Congestion on American highways add $9.2 billion in operational costs for the year

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ARLINGTON, Va. – Research released today by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) shows that congestion costs on US Interstate highways added more than $9.2 billion in operation costs to the trucking industry last year. 
California had the highest state congestion cost ranking in more than $1.7 billion. Next was Texas that came in at more than $1 billion in costs. 
To calculate and accumulate their data, ARTI used billions of anonymous truck GPS data points on each mile of Interstate highway. The delay totaled more than 140 million hours of lost productivity – the equivalent of more than 51,000 truckers sitting idle for one working year. 
“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,” said Jack Holmes, president of UPS Freight. “ATRI’s analysis quantifies congestion in a way that clearly shows the urgent need for highway investment.”
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  • The congestion is caused by all the cars.The answer is not more highways but more and better public transit . Have you taken a look at the European transit systems of late? They’re light years ahead of North America, big oil’s back yard.

  • The fact that there are congested roads does not clearly show that investment in highways is needed whatsoever. One could argue that it shows that investment in alternative and active transportation is needed. If more people walk, cycle, take transit or carpool, there would be less congestion on the roads. There are many roads in all of our communities that are not used effectively used now. If we use our current highway/roadway infrastructure more effectively, create more complete streets, than our infrastructure will last longer, congestion will decrease, citizens will be healthier, and our economy will be stronger and more resilient.

  • As noted above, congestion is caused by a number of factors besides insufficient infrastructure.

    Others not noted above are:

    More trucks on the road than ever before (why isn’t rail used more for long haul?)

    Government policy promoting congestion. Yes, you read that right. HOV lanes promote congestion as do toll highways. They do this by providing disincentives to using particular lanes/highways through minimum passenger or toll requirements. This is how government tries to encourage car pooling or alternative transportation.

    Recently, the leader of the Ontario NDP has referred to paying a toll for HOV lanes as making them “Lexus lanes” (presumably trying to portray the practice as favouring the rich). By that logic, the entire Hwy 407 is Lexus lanes!

  • One suggestion is to use Rail. Think for a moment please, most traffic congestion occurs in or near cities. How would using railways alleviate that, I have never seen a foodstore, etc with a railway line to its back door.

    More bigger better highways, again most traffic congestion is in or near cities and with the enormous cost of purchasing land, tearing down buildings, and the nimby’ism etc that puts most, not all, but most expansions out of question.

    That means using the current highway network more effectively in and around cities and doing things differently. More night deliveries, smaller trucks perhaps, better use of tolling. And yes perhaps restricting cars by tolls or other means to reduce congestion.