Mileage guide goes digital

After almost 65 years in print, the Official Transportation Mileage Guide – also known as the HHG Guide – will be available in electronic form this fall. In early November, the American Movers & Storage Association’s Household Goods Carriers’ Bureau Committee will release its 18th version of the guide since it began in 1938, says AMSA President Joseph Harrison.

The new HHG Guide, developed jointly with Rand McNally and with input and guidance from both carrier and shipper users, will contain the same accurate, non-arbitrary HHG shortest route mileage system as past versions, Harrison says.

The new Version 18 “essentially results in an updated infrastructure that the transportation community can rely upon,” Harrison says. “The more important process is that Rand McNally spends years updating its information database on new roads, new bridges, and also go to our users and ask what routes they use and what’s not suitable.”

As with past versions of the HHG Mileage Guide, Rand McNally will include version 18 in its IntelliRoute and MileMaker routing and mapping products, says Amy Krouse, director of marketing for Rand McNally’s Transportation Data Management division.

A continuing standard
Harrison acknowledges that there has always been some controversy over fleets using HHG shortest route mileages to pay drivers due to the fact that drivers transporting products between two points do not always use the defined route.

In the April 2002 issue of CCJ, columnist David Goodson argued, “using practical route miles is better than having carriers, shippers and drivers arguing with each over what miles to use.” The periodic complaints with HHG miles, however, are mostly from drivers, Harrison says.

Harrison argues that the problem with practical routing – especially from the shipper’s perspective – is that it is non-standard. Practical routes are figured on the shortest routes based on travel time – figuring in averages of congestion speeds and traffic conditions. “Someone simply arbitrarily selected routes deemed appropriate and added what they thought were reasonable, but still arbitrary, average rates of speeds and congestion variables,” Harrison says.

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Plus, some drivers choose not to use the HHG shortest routing for reasons known only to them, such as the location of truck stops, Harrison says. “Some of these arbitrary route choices probably make good sense periodically, while others do not. This is precisely why shippers continue to prefer HHG distances for ratemaking purposes.”

Harrison also points out that many people think that HHG routing is appropriate only for household goods carriers. Although it was once true that the miles were figured on routes appropriate for loads of 25,000 to 30,000 pounds, for about a decade the HHG Guide has been based on requirements typical of truckload carriers – a weight limit of 80,000 pounds, clearance of 13 feet, 6 inches and a lane width of at least 10 feet.