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Traffic congestion on U.S. highways added $94.6 billion in costs to the trucking industry in 2021 according to the latest Cost of Congestion study published by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI).  This is the highest level yet recorded through this ongoing research initiative.  ATRI utilized a variety of data sources including its unique truck GPS database to calculate trucking delay impacts from 2017 through 2021 on major U.S. roadways.  While year-over-year congestion costs decreased in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they rose sharply in 2021 with a total of 1.27 billion hours of lost productivity.  This increase in costs reflects the dramatic post-COVID economic recovery, with high GDP growth and freight demand borne from record levels of consumer spending.  This level of delay equates to more than 460,000 commercial truck drivers sitting idle for one work year, and the 2021 figure represents a 27 percent increase from the report’s baseline year of 2016 – an increase that is twice the rate of inflation. 

In addition to the national findings, ATRI’s analysis also documented state and metropolitan delays and related cost impacts.  The top 10 states each experienced costs of more than $3 billion, led by California ($9.00B), Texas ($7.26B) and Florida ($7.16B). Combined, these 10 states ultimately account for more than half (53%) of trucking’s congestion costs nationwide.  Additionally, the New York City metropolitan area ranked highest for cities, with costs approaching $5.5 billion annually.  ATRI’s analysis also found that the trucking industry wasted over 6.7 billion gallons of diesel fuel in 2021 due to congestion, resulting in more than $22.3 billion in additional fuel costs. A copy of this report is available on ATRI’s website here.

-American Transportation Research Institute(ATRI)