Improving the nation's highway infrastructure is a long-range challenge, requiring a 20-year program, according to information from the American Trucking Associations (ATA).
ATA recommends that the program focus initially on fixing critical bottlenecks. Longer-range ideas include creating truck-only corridors to permit carriers to further increase the use of more productive vehicles. "If congestion in identified urban 'chokepoint' areas were eliminated, the reduction in truck CO2 emissions would be 45.2 million tons over 10 years," ATA projects.
ATA points out that if key congestion bottlenecks were eliminated, the trucking industry alone could save 4.1 billion gallons of fuel over 10 years, and 45.2 million tons of CO2 emissions. Relieving highway congestion is also a critically important strategy for reducing carbon emissions.
ATA noted that congested highways and crumbling overpasses headline a laundry list of problems described by the American Society of Civil Engineers in a recently issued a report, 2009 Report Card for America's Infrastructure.
The engineers' report indicates that poor conditions cost motorists $67 billion a year in repairs and operating costs and that one-third of America's major roads are in poor or mediocre condition and 45 percent of major urban highways are congested.
The Texas Traffic Institute has identified more than 400 urban areas that are plagued by traffic condition that annually costs the US economy $78 billion in the form of 4.2 billion lost hours and 2.9 billion gallons of wasted fuel.
For more information about all of ATA's recommendations for reducing emissions and delivering a more sustainable future, visit the sustainability Web site at trucksdeliver.org.