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Gridlock Cost Fleets $9.2 Billion Last Year

Tuesday, May 20, 2014  
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Congestion on the nation’s interstate highways last year cost the transportation industry more than $9.2 billion in operational costs, according to a new study by the American Transportation Research Institute.

Using financial data from carriers and billions of anonymous truck GPS data points, ATRI said in April that it calculated congestion delays and costs on each mile of interstate roadway.

“Delays totaled over 141 million hours of lost productivity, which equated to over 51,000 truck drivers sitting idle for a working year,” ATRI said.

The research found that California led all states in congestion costs with more than $1.7 billion, followed by Texas with more than $1 billion.

Among metropolitan areas, Los Angeles was first in cost at nearly $1.1 billion, and New York City was second at $984 million, ATRI said.

“Congestion tended to be most severe in urban areas, with 89% of the congestion costs concentrated on only 12% of the interstate mileage.”


In previous studies to pinpoint the worst truck traffic, ATRI also found that these backups were largely in the Los Angeles and Chicago metro areas.

In addition to the costs of congestion to trucking, ATRI also calculated the effects per truck.

“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,” ATRI said.

“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. “ATRI’s analysis quantifies congestion in a way that clearly shows the urgent need for highway investment.”