Traffic Congestion Cost Trucking Industry $50 Billion A Year

Traffic congestion is costing the trucking industry billions of dollars. (Photo:

Traffic congestion cost the trucking industry $50 billion a year and without proper infrastructure spending, the cost is expected to be worse.

No relief has been in sight for several years but many have high hopes that the industry will soon get the funds they need with the election of Donald J. Trump. President-Elect Trump vowed to fix our failing infrastructure but only time will tell.

As for how much infrastructure funding is needed, the estimated cost to fix America’s surface roads is staggering. The American Society Of Civil Engineers¬†estimates we’ll need $1.7 trillion in spending for surface transportation by 2020.

The American Transport Research Institute conducted a study on traffic congestion in 2014. During that year, traffic congestion on the U.S. National Highway System (NHS) added over $49.6 billion in operation cost to the trucking industry. This resulted in calculated delays totaling more than 728 million hours of lost productivity, which equates to 264,500 commercial truck drivers sitting idle for a working year.

ATRI Traffic Congestion Study

The analysis also demonstrates the impact of congestion costs on a per-truck basis, with an average increased cost of $26,625 for trucks that travel 150,000 miles annually.

ATRI also analyzed state and metropolitan areas in their study to better explain traffic congestion cost. In their study, they found that more than 12 states had congestion cost over $1 billion. Both Florida and Texas had the largest cost due to traffic congestion, just over $4 billion each.

Why is traffic congestion so bad? One answer is lack of funding. We simply don’t have the funds to fix America’s roads. Until we’re able to get infrastructure projects funded, we’ll continue to see traffic congestion cost rise.

Another reason we’re seeing more traffic on the road is due to cheaper fuel prices. Fuel has been stable for months and around half the cost it was during the spike a few years ago. Fuel and diesel prices are expected to stay low, so we can expect more traffic on the road due to it.

Believe it or not but the rise in online business is also being blamed for the rise in traffic congestion. We’re seeing online businesses being built at a very fast rate and many of these businesses offer one day shipping, two day shipping and so on. Some small ecommerce businesses deliver goods while others rely on delivery services.

Transportation cost are rising but it hasn’t slowed down consumers from buying.

How Do We Fund Our Infrastructure?

The big question on the docket, how are we going to find the funding to fix our infrastructure? Will it be the truck drivers and trucking companies that pay to pave America? Likely so unless the government can find funding elsewhere.

Fuel taxes will likely be the contributing factor and the trucking industry can expect it around the corner. After all, this is usually how the government finds funds. Yet, with vehicles and trucks getting more miles on fuel runs, it may not be enough money around to completely fund it.

Toll roads have also been proposed but big trucking groups like the ATA have not been supportive. Truck drivers would rather see fuel tax hikes than toll roads. Many feel toll roads only add to the traffic congestion and operation cost expenses anyway.

The bottom line, if our state governments has the funds, we’re going to see projects started. Hell, we’d get started in a few days. There’s a lot of different ways the trucking industry can fund our infrastructure, it’s time for us to get creative and put it to good use.

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Richard Hale is a published author that covers topics on the trucking industry and transportation department.