November 19, 2018
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A study released by the American Transportation Research Institute on Oct. 18 said that traffic congestion on the U.S. national highway system or NHS added nearly $74.5 billion in operational costs to the trucking industry in 2016, which is a 0.5 percent increase over the costs of traffic congestion calculated for truckers in 2015.

[Above photo by VDOT.]

Yet the group said those congestion costs – based on wasted fuel and lost productivity due to shipment delays – are concentrated on a relatively small proportion of the NHS, with 86.7 percent of trucking’s total nationwide congestion costs occurring on just 17.2 percent of NHS segment miles.

Photo by VDOT

Those NHS segments – characterized as having “above-average” trucking congestion costs in excess of $155,000 per mile during 2016 – are predominantly located in densely populated urban areas, ATRI noted, with more than 91 percent of the total congestion costs generated in metropolitan areas.

ATRI’s analysis also documented the states, metropolitan areas, and counties that were most impacted by these delays and subsequent cost increases, with the top 10 states on its list experiencing costs on average of more than $2.4 billion each, with truckers in Texas and Florida each experiencing over $5.5 billion in extra operational costs.

In fact, the top 10 states combined account for 51.8 percent of the congestion costs nationwide, ATRI added

“Perhaps no other issue has as great an impact on this nation’s supply chain as traffic congestion. In the face of growing and pervasive congestion, not only does the trucking industry lose billions annually but ultimately the consumer pays the price through higher prices on the shelf,” noted Benjamin McLean, chief executive officer of Ruan Transportation Management Systems and a member of ATRI’s board of directors, in a statement. “Doing nothing to address the state of our nation’s infrastructure will create a significant impediment to the growth of our economy.”

editor@aashto.org

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