Freighted with Meaning
The new INRIX scorecard is out — time for all you sabremetricians of the traffic world to drool — and reveals that congestion is creeping back to pre-recession levels. One can, I suppose, take this is another form of economic indicator — like same-store sales or new housing starts — as more jobs and more activity equals more miles driven. Then again, some of the congestion is directly a result of the economic crisis:
“Stimulus spending on road projects nationwide is starting to have an impact on congestion, particularly in off-peak periods. Delays across the country during off-peak periods – mid-days, evenings, overnights and weekends – were up 25 percent. Of the nation’s biggest new work zone slowdowns in late 2009, more than half were directly tied to stimulus projects.
There was the usual mix of interesting data points (hello Philadelphia and welcome to the Top 10 most congested metros!; Friday between 5 and 6 p.m. remained the worst time to be on the road in America), but one particular bit in the section on long-haul freight traffic caught my eye in particular:
INRIX data highlights that the nation’s truck freight network is highly interconnected, with some of its most important links located in places that aren’t immediately obvious (except to fleets and people traveling those roads). Nationwide, less than 5% of road miles have 3 times or more the average density of freight data, and less than 1% of road miles have 4 times or more. Of the most intensely used 1000 miles, California has the most miles of any state (271), closely followed by Arkansas (228); and I-40 has the most miles of any road (314).
I was surprised to see Arkansas pop up as number two in this category — I would have expected the Chicago region or some such — and I couldn’t help wondering, as one always does when one thinks of Arkansas, if there was a ‘Wal-Mart’ effect here? But the simpler explanation is that Arkansas itself is a trucking hub, home to a number of the country’s largest haulers and, it turns out, the state with the highest percentage of private-sector work force employed in the trucking industry. I’m sure there’s a bevy of interesting geographical/logistical reasons of why that came to be (e.g., proximity to rail hubs, the distribution center of Memphis, etc.), but in any case, it’s just one of the interesting tales lurking in the INRIX data.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 24th, 2010 at 5:13 am and is filed under Congestion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.