Traffic added $9.2 billion to trucking industry costs in 2013

Updated Sep 5, 2014

Trucking lost $9.209 billion to traffic congestion in 2013, according to a recent report from the American Transportation Research Institute, who says the industry in aggregate was delayed 141 million hours in the year.

Most of that traffic obviously came in cities, ATRI notes, with 89 percent of the congestion happening in urban areas — which comprise just 12 percent of the country’s Interstate system.

ATRI’s annual report, the Cost of Congestion to the Trucking Industry,  says the delays were the equivalent of about 51,293 drivers sitting idle for an entire working year.

However, when averaging that figure across the 10.7 million trucks registered in the U.S., ATRI says the number comes to $864 lost per truck last year. The biggest driver of congestion costs, however, was miles driven, as those that driver 12,000 miles lost about $408 to congestion, while those that drove 150,000 miles lost about $5,000, ATRI’s report says.

2013’s cost of congestion grew $131.4 million from 2012, likely due to economic expansion and more freight movement, according to the report. However, 2013’s total is hampered some by the first quarter, which experienced about $1.7 billion in congestion costs, compared to the roughly $2.5 billion in each of the next three quarters.

To obtain these numbers, ATRI analyzed average speeds on each mile of the country’s Interstate system, then calcluated the travel time delay due to congestion on each segment. It then multiplied the number of trucks on each segment by the segment’s delay. It used an average operating cost of $65.29 an hour to produce a monetary figure.

Click here to request a copy of ATRI’s full report, which includes congestion breakdown by region, state, city and more.

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