Report identifies freight bottlenecks on U.S. highways

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Transport Workforce

The American Transportation Research Institute and the Federal Highway Administration recently released the findings of their 2009 Bottleneck Analysis of 100 Freight Significant Highway Locations. The research, which assesses the level of truck-oriented congestion at 100 locations on the national highway system, uses ATRI-developed analysis methods, customized software tools and terabytes of data from trucking operations to produce a congestion severity ranking for each location. This research is one of the expanded capabilities of the Freight Performance Measures (FPM) initiative, which is sponsored by FHWA’s Office of Freight Management and Operations and operated by ATRI.

The research utilizes GPS technology and truck-specific information, as well as sophisticated software applications, to assess the level at which truck-based freight was affected by traffic congestion throughout 2009. While the general impact of congestion on freight is most significant during AM and PM peak travel times at a majority of the locations, there are several areas included in the study that experience slower than free-flow speeds (which is set at 55 mph for this research) 24 hours per day. There are also locations that, when averaged annually, have little or no congestion.

“The continued monitoring of freight-significant highways by ATRI and FHWA provides both the private and public sectors with the ability to identify and address deficiencies in the freight system,” says Chad England, president of C.R. England North America. “As this research moves forward, the myriad system performance measures that FPM generates will allow decisionmakers to prioritize highway investment in a way that targets critical needs. Additionally, the private sector can use this research to identify opportunities for routing through congested areas.”

For more details from the report, go to