For trucking companies, traffic can be costly.
According to a recently released study, a calculated 141 million hours of productivity were lost by the trucking industry nationwide in 2013, which is the equivalent to over 51,000 truck drivers idling in traffic every business day of the year. At risk are on-time deliveries, which if missed can stall production and cause wasted fuel.
These “congestion costs” vary state to state and were predictably highest in California at $1.7 billion; the city of Los Angeles alone contributed to over $1 billion of the total added operational costs. Following closely behind is Texas at $1 billion and New York at over $845 million, amounting to $9.2 billion nationwide. Congestion was highly concentrated in urban areas, which make up for just 12% of the nation’s interstate, yet accounted for 89% of the total cost.
The study, which was conducted by the trucking industry’s 501 (c)3 non-profit research organization, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), also calculated the increased operational costs per truck. An estimated average of $864 was lost for every truck based on an assumed $65.29 an hour for operational costs. There are roughly 10.7 million registered trucks across the nation.
Congestion has long since posed a threat to productivity and fuel efficiency for many businesses and commuters. The costs for trucking companies, up $131.4 million from 2012, are thought to have risen due to economic expansion and increased freight movement, as well as the rise in fuel costs, according to ATRI’s report. A traffic data firm, INRIX, noted that 2014’s numbers could be worse than last year's as evidenced by the surge in freeway congestion nationwide and a steady rise in economic growth.
INRIX president and CEO Brian Mistele told Overdrive Magazine, "Optimizing road networks through better technology and data analytics will be the only way to relieve congestion as the economy recovers in the near term."