Understanding Freight Bottlenecks

Freight bottlenecks are traffic bottlenecks on highways that serve high volumes of trucks. This article summarizes recent work by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to better understand these bottlenecks and their effect on the trucking industry. To measure the cost of delay, the FHWA defined bottlenecks using three features: type of capacity constraint, type of roadway and type of freight route. The FHWA estimates that freight bottlenecks cause about 243 million truck hours of delay annually. The direct user cost from delay is about $7.8 billion per year. Although the effect of bottlenecks on individual shipments and transactions is usually modest, over time user costs can add up to a higher cost of doing business for firms. Since freight tonnage is expected to continue to increase, steps need to be taken to attack congestion strategically, such as by reclaiming capacity from the existing freight system and targeting highway and railroad expansion.


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  • Accession Number: 01047012
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, ATRI
  • Created Date: Apr 25 2007 10:43PM