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A traffic jam on Interstate 35 in Austin. ATRI's report found Texas the top state for congestion costs.

Traffic adds $74.5 billion to trucking's annual price tag

Traffic added an estimated $74.5 billion in operational costs across the trucking industry in 2016, according to an updated report from the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI). 

The group said that figure was an increase of 0.5%, or $377 million, from one year earlier. Congestion also cost the industry nearly 1.2 billion hours of lost productivity, the equivalent of 425,533 truck drivers sitting idle for one working year.

“This delay generated $6,478 in congestion costs per truck, although this cost can vary significantly depending on the number of miles a truck traveled and the primary areas of operation,” ATRI said. 

In a statement, Benjamin McLean, CEO of Ruan Transportation Management Systems, discussed the importance of acting to tackle the congestion problem. 

"In the face of growing and pervasive congestion, not only does the trucking industry lose billions annually but ultimately the consumer pays the price through higher prices on the shelf,” he said. "Doing nothing to address the state of our nation's infrastructure will create a significant impediment to the growth of our economy.” 

ATRI noted there were several major contributors to increased congestion during 2016, including a jump in traffic incidents, growing economic activity, and several disruptive weather events.

Traffic congestion was most severe in urban areas, with more than 91% of total congestion costs generated from metropolitan areas.

The top 10 states experienced costs of more than $2.4 billion each, led by Texas and Florida with over $5.5 billion each. The top 10 states combined account for 51.8% of the congestion costs nationwide.  

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