Volume 16 Issue 1
March 2020
In This Issue

Board of Directors

Ms. Judy McReynolds
ATRI Chair
Chairman, President and CEO
ArcBest Corporation
Mr. Andrew Boyle
Boyle Transportation

Mr. Hugh Ekberg
President and CEO
CRST International

Mr. Darren Hawkins
Chief Executive Officer
YRC Worldwide
Mr. Dave Huneryager
President and CEO
Tennessee Trucking
Mr. Derek J. Leathers
President and CEO
Werner Enterprises
Mr. Robert E. Low
President and CEO
Prime Inc.
Mr. Rich McArdle
UPS Freight
Mr. Benjamin J. McLean
Chief Executive Officer
Ruan Transportation
Management Systems
Mr. Dennis Nash
Executive Chairman of the Board
Kenan Advantage Group
Mr. James D. Reed
President and CEO
USA Truck
Ms. Annette Sandberg
President and CEO
Transsafe Consulting, LLC
Mr. John A. Smith
President and CEO
FedEx Freight
Ms. Rebecca M. Brewster
President and COO
American Transportation
Research Institute
Mr. Chris Spear
President and CEO
American Trucking Associations

Analysis of Data Finds Unprecedented Performance Year-Over-Year

Newly released data from ATRI shows that trucks are continuing to move - in many cases faster than usual - to respond to the demands placed on the industry by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"ATRI's real-time GPS data comes from more than a million trucks, allowing us to analyze freight flows, and so far in March, what we are seeing is an unprecedented level of truck movement," said ATRI President and COO Rebecca Brewster. "Not only are trucks continuing to move, but they are doing so at speeds well in excess of normal traffic patterns."
For example, according to ATRI's data, at the intersection of I-85 and I-285 in Atlanta, known locally as Spaghetti Junction, afternoon rush hour truck speeds are typically less than 15 MPH due to congestion.  Trucks are now averaging 53 MPH.

"Spaghetti Junction is typical of what we've seen across the country, especially in areas hit hard by the virus and subject to quarantines and lockdowns," Brewster said. "As other traffic dissipates, trucks continue to move, delivering much-needed relief supplies to markets, hospitals, gas stations and other essential businesses."

Among the hardest hit states, New York, California and Illinois, the data is showing similar changes.
  • In New York, along I-495 in Queens, the afternoon rush hour typically sees average truck speeds of 16 MPH. Speeds have now more than doubled, averaging 38 MPH, still below the posted speed limit but certainly an improvement.
  • In Los Angeles, at the intersection of I-710 and I-105, truck speeds during highly congested morning rush hours are normally less than 25 MPH between the hours of 6 and 8 a.m. Truck speeds are now averaging 53 MPH in the morning as Californians stay home but truck deliveries increase.
  • At the Byrne Interchange in Chicago, where I-290 intersects with I-90/I-94, morning truck speeds are now averaging 43 MPH, more than twice the typical morning rush hour speed of 20 MPH.
According to ATRI's analysis, the results can be explained by several COVID-19 related factors: first is the dramatic reduction in commuter traffic, allowing trucks to operate at higher speeds, particularly during traditional rush hours.  Second, is the continuous 24/7 truck operations that generate higher average truck speeds across nearly all hours of the day.
ATRI's analysis used truck GPS data from more than a million heavy-duty trucks and the locations examined included some of the nation's top truck choke points.
"Normally, ATRI's bottleneck data is used to show us where the problems are on our highway system," said American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear, "but during this period of extreme uncertainty, the data is showing us where the solution is - in the back of America's trucks as professional drivers continue to quickly and safely deliver life-sustaining medical supplies, food, fuel and other essentials to Americans when they need it most."
New Research Designed to Quantify Trucking Impacts from COVID-19
Industry Survey Seeks Operating Impacts from Drivers, Fleets

ATRI and the Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association Foundation (OOIDA Foundation) are conducting a joint research study to understand the numerous impacts that the Coronavirus pandemic is having on trucking operations.  The research focuses heavily on a survey that solicits critical input from truck drivers and motor carrier staff who are encountering Covid-19 impacts such as limited shipper access, changing distribution patterns and traffic-related issues.

"This survey will help us confirm what we know anecdotally," said Tom Weakley, Director of the OOIDA Foundation, "that the trucking industry is leading the charge in responding to food and medicine shortages among other critical supplies.  We need everyone's input on this effort."

The brief survey is available online: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ATRI-Coronavirus-Perspectives .

Anyone involved in trucking operations is urged to respond.

"Our goal is to complete the data analysis as quickly as possible, as it can provide important guidance to public and private decision-makers.  The Covid-19 pandemic is a moving target, and we can't afford to design policies and supply chains around guesswork," said ATRI Senior Vice President Dan Murray.
New Research Documents Who Pays and Who Benefits From Toll System Revenue
ATRI recently released new research that  documents the collection and distribution of $14.7 billion in U.S. toll revenue, representing 81.7 percent of U.S. toll collections. The research sheds light on many questions about tolling, including how much toll revenue is generated versus reinvested in toll facilities, and contrasts truck-generated toll revenue versus truck utilization of toll roads.

This study was identified as the top research priority for the industry by ATRI's Research Advisory Committee in 2019.
To better understand tolling, researchers collected public financial data from Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR) published by 21 major toll systems, and attempted to standardize financial comparisons across systems. Once toll financial metrics were developed, each toll authority received an overnight courier package of the results, asking them to calibrate or corroborate the financial data; nine of 21 toll systems responded.  

Key metrics included toll facility charges by user type, toll facility expenditures and toll revenue diversion to non-toll entities.
Using 2018 data from the 21 major toll systems, ATRI found:
  • ATRI's sample of 21 toll systems represents 81.7 percent of all U.S. toll collections.
  • Toll Revenues are Up Significantly. Toll revenues increased 72.54 percent over 10 years, with $14.7 billion in revenue collected in 2018. For comparison, the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which measures inflation for the same time period was 16.9 percent.
  • Toll Costs for Trucks Exceed Other Industry Cost Metrics. Toll costs for commercial vehicles were $0.45 per mile, which exceeds every cost per mile metric from ATRI's 2018 operational cost survey with the exception of driver wages, which were $0.596 per mile. This is in stark contrast to the $0.146 per mile paid by trucks for federal and state transportation-related taxes and fees.
  • Trucking Costs for Toll Roads are Inflationary; Toll Fees are Paid Over and Above Annual Federal and State Fuel Taxes Paid by the Industry to Travel Toll Roads. In addition to paying $4.2 billion in tolls across the 21 toll systems, trucks paid $811 million annually in federal and state fuel taxes while traveling across the study sample's toll facilities.
  • Toll Facility Costs are High. Of the $14.7 billion in total toll revenue, $4.764 billion or 32.4 percent of total revenue was used to cover facility costs. Of this, $2.32 billion or 15.8 percent of total revenue was spent on toll collection costs.

  • Nearly 50 Percent of Toll Revenue Collected is Diverted to Uses Other than the Operation of Toll Roads and Bridges. Slightly more than 48 percent (or $7.1 billion) was positive cash flow (i.e. "profit") beyond the cost of operating the toll systems and paying interest. Of this, trucking paid $2.03 billion or 28.5 percent. A reasonable question is why these facilities are operating and justifying the current toll structure if the Net Cash Flows exceed a zero or breakeven level. Given that most agencies are government or quasi-government entities, the coverage of costs should be sufficient in order to justify a user-pays model.
  • Toll Payments are Subsidizing Transit and Non-Toll Facility Related Transportation Costs. A total of $3.013 billion (20.5% of $14.7 billion) was transferred out by nine of the 21 toll systems to other government agencies that included mass transit and non-toll facility-related transportation.
  • Toll System Sample Received Over $1 Billion in Cash from Other Agencies. Cash provided to the 21 toll systems from other government entities totaled $1.097 billion, 17.5 percent of which came from a federal interest rate subsidy known as Build America Bonds.

  • Tolling Impacts Interstate Commerce. ATRI's analysis included a first-of-its-kind data analysis to better understand the relationship between interstate commerce and toll road utilization. It was estimated that 79 percent of truck trips using toll roads in the study sample were engaged in critical interstate commerce, generating $3.327 billion in toll revenue.
"It is clear from this research that highway funding mechanisms that return our tax investments to highways are far superior to tolling," said Darren Hawkins, YRC Worldwide Chief Executive Officer. "We need greater oversight and transparency to ensure that the billions of dollars paid by our industry goes back into the roads and bridges that generate the revenue."

You can download the report by clicking here.

New Research Helps Redefine the Role of Government Actions on Automated Trucking 
In January, ATRI released research that identifies both the positive and negative impacts associated with numerous government policies, programs and regulations that target autonomous truck development and testing. ATRI's study proposes a framework by which autonomous truck standards could be developed.

More specifically, the report documents the dozens of local, state and federal activities that guide and regulate autonomous truck activities. While most attempt to create a framework for the safe testing of autonomous trucks, the myriad state and local activities ultimately impede the creation of a seamless and standardized autonomous truck (AT) network. Even those government rules that ostensibly support autonomous truck development often are too prescriptive to generate meaningful outcomes. For example, multiple vendors highlight Level 4 testing, even though regulations require constant control of the vehicles by both drivers and onboard engineers - making it difficult for motor carrier executives to accurately assess the real value of ATs.

"The pace of technology development in the autonomous truck sphere is moving at lightning speed," said Jeff Reed, Skyline Transportation President and chair of the ATA Automated Truck Subcommittee. "Our industry needs states to collaborate on seamless policies and regulations, and we need more proactive federal guidance on AT development. Government activities at all levels must be dynamic enough to address the constantly evolving technology landscape."

You can download the report - Redefining the Role of Government Activities in Automated Trucking - by clicking here .
Hugh Ekberg Appointed to ATRI Board of Directors

ATRI's newest Board member is CRST International President and Chief Executive Officer Hugh Ekberg. 

Ekberg was appointed President and CEO of CRST International in October 2018. He joined CRST in 2016 as Group President/Chief Operating Officer of CRST's western region of operating companies. Prior to CRST, he served as President - Kitchen & Bath Americas for Kohler Company. Ekberg has also served as Division President and a Board Member at Weitz Company and with Hirsh Industries in various progressive roles, including EVP of Operations, COO and President.

Ekberg holds a Master of Science degree in engineering management from Northwestern University's McCormick School of Engineering and an MBA in marketing and organizational design from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. He earned his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Ekberg was appointed to the ATRI Board of Directors by ATRI Board Chair Judy McReynolds, chairman, president and CEO of ArcBest Corporation.
RAC Member Doug Marcello

ATRI Research Advisory Committee member Doug Marcello is a trucking defense attorney who also has a CDL. He has been a member of ATRI's Research Advisory Committee since 2019. Doug represents trucking clients across the country and has been specially admitted for cases in 35 states. His firm, Marcello & Kivisto, works with companies to prepare for accident response, respond 24/7 when accidents occur, and aggressively defend lawsuits against trucking companies and their drivers. Doug has written numerous articles and made a number of presentations about the legal aspects of trucking.

Doug is a member of numerous trucking organizations, including the American Trucking Associations Safety Management Council as well as trucking law organizations including TIDA and Transportation Lawyers. Doug was the 2018 recipient of the Leadership Award of the ATA Safety Management Council.

Doug is also a member of Pennsylvania Motor Trucking Association's (PMTA) Board, and leads the Next Generation Group. He was Chairperson of the PMTA Safety Management Council for 2011-13 and has been Treasurer since 2016. He also served as Secretary-Treasurer of the PMTA South Central Chapter from 2009 to 2015 and was on the Board 2004-17.
The Nation's Top Truck Bottlenecks

ATRI recently released its 2020 Top Truck Bottleneck List, which assesses the level of truck-involved congestion at 300 locations on the national highway system. The analysis, based on truck GPS data from over 1 million heavy duty trucks uses several customized software applications and analysis methods, along with terabytes of data from trucking operations to produce a congestion impact ranking for each location. ATRI's truck GPS data is also used to support the U.S. DOT's Freight Mobility Initiative. The bottleneck locations detailed in this latest ATRI list represent the top 100 congested locations, although ATRI continuously monitors more than 300 freight-critical locations.

The intersection of I-95 and SR 4 in Fort Lee, New Jersey is once again the Number One freight bottleneck in the country. The rest of the Top 10 includes:
  1. Atlanta: I-285 at I-85 (North)
  2. Nashville: I-24/I-40 at I-440 (East)
  3. Houston: I-45 at I-69/US 59
  4. Atlanta, GA: I-75 at I-285 (North)
  5. Chicago, IL: I-290 at I-90/I-94
  6. Atlanta, GA: I-20 at I-285 (West)
  7. Cincinnati, OH: I-71 at I-75
  8. Los Angeles, CA: SR 60 at SR 57
  9. Los Angeles, CA: I-710 at I-105

"ATRI's bottleneck analysis is an important tool for TDOT as we work to maximize the safety and efficiency of our transportation system, and ensure we are making the smartest investments possible," said Tennessee Department of Transportation Assistant Bureau Chief Freight & Logistics Dan Pallme. "The additional capacity we are providing as part of the ongoing I-440 Reconstruction Project should improve the safety and reliability of this important corridor, which we know is critical to freight movement."

ATRI's analysis, which utilized data from 2019, found that the number of locations experiencing significant congestion - with average daily speeds of 45 MPH or less - has increased 92 percent in just five years, far outpacing the 10 percent growth in traffic congestion for that same time period.

"ATA has been beating the drum about the continued degradation of our infrastructure, and thanks to ATRI's research we can see exactly how decades of ignoring the problem are impacting not just our industry but our economy and commuters everywhere," said American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear. "This report should sound the alarm for policymakers that the cost of doing nothing is too high, and provide a roadmap of where to target investments to really solve our nation's mounting infrastructure crisis."

For access to the full report, including detailed information on each of the 100 top congested locations, please  click here.
ATRI's Newest Operational Costs of Trucking Research Shows Dramatic 
Increases in Industry Costs

ATRI's Operational Costs of Trucking research uses detailed financial data provided directly by motor carriers of all sectors and fleet sizes to annually document and analyze trucking costs. ATRI's newest Ops Costs report (released November 2019) documents the extremely robust economic environment that carriers and drivers experienced in 2018, but these same economic conditions put considerable upward pressure on nearly every line-item cost center experienced by carriers.

The average marginal cost per mile incurred by motor carriers in 2018 increased 7.7 percent to $1.82. Costs rose in every cost center except tires, with fuel costs experiencing the highest year-over-year growth of 17.7 percent. Not surprisingly, insurance costs saw the second fastest year-over-year growth at 12 percent. As a strategic response to the severe driver shortage that existed in 2018, driver wages and benefits increased 7.0 and 4.7 percent, respectively - representing 43 percent of all marginal costs in 2018.

Repair & maintenance (R&M) costs, at 17.1 cents per mile in 2018, have increased 24 percent since 2012 - a counterintuitive increase given the record sales of new trucks and trailers. From 2012 to 2018, overall motor carrier operational costs have increased more than 11.6 percent - exceeding the 10.8 percent inflation rate for that same time period.

ATRI's 2019 report again includes an "Industry Sector in Focus" analysis for tank fleet operators.

"ATRI's 2019 Operational Costs research highlights the extent of the cost increases our industry experienced in 2018. Savvy carriers will continue to use this cost data as a benchmarking tool, and to better educate our customers on the financial and operating pressures our industry faces," said Jerry Sigmon, Executive Vice President of Cargo Transporters, Inc. "The new report also gives us important explanations and hints on how to better manage the cost volatility we've been experiencing."
Since its original publication in 2008, ATRI has received over 16,000 requests for the Operational Costs reports.

A copy of this report is available by clicking here .
ATRI Staff Updates

Jeffrey Short

Alexandra Shirk

ATRI's Jeff Short and Alexandra Shirk received promotions in late 2019, with Jeff being promoted to Vice President and Alexandra promoted to Research Associate.

Jeff joined ATRI in 2003 and most recently served as a Senior Research Associate. His work at ATRI includes the day-to- day  management of ATRI's Freight Performance Measures program, which utilizes truck GPS data to evaluate freight mobility and productivity on the nation's transportation system. Jeff has also led a number of ATRI's research studies on highway funding and on industry impacts from the hours-of-service rules. Jeff is based in ATRI's Atlanta office.

Alexandra joined ATRI in 2014 and most recently served as a Research Analyst. Alexandra's focus at ATRI is in truck parking analyses, as well as GIS analyses on topics including freight mobility and bottleneck identification. Alexandra is based in New York.

Two ATRI staff recently celebrated work anniversaries. In January, ATRI President Rebecca Brewster celebrated her 27th year with ATRI and earlier this month ATRI's Director of Environmental Research Mike Tunnell was recognized for his 25 years of service with ATRI.
Rebecca Brewster
Mike Tunnell

Out and About with ATRI

ATRI Research Analyst Erin Speltz presents at a poster session at the Transportation Research Board (TRB) 2020 Annual Meeting in January

ATRI Research Associate Alexandra Shirk and Vice President, Jeffrey Short present at a poster session at the TRB 2020 Annual Meeting in January
ATRI Vice President Jeffrey Short (far left) participating in Georgia Municipal Association panel on freight in January 
ATRI Senior VP Dan Murray with Jeff Loftus, Division Chief, Technology Division, FMCSA standing in front of the Tech-Celerate Now display at the 2020 ATA TMC Annual Meeting in February
ATRI President and COO, Rebecca Brewster (far left) served as one of the judges, along with America''s Road Team Captain Russ Simpson, ATA EVP Elisabeth Barna and America's Road Team Captain Don Logan, for the NTTC Tank Truck Driver of the Year Award in February
ATRI's Research Advisory Committee met in Atlanta in early March to determine ATRI's research agenda for the upcoming year

2019 - 2020 Research Advisory Committee

Ms. Karen Rasmussen, RAC Chairman
Senior Executive Advisor
Prepass Safety Alliance
Mr. Michael Ahart
VP Regulatory Affairs

Mr. Thomas A. Balzer, CAE
President and CEO
Ohio Trucking Association
Mr. Shawn Brown, CDS
Vice President, Safety and Recruiting
Cargo Transporters
Mr. Kenneth Calhoun
Fleet Optimization Manager
Altec Service Group
Dr. Alison Conway, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Civil Engineering
City College of New York
Mr. Bob Costello
Chief Economist and Senior Vice President
American Trucking Associations
Mr. Dan Drella
Director, Safety and Training
Schneider National

Mr. Jim Fields
Chief Operating Officer
Pitt Ohio
Ms. Victoria King
Vice President Public Affairs

Mr. James Langley
Trimble Transportation
Mr. Stephen Laskowski
Canadian Trucking Alliance  

Mr. Don Lefeve
President and CEO
Commercial Vehicle Training Association
Mr. Kevin Lhotak
Reliable Transportation Specialists
Mr. Mike Ludwick
Chief Administrative Officer
Bison Transport
Mr. Doug Marcello
Transportation Attorney
Marcello and Kivisto
Ms. Jaime Maus
Vice President of Safety and Compliance
Werner Enterprises
Ms. Caroline Mays
Director, Freight and International Trade Section
Texas DOT
Ms. Shannon Newton
Arkansas Trucking Association
Mr. Steve Olson
President and Chief Underwriting Officer
Great West Casualty Company

Ms. Holly Pixler
Senior Director Transportation, International and Data Management
Mr. John Prewitt
Tideport Distributing, Inc.
Mr. Steve Raetz
Director, Research & Market Intelligence
C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc.
Mr. Jeremy Reymer
Founder and CEO
Mr. Lee Sarratt, CDS
Director of Safety
J.B. Hunt
Deputy Chief Mark Savage
Colorado State Patrol
Ms. Kary Schaefer
General Manager of Marketing, Strategy for Freightliner and Detroit Brands
Daimler Trucks North America

Mr. Russell Simpson
America's Road Team Captain
Mr. Mike Stephens
Vice President of Finance
USA Truck
Mr. Collin Stewart
President and CEO
Stewart Transport
Ms. Sara Walfoort
Manager, Freight Planning
Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission
Mr. Tom Weakley
Director of Operations
Owner-Operator Independent
Drivers Association Foundation
Mr. Shawn Yadon
Chief Executive Officer
California Trucking Association

Thanks to Our 2019 Contributors!
We would like to thank all of those who supported ATRI in 2019 through charitable contributions to advance the trucking industry's research agenda.  These contributions, which are strictly dedicated to ATRI's research activities, mean improved industry safety and productivity for all.  Additionally, we want to thank those who have given generously to ATRI in memory of someone.  Memorial gifts to ATRI are a wonderful way to honor and remember those in the industry who have passed on. 
ATRI is the ideal candidate for charitable giving and to show your support for the work that ATRI does.   Click here to be directed to an online form where you can indicate your willingness to make a 2020 contribution.

A&M Transport
Ability TriModal Transportation Services 
Alabama Trucking Association
Amy Boerger
ArcBest Corporation
Arizona Trucking Association
Arkansas Trucking Association
Best Way Express
Bison Transport
Boyle Transportation
Bulldog Hiway Express
C.H. Robinson Worldwide
California Trucking Association
Carbon Express
Cargo Transporters
Carla Rose
Central Oregon Truck Company
Charlie Hoekema Trucking, Inc.
Chris Spear
Colorado Motor Carriers Association
Combined Transport 
Co-Pilot Vision Systems
CRST International
Cummins Inc.
Dan Murray 
Dave Huneryager
David and Betsy Manning
FedEx Corporation 
Florida Trucking Association
Fox & James, Inc.
Georgia Motor Trucking Association
Grand Island Express
Great West Casualty Company
Hoekstra Transportation, LLC
Idaho Trucking Association
Illinois Trucking Association
Indiana Motor Truck Association
Iowa Motor Truck Association
J and M Tank Lines, Inc.
JC Express Corp.
Jeremy Reymer
JJ Keller
Kansas Motor Carriers Association
Kenan Advantage Group
Kentucky Trucking Association
K-Limited Carrier, Ltd.
Maine Motor Transport Association
Maryland Motor Truck Association
Maven Machines
Maverick Transportation
Michael Ahart
Mike Tunnell
Minnesota Trucking Association 
Mississippi Trucking Association
Missouri Trucking Association
Motor Transport Association of CT
National Tank Truck Carriers
Nevada Trucking Association
New Hampshire Motor Truck Association
New Mexico Trucking Association
North Carolina Trucking Association Foundation
North Dakota Motor Carriers Association
Ohio Trucking Association
Oklahoma Trucking Association
Old Dominion Freight Line
Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association
Pitt Ohio
PrePass Safety Alliance
Prime, Inc.
Randy Boyles 
Rebecca Brewster
Rhode Island Trucking Association
Rich and Lisa Bren
Ruan Transportation Management Systems
Schneider National
Shorty and Ro Whittington 
South Carolina Trucking Association
Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association
TAEC Region II
TCW, Inc.
Tennessee Trucking Association
Texas Motor Transportation Association
Toledo Trucking Association
Tommy Hodges 
Total Transportation of Mississippi LLC
TransSafe Consulting
Trucking Association of New York
Trucking Association of Massachusetts
USA Truck
Usher Transport
Ventura Transfer Company
Vermont Truck and Bus Association
Walmart Transportation
Werner Enterprises
Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association
Wyoming Trucking Association
YRC Worldwide

Contributions in Memory Of

Bill Reed, Jr.
Charles Franke