The Cost of Congestion: An Innovative Approach to Utilizing Waybill Data to Support Freight Transportation Planning and Analysis: Freight Demand Modeling and Data Improvement Implementation Support

Like a typical commuter building buffer time into daily travel to account for congestion and ensure on-time arrival, a similar buffer is often planned for goods shipped by truck over the highway. Unlike the individual commuting to an office, however, the freight carrier incurs labor, fuel, equipment and lost productivity costs when a shipment is stuck in traffic. That cost is either passed on to the consumer or absorbed by the freight carrier. The Mid-America Regional Council (MARC), the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) for the Kansas City area, sought to overcome traditional challenges in calculating the cost of such delay. MARC was awarded Second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2) C20 research assistance to explore innovative approaches to utilizing data to better understand the cost of congestion for freight. In the past, research was hampered by the needs of shippers and carriers to consider cost data proprietary in order to maintain a competitive edge in an industry with slim margins. Fortunately, the availability of new datasets, such as the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) National Performance Management Research Data Set (NPMRDS) and the Real-time Freight Intelligence (RTFI) commercial freight waybill dataset, now allow researchers to begin the work of calculating the true cost of congestion. This project: (1) Developed an analytical approach to identifying common commodities and shipment routes originating in the MARC region; (2) Extracted pertinent information from the freight waybill data; and (3) Calculated performance measures for selected shipment routes to increase understanding of how highway congestion affects shipment costs.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; Maps; Tables;
  • Pagination: 16p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01683774
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: FHWA-HOP-17-015
  • Created Date: Oct 1 2018 11:19AM