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Pennsylvania trucking industry congestion costs exceed $3.2 billion

Pennsylvania trucking industry congestion costs exceed $3.2 billion

Traffic congestion on U.S. highways added $94.6 billion in costs to the trucking industry in 2021 according to the latest Cost of Congestion research published by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI). 

This is the highest-level yet recorded through ongoing research.

ATRI utilized a variety of data sources including its unique truck GPS database to calculate trucking delay from 2017 through 2021 on major U.S. roadways.  While year-over-year congestion costs decreased in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they rose sharply in 2021 with a total of 1.27 billion hours of lost productivity. 

This increase in costs reflects the dramatic post-COVID economic recovery, with high GDP growth and freight demand borne from record levels of consumer spending.  This level of delay equates to more than 460,000 commercial truck drivers sitting idle for one work year, and the 2021 figure represents a 27 percent increase from the report’s baseline year of 2016 – an increase that is twice the rate of inflation.

Pennsylvania’s statewide costs ranked ninth in the country at $3.2 billion in 2021, a 13.3 percent increase from 2016.

At the metropolitan level, Philadelphia’s total cost of congestion was $2.1 billion in 2021, an increase of 26.42 percent from 2016.  The metro had the fourth highest costs among metropolitan areas nationally.

“We know PennDOT has state and federal money available to them to address the congestion points. We expect that PennDOT will effectively and transparently use its funding to focus on the areas most in need,” said PMTA President and CEO Rebecca Oyler. “PMTA has worked with PennDOT to provide support for federal discretionary grant funds, specifically for some of the most important infrastructure projects in Pennsylvania. We will continue to support these efforts now that tolling is no longer an option.”

Pennsylvania is set to receive $13.1 billion in funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) which may help address congestion in the state.

A copy of this report is available here.

ATRI is the trucking industry’s 501(c)(3) not-for-profit research organization. It is engaged in critical research relating to freight transportation’s essential role in maintaining a safe, secure and efficient transportation system.


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