While traffic is a large cause of frustration and a time waster for many drivers, road congestion is especially detrimental to truck drivers. In a recent report by the Department of Transportation’s National Freight Strategic Plan, the DOT announced that road traffic congestion costs the trucking industry nearly $27 billion annually due to lost time and excess fuel consumption. Congested roads cause shipping delays, which, in turn, raise product prices.
The plan calls for exploring other, more efficient transit more efficient transit options, as well as encourages the use of existing resources (such as improving and modernizing intermodal and rail facilities) to help the highway systems move easier, as 13,500 miles of the current system are consistently slowed down below posted speed limits.
Recognizing that freight projects can be costly, U.S. DOT hopes to better invest in the freight system, including the investment in education, recruitment and training of the freight workforce. DOT will continue to develop newer freight data resources—in addition to the current data achieved through advanced GPS-based truck location information—to help make more informed decisions that could affect the freight system.
One city that exemplifies the growing highway congestion is Chicago. Five of the 20 most congested stretches of road in the United States are in the Chicago area. In 2014, drivers endured an average of 61 extra hours on the road due to delays caused by gridlock, construction and collisions. The cost of truck congestion in Chicago last year reached $1.5 billion, accounting for five percent of the national cost.
Shippers may have a difficult time avoiding Chicago and other metropolitan road congestion altogether, but Hanson Logistics has an innovative solution. By locating the Hanson Logistics Chicago Consolidation Center east of Chicago in Hobart, Indiana, truck drivers are not restricted by the city’s congestion that can increase travel time, sometimes by 60 percent. This creates more reliable and efficient routes and more rate certainty, resulting in significant long-term savings. Though the crippling congestion issue may not disappear overnight, Hanson Logistics’ best-in-class distribution program is prepared to step up to the challenge.