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How much time and money do we lose to traffic?

by Charlotte Freed | Nov 02, 2018

Traffic stretches for miles as truck drivers make deliveries
The minutes stretch on and it feels like you’ve been looking at the same five cars ahead of you for the past hundred years. You look at the clock: it’s only been three minutes since you last looked. Traffic just seems to be getting worse and according to the American Transportation Research Institute, it’s not expected to get better.

The driver shortage, services like UberPool, new regulations, and the rise of e-commerce are all worsening bottlenecks. American Trucking Association’s chief economist, Bob Costello, reports that online sales have increased 2,100 percent since 2000. From the looks of things, that number will only increase, particularly in large metropolitan areas where traffic is already an issue.

Highways aren’t the only roads getting choked. The average length of haul has been reduced for dry van truckloads to under 500 miles for the first time ever, meaning more congestion in shorter-haul arenas: parking facilities and ports for example. Truckers have already voiced their frustration over the lack of parking, costing them time and ultimately money. Because of congestion, motorists shoulder a $960 penalty, $600 of that allocated to higher maintenance and operational costs. Per truck, traffic costs $6,478 yearly.

Higher maintenance costs are largely due to poor road conditions – and according to the Federal Highway Administration, at least 34 percent of the nation’s roadways have been estimated to be in poor or mediocre condition. Almost one-third of bridges are structurally lacking. In addition to the rising financial burden comes the delay of 1.2 billion collective hours lost: the equivalent of 425,533 truck drivers sitting idle for a whole year.

While much has to be done to help improve the situation, fleet owners and managers can help optimize routes to avoid as much congestion as possible and the trucking industry should, as a whole, appeal to decision-makers and legislators to pursue addressing the nation’s deteriorating infrastructure.

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