May 1, 2014 3:00 PM, EDT
Highway Congestion Cost Trucking $9.2 Billion Last Year, ATRI Says
Tim Boyle/Bloomberg News

Congestion on interstate highways cost the trucking industry more than $9.2 billion in operational costs last year, according to the American Transportation Research Institute.

Using financial data from carriers and billions of anonymous truck GPS data points, ATRI said it calculated 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,” it said.

The research found that California was the state leader in congestion costs, with $1.7 billion, followed by Texas with $1 billion.

Among metropolitan areas, Los Angeles was first with costs at about $1.1 billion. New York City was second at $984 million.

“Congestion tended to be most severe in urban areas, with 89% of the congestion costs concentrated on only 12% of the Interstate mileage,” ATRI said.

In addition to the overall costs of congestion to trucking, ATRI also calculated the impact on a per-truck basis.

“A truck driven for 12,000 miles in 2013 saw an average congestion cost of $408, while a truck driven for 150,000 miles had an average cost of $5,094,” it said.

“Congestion is an unfortunate byproduct of our just-in-time economy, and it’s a significant roadblock to our country’s productivity as well as its global competitiveness,” UPS Freight President Jack Holmes said. “ATRI’s analysis quantifies congestion in a way that clearly shows the urgent need for highway investment.”