Nationwide, trucking industry sees $9 billion in congestion costs for 2013
Congestion on the nation’s interstate highways added over $9.2 billion in operational costs to the trucking industry in 2013, according to a report by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) released on April 30.
ATRI used motor carrier financial data along with billions of anonymous truck GPS data points to calculate congestion delays and costs on each mile of interstate roadway. Delays totaled over 141 million hours of lost productivity, which equated to over 51,000 truck drivers sitting idle for a working year.
Noting that “congestion and related costs are typically concentrated in the states with the highest populations,” ATRI’s analysis reveals that California had the highest costs in 2013 (over $1.7 billion), followed by Texas (over $1 billion), and New York (nearly $846 million). Massachusetts was ninth, with $303 million in costs. Despite Connecticut having only the 29th-largest population of the 50 states (3,596,080) in 2013, the Nutmeg State, was number 17 in total congestion costs at $197 million, a 2.2% increase over 2012.
When congestion costs are measured on a per-mile basis, which, according to ATRI, “illustrates the intensity of congestion relative to the size of the transportation network,” Connecticut ranked fourth in the nation, with $272,729 in costs per interstate highway mile.
Most Jammed-Up Metro Areas
The Los Angeles metropolitan area saw the highest cost at nearly $1.1 billion, with New York City close behind at $984 million. Third highest was Chicago at $467 million, followed by Dallas-Ft. Worth ($406 million), and Washington, D.C. ($379 million).
The cost-per-mile data tell a slightly different story. Although Los Angeles and New York still led the way at $1.4 million and $801,121 respectively, the third spot was taken by the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk metro area, with $717,041 in congestion costs per mile—higher than San Francisco-Oakland (fourth at $679,614, and Washington, D.C. (fifth at $627,246).
Congestion tended to be most severe in urban areas, with 89% of the congestion costs concentrated on only 12% of the interstate mileage. This concentration of congestion has been well-documented in previous work by ATRI, which identified the worst truck bottlenecks in the U.S. In 2013, Connecticut accounted for six of the worst 100 bottlenecks in the country:
- 18th most congested—Hartford (I-84 at I-91)
- 40—New Haven (I-95 at I-91)
- 65—Stamford (I-95)
- 66—Norwalk (I-95)
- 80—Bridgeport (I-95 at Rt. 8)
- 92—Waterbury (I-84 at Rt. 8)
ATRI’s findings corroborate those of CBIA’s 2013 Connecticut Transportation Survey, which received responses from 651 business leaders from across the state. The survey identified road congestion as the single most pressing transportation concern for businesses.
Transportation infrastructure is often a factor in independent rankings of states’ business climates and, as the above data suggests, Connecticut has not fared well. For example, the state ranked 49th in that category in CNBC’s Top States for Business 2013 index.
CBIA and dozens of other business groups and professional organizations aim to move Connecticut into the top 20 states in national business climate rankings by 2017 through the CT20×17 campaign. The campaign is built on a framework of commonsense solutions in key public policy areas, including transportation. Click here to learn how you and your employees can play a role. ■