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March 26, 2020 12:45 PM, EDT

ATRI, OOIDA Partner on COVID-19 Impact Study

ParkingTrucks parked at a North Carolina Travel Centers of America. Parking is included in the survey. (Travel Centers of America)

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The American Transportation Research Institute and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association Foundation are partnering to conduct a study on COVID-19’s impact on trucking operations.

ATRI announced the effort March 25. The research will be based on a survey soliciting input from truck drivers and motor carrier staff who have encountered coronavirus effects, such as limited shipper access, altered distribution patterns and traffic issues.

The survey asks participants about their professional role, age, years in the industry and sector in which they operate. It also asks how the coronavirus has affected trip lengths, congestion, loading and unloading time at facilities, and truck parking availability, as well as their perspective on government responses to the pandemic.

According to the notice, any involved trucking operations groups are urged to respond. ATRI President Rebecca Brewster told Transport Topics the survey received more than 1,500 responses within the first day. She also said it has been encouraging to see many partners share the survey, including via social media.

“It’s tremendous,” Brewster said.

Tom Weakley, OOIDA Foundation director of operations, said, “This survey will help us confirm what we know anecdotally. The trucking industry is leading the charge in responding to food and medicine shortages, among other critical supplies. We need everyone’s input on this effort.”

It’s not certain how long the survey will remain available. Brewster said she anticipates it will be live for probably at least a week, although she said it won’t be available too long because people are interested in seeing its results.

“Our goal is to complete the data analysis as quickly as possible, as it can provide important guidance to public and private decision-makers,” ATRI Senior Vice President Dan Murray said. “The COVID-19 pandemic is a moving target, and we can’t afford to design policies and supply chains around guesswork.”

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