantifies congestion in a way that clearly shows the urgent need for highway investment.”

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