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Study Says Highway Congestion Costs Trucking Companies Billions


According to a newly released study by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), highway congestion cost the trucking industry $9.2 billion in additional operating costs in 2013.

ATRI analyzed data from numerous motor carriers, including the motor carrier’s financial data and truck GPS data, to calculate congestion-related delays and costs per mile per truck.

In 2013, ARTI says traffic congestion delays totaled a staggering 141 million hours of lost productivity– or the equivalent of 51,000 truck drivers not working for a year.

“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.”

ATRI used the data to establish which states and cities have the highest areas of traffic congestion costs.  It’s probably no surprise to many of you that California came in the top slot. Traffic congestion in California cost trucking companies over $1.7 billion in costs. Texas came in a close second at $1.0 billion.

Los Angeles came in as the most costly city.  The LA metropolitan area cost the trucking industry $1.1 billion.  New York came in as the second most costly city at $984 million.

“Congestion tended to be most severe in urban areas, with 89 percent of the congestion costs concentrated on only 12 percent of the Interstate mileage. This concentration of congestion has been well-documented in previous work by ATRI which identified the worst truck bottlenecks in the U.S. Of the 100 worst bottlenecks in ATRI’s 2013 bottleneck analysis, 98 were identified as having ‘severe’ congestion in this cost of congestion analysis,” the ARTI study states.

The study was done to illustrate the impact traffic congestion costs on a per-truck basis, ARTI said.  “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.”

According to ATRI, the top 10 states by total cost of congestion (read: most traffic congestion) are:

1. California

2. Texas

3.New York

4. Illinois


6. Virginia

7. Maryland


9. Massachusetts

10. Florida

The following are the least costly states:

49. Maine

48. Nebraska

47. Vermont

46.New Hampshire


44. North Dakoa


42. South Dakota

41. Montana

40. Delaware


A copy of the study results is available from ATRI at www.atri-online.org.

[gview file=”http://atri-online.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/ATRI_2013_Trucking_Congestion_Costs.pdf” width=”700px”]

ATRI is the trucking industry’s 501(c)(3) not-for-profit research organization. It is engaged in critical research relating to freight transportation’s essential role in maintaining a safe, secure and efficient transportation system.  


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