The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) released its annual list of the most congested bottlenecks for trucks in America, and the results aren’t surprising to anyone who travels those roads. For the second straight year, Atlanta’s “Spaghetti Junction,” the intersection of Interstates 285 and 85 North is the most congested freight bottleneck in the country.


ATRI has—since 2002—collected and processed truck GPS data to support the Federal Highway Administration’s Freight Performance Measures (FPM) initiative, a program that monitors and maintains a series of performance measures related to the nation’s truck-based freight transportation system. The 2017 Top Truck Bottleneck List assesses the level of truck-oriented congestion at 250 freight-significant highway locations on the national highway system. The analysis, based on truck GPS data from 600,000+ heavy-duty trucks regarding truck position and speed, 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.


The locations listed in this year’s report represent the top 100 congested locations. After Atlanta, the rest of the Top 10 Truck Bottlenecks are:

  • ·I-95 at State Route 4 in Fort Lee, New Jersey
  • ·I-290 at I-90/94 in Chicago
  • ·I-65 at I-64/71 in Louisville, Kentucky
  • ·I-71 at I-75 in Cincinnati
  • ·SR 60 at SR 57 in Los Angeles
  • ·SR 18 at SR 167 in Auburn, Washington
  • ·I-45 at US 59 in Houston
  • ·I-75 at I-285 North in Atlanta
  • ·I-5 at I-90 in Seattle


The information gained from this research may empower decision-making in both the private and public sectors by allowing stakeholders to better understand the severity of congestion and mobility constraints on the U.S. highway transportation system, ATRI explains. This is of particular importance as the U.S. federal government weighs the needs and resources available for transportation funding. On a state and local level, this research may be used for better decision making about local investment decisions which may directly improve supply chain efficiency.


“Trucks move 70 percent of the nation’s goods, so knowing where there are kinks and slowdowns in the system is important for motor carriers and our professional drivers, making this analysis a key tool for identifying where and when to route our trucks to avoid congestion,” says Prime Inc. President and CEO Robert Low.


Indeed, ATRI has previously estimated that delay associated with weekday traffic congestion on the NHS totaled over 728 million hours in 2014. Applying the 2014 national average operational cost per hour of $68.09 equated to just over $49.6 billion in increased operational costs to the trucking industry. ATRI notes that spreading this cost evenly across the 10.9 million registered large trucks in the U.S. results in an increased average cost per truck of $4,546, however, the actual cost for any one truck is dependent on a variety of factors, such as location of operation, number of miles driven and operating sector.


“With President Trump expected to press for significant long-term infrastructure spending, this analysis should be a key guide for deciding which projects are worthy of funding,” says American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear. “Ensuring the safe and efficient movement of goods should be a national priority, and this report draws attention to the places where our highway network needs improvement to meet that goal.”


What are your thoughts on either the congestion spots themselves or being able to plan routes that avoid such spots?