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Texas again has highest number of traffic bottlenecks for truckers

Study says congested roadways cost freight haulers $95B in 2023

Nine locations in the Houston metropolitan area are on the American Transportation Research Institute’s annual list of most gridlocked roadways in 2023. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Everything is bigger in Texas, including traffic jams for truckers, according to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI).

ATRI released its 13th annual list Tuesday highlighting the most congested roadways for tractor-trailers across the country, and 13 Texas locations made the top 100, including nine in the Houston metropolitan area.

“Texans are no strangers to traffic congestion,” John D. Esparza, president and CEO of the Texas Trucking Association, said in a news release. “Unfortunately, all that congestion means that our state’s economy takes a hit as does our roadway safety and our environment.”

The 2024 Top Truck Bottleneck List measures the level of truck-involved congestion at over 325 locations on the national highway system. The analysis is based on an extensive database of freight truck GPS data. It 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 information is also used by policy planners to target infrastructure investment.


The most congested roadway for truckers in Houston was Interstate 45 at Interstate 69 and U.S. Route 59 (West), ranking No. 4 in the top 100. Other Texas cities with roadways on the top 100 list include Austin, Dallas, and Fort Worth.

While Texas is home to the highest number of congested freight corridors in the nation, the intersection of Interstate 95 and State Route 4 in Fort Lee, New Jersey, is ranked as the No. 1 freight bottleneck in the country for the sixth year in a row, according to ATRI.

States with the highest number of trucking bottlenecks include Texas (13), Georgia (9), California (8), Tennessee (7), Illinois (6) and Washington (6).

Average peak-hour truck speed at the bottlenecks on the list was about 34 mph, down 4% year over year from 2022. ATRI noted that average truck speeds at 62% of the bottlenecks were 45 mph or less.


“Traffic congestion on our National Highway System inflicts an enormous cost on the supply chain and environment, adding $95 billion to the cost of freight transportation and generating 69 million metric tons of excess carbon emissions every year,” Chris Spear, president and CEO of the American Trucking Associations, said in a statement. “The freight bottlenecks identified in this report provide an actionable blueprint for state and federal transportation officials on where to invest infrastructure funding most cost-effectively.”

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Noi Mahoney

Noi Mahoney is a Texas-based journalist who covers cross-border trade, logistics and supply chains for FreightWaves. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English in 1998. Mahoney has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working for newspapers in Maryland and Texas. Contact [email protected]