It is Worse in Some Places

Freight significant highway bottlenecks


Among other things, traffic congestion causes additional wear and tear on vehicles and that, in turn, increases maintenance and repairs costs. The greater the congestion, the more need for maintenance and repair.   Naturally, some areas of the nation experience greater congestion that others.   As part of the ongoing Freight Performance Measures (FPM) initiative, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Freight Management and Operations monitor freight significant highway locations.   This research uses ATRI-developed analysis methods, GPS technology, truck-specific information, sophisticated customized software applications and tools and terabytes of data from trucking operations to assess the level at which truck-based freight was affected each year by traffic congestion.   Not being a "techy" I had to look up "terabyte." It is a measure of computer storage capacity that is 2 to the 40th power, or approximately a trillion bytes (a byte is a unit of data that is eight binary digits long). The prefix tera is derived from the Greek word for monster.   From its monitoring program, ATRI and FHWA recently released the findings of their "2009 Bottleneck Analysis of 100 Freight Significant Highway Locations." The research assesses the level of truck-oriented congestion on the national highway system and produces a congestion severity ranking for each location.   Average speeds that are below free flow speeds - which is set at 55 mph - are considered to reflect congestion.   What do you think are the top five locations with the highest congestion ranking?   Heading list is I-290 at I-90/I94 in Chicago, IL, followed by I-90 at I-94 North, also in Chicago. Next is I-95 at SR-4 in Fort Lee, NJ; I-35 in Austin, TX; and I-285 at I-85 North in Atlanta, GA.   At the bottom of the ranking, places 95 to 100, are: I-459 at I-59/I-20 in Birmingham, AL; I-10 (east of the tunnel) in Mobile, AL; I-17 at I-40, Flagstaff, AZ; I-85 at I-485 West in Charlotte, NC; I-35 at I-410 South in San Antonio, TX.   You can find the complete ranking of the 100 freight significant highway bottleneck locations, along with detailed information on each of the locations, at ATRI’s website: www.atri-online.org.