Bottlenecks studied at 250 freight-significant highway locations

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The American Transportation Research Institute and the Federal Highway Administration on Wednesday, Sept. 22, released the findings of their annual report on congestion at freight-significant highway locations. The research, which assesses the level of truck-oriented congestion at 250 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.

Chicago’s freeway intersection of I-290 at I-90/I-94 was the most congested location for trucks, according to the ongoing research, which is part of the Freight Performance Measures initiative and is sponsored by FHWA’s Office of Freight Management and Operations and operated by ATRI.

“Strengthening the efficiency of supply chains is becoming a critical component of U.S. economic growth,” says Kevin Knight, chairman and chief executive officer of Phoenix-based Knight Transportation. “Challenge number one is identifying the freight bottlenecks. Fortunately, ATRI’s report goes far in using real-world data to tell us where the impediments lie.”

The “FPM” congestion monitoring effort combines anonymous truck GPS location information with sophisticated software applications and analysis techniques to assess the levels at which truck-based freight was affected by traffic congestion in 2010. The result is a documentation of system chokepoints, especially during peak travel times in urban locations.

“The impact of traffic congestion on truck travel is well known, but rarely in a fashion where we can pinpoint projects for resource allocation and reconstruction,” says Keith Bucklew, manager of multimodal planning for the Indiana Department of Transportation. “The FPM program continues to provide real value to public sector transportation managers.”

For access to the full report, including detailed information on each of the 250 monitored locations, go to