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Combatting Congestion

It’s Not Idle Chatter

Congestion: Seeing Red

One of our favorite topics in this space is the nation’s infrastructure. Not just because we like roads and bridges (we do). Infrastructure is vital to our business, and that includes our customers, carriers, logistics specialists, and our very own members of Team NATCO, who need to negotiate that infrastructure to get to and from work every day.

With that, we were intrigued to read “Cost of Congestion to the Trucking Industry,” produced by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI).

Founded in 1954, ATRI engages in transportation research, focusing on “the trucking industry’s essential role in in a safe, efficient and viable transportation system.”

The report, recently updated, concludes a direct relationship to congestion and cost. The numbers are startling:

  • 2016’s delay on the national highway system: 1.2 billion hours.
  • From 2015 to 2016, the cost of delay increased more than $377 million to $74.5 billion.
  • 17.2% of the national highway segment miles represented nearly 87% of total congestion costs in 2016.
  • 2016’s lost productivity is equivalent to “425,533 commercial truck drivers sitting idle for an entire working year.”
  • Delays averaged $6,478 per truck.

Absent a comprehensive federal infrastructure package (yes, the wheels of government and transportation sometimes move very slowly), more states are passing measures to address their respective infrastructure boondoggles and gaps.

Still, by any measure, the challenges are daunting. As we detailed last year, and as ARTBA reported, there are 174 million daily crossings on nearly 54,300 structurally deficient U.S. bridges. That’s just talking about bridges.

Road congestion affects all of us—not just a time-sensitive off-loading of deliveries. Picture the parent, stuck in traffic, forced to pay overtime for childcare that’s reached into after-hours. Imagine the effects of a compromised road—weak bridge, highway construction in progress, etc.—that’s severely damaged and now impassable after a major storm.

Time and attention to the need for smart infrastructure strategy are of the essence.