It’s no secret that traffic congestion is getting worse. The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) released their annual study on traffic congestion across the nation and reported a 0.5% increase in traffic from 2015 to 2016. To put a dollar amount to it, traffic congestion cost the trucking industry $74.5 billion dollars in 2016. It also consumed 1.2 billion hours of productivity.

Bypassing the Amazon Effect

Experts attribute most of the traffic increase to online purchases. With shrinking delivery windows—sometimes even same day delivery—more people than ever are ordering online. Since 2000, experts reported a 2100% increase in e-commerce sales. Known as the Amazon Effect, this preference for online shopping means there are more trucks than ever on the roads. Compounding the issue, shoppers return 30-40% of their online purchases, requiring even more trucks.

Optimizing Trucking Routes

Considering infrastructure isn’t likely to keep up with traffic congestion, trucking companies need to find a way to work with the existing routes available to them. One of the easiest ways to do this is to optimize every route. Many fleets take the if it’s not broke, don’t fix it approach to planning their routes. They will use the same roads they always do because they know their drivers can get from Point A to Point B safely. However, this doesn’t mean it’s the best route to take.

Several factors affect routing decisions. The path drivers took 10 years ago may be inefficient for present-day deliveries. For example, the company may have new customers in varying locations or their old customers may have a new office building. It’s worth the effort to look at the data and update routes when applicable to ease the burden of traffic congestion.

Of course, to do this, fleets need a way to gather and analyze the relevant information. Investing in a GPS tracking solution can reveal routes that are always congested versus routes that have times during the day where traffic is moving. To learn more about how telematics can help your fleet reduce the amount of time drivers sit in traffic, contact the experts at DriverCheck.