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Cities that are the least productive for truckers

Some cities have long on-duty wait times for drivers. Here is the list and methodology. 

This weekend, we published an article that suggested that Washington D.C. has the longest wait times for drivers to be loaded. Interesting enough, we also found out how bad Chicago is for truck drivers. Even the suburbs made the list. In fact, out of our top seventeen spots, five of them are in metro Chicago.

Further proof that if you are involved in freight and in Chicago, the best places to be are in the bad-ass offices at one of the many freight brokers in the city. We have had the chance to visit Echo’s incredible facilities right on the Chicago river, and have heard rave reviews the wood-planked offices at the greenexchange (called the “Coolest Office in Chicago”). I am certain that the war for quality logistics talent in America’s freight trading floor is requiring even cooler spreads that FreightWaves has yet to explore.

But back to the data. 

To get our list, we took ELD data and looked at how long drivers would sit at a dock under a status of on-duty/not driving and publshed average wait times for drivers to get loaded/unloaded. 

In case you missed it, here is the list:

#1 Washington DC (149 minutes)

#2 Central Chicago (136 minutes)

#3 Halifax, Nova Scotia (121 minutes)

#4 Edmonton, Alberta (118 minutes)

#5 Northern Chicago (109 minutes)

#6 Modesto, CA (106 minutes)

#7 Northwest Chicago (101 minutes)

#8 Amityville – Long Island (101 minutes)

#9 Far Far North Chicago (99 minutes)

#10 Salt Lake City (99 mins)

#11 Midland-Odessa TX (97 mins)

#12 West Chicago (95 mins)

#13 San Antonio, TX (93 mins)

#14 Brooklyn/Lower Manhattan (92 mins)

#15 Toronto (92 mins)

#16 Sacramento, CA (91 mins)

#17 Dallas (91 mins)

We received a lot of feedback and questions about our methodology on how we came up with the list. We thought it was only fair to walk through those elements to ensure that everyone understood where the data came from and our methodology for picking the cities that made the list.

Here is how we did it:

We took ELD data records over a six month period that included 110,000 trucks (all class 8s). We eliminated trucks that only operated locally (i.e. always stayed within a 200 mile radius of its origin). Our data included thousands of individual carriers. No single carrier was the source of our data. 

Our data scientists then laid out all of US and Canada in squares that were 14 x 14 miles each. We pulled the records and listed out the cities. There were a lot of really small towns on the list, so we created a rule that each square must have a population of over 500,000 people in it to qualify. We only listed cities that have an average delay of 90 minutes or greater. 

Many of the comments we received mentioned how surprisingly short the worst times were on the list. This is true. The averages took into account every single load that hit a dock in those squares, but we did not cull the data from drop and hook freight to live-load, meaning that the live-load times were much longer than our market averages and if a city had a lot of pre-dropped trailers, it was more likely to have lower load times. 

We pull data from over 150 sources, representing $260 billion dollars of freight and everyday we learn something new about the trucking market. Our new Chief Analytics Officer, Dean Croke, ran data-science at two of the largest telematics companies in the world- Omnitracs and Sperion. He is flanked with the former head economist from UPS and a lead data-scientist for USAA. All of this is great, but you need truckers on the staff too to help bring the data to life- and that is where the rest of the team comes in. 2/3 of our staff have worked in the industry, managing a combined $60B of truckload freight. 

Next week, we plan on publishing the best cities in US/Canada for a driver to go in terms of wait time. The easiest way to get the list and other nerdy insights on the freight market is to subscribe here.

And if you really want to get involved in understanding the freight markets from a data-science perspective, join BiTA or come to Transparency18 in Atlanta this May where all the cool data and tech nerds in freight will be.

Stay up-to-date with the latest commentary and insights on FreightTech and the impact to the markets by subscribing.

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