Publish Date: May 16, 2024
Author: Seubert
Tags: Blog - SeubertU

Best Practices for Combating Trucking Bottlenecks

Road congestion repeatedly reigns as one of the biggest challenges facing the trucking industry, causing major operational delays and supply chain complications each year. According to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), such congestion—also known as bottlenecks in the trucking sector—has been on the rise over the past decade, largely due to an increase in vehicles on the road, aging highway infrastructure and surging e-commerce freight volumes. These bottlenecks have significantly slowed commercial drivers’ journeys and prolonged trucking delivery times. In fact, the ATRI reported that the top 10 most congested U.S. cities record average speeds between 24.7 mph and 37.4 mph during peak traffic periods, falling far below typical highway speed limits. Altogether, the ATRI revealed that road congestion causes nearly 1.2 billion hours of operational delays every year, driving up total costs in the trucking industry by $74.5 billion. Fortunately, there are steps trucking employers can take to help combat these bottlenecks and minimize the related impacts on their operations. Here are some best practices for trucking companies to keep in mind:

  • Adjust driving routes. By analyzing regional traffic data and using route-planning software, trucking businesses can better optimize their drivers’ journeys behind the wheel, thus avoiding potential road congestion and promoting greater fuel efficiency.
  • Leverage vehicle technology. In addition to utilizing route-planning software, trucking companies can leverage other forms of vehicle technology, such as telematics and advanced navigation systems, to share real-time traffic updates with their drivers and redirect them as needed.
  • Consider alternate delivery times. Road congestion isn’t constant. Therefore, it may be useful for trucking businesses to assess traffic peaks and lulls in their particular regions and establish alternate delivery times based on this information. In doing so, drivers can benefit from minimal bottlenecks and experience smoother journeys. However, trucking businesses should be sure to consult warehouse facilities, shippers and any other essential parties within their supply chains to ensure alternate delivery times won’t cause other complications or substantially increase operational costs.
  • Educate drivers. Trucking companies should provide their drivers with frequent training on how to properly navigate regional traffic conditions and steer clear of possible bottlenecks. This training should also address topics such as route optimization and vehicle technology, therefore equipping drivers with the knowledge and tools necessary to handle road congestion with ease.
  • Conduct regular vehicle maintenance. By keeping their fleets (and any technology installed within these fleets) on routine maintenance schedules, trucking businesses can ensure their vehicles stay in good condition and prevent them from causing any issues on the road—especially amid heavy traffic. What’s more, well-maintained vehicles are known to be more effective in navigating road congestion.

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