Estimated Average Daily Truck Traffic in 2020
Image Courtesy of US Dept. of Transportation
When I’m driving on the highway I occasionally wonder if there are more tractor trailers than cars. I know that’s not true but there sure are a heck of a lot of them out there. Seeing as though more freight tonnage is moved in the US by truck than by any other mode, I shouldn’t be surprised.
According to the US Department of Transportation, 12,778 million tons of freight were moved by trucks in 2007. This compares with 1,900 million tons moved by rail, the next highest amount of freight moved by any mode in 2007. And “motor carriers collected $604 billion in revenues [in 2011], or about 81 percent of total revenue earned by all domestic transport modes” (http://selectusa.commerce.gov/).
By 2040 trucking will handle roughly 18,500 million tons of freight in the US. All modes such as rail, water, and air will grow in the US, but trucking will move the lion’s share of freight. Trucks will handle roughly 65-70% of all cargo in the US.
To prepare for heavier truck traffic, the Federal Highway Administration is studying the cost and feasibility of dedicated truck lanes along I-70 between Missouri and the Ohio/West Virginia border. If you are interested in a lengthy discussion of the dedicated truck lanes, you can watch a here: dedicated truck lanes.
So if you get nervous around big trucks on the road, I’m afraid you can’t hope that they will go away in your lifetime.
If you like tractor trailers because you drive one, work on them, or sell them, then you have a lot to look forward to. A word of advice to anyone out there who is young and looking for a career, or who is looking to change jobs, or is out of work, I would look no further than the trucking industry. Truck manufacturing, freight companies, diesel mechanics, truck dealerships and many other truck related services should see healthy demand in the next few decades.
We should all brush up on our CB slang so we can fit in. Here’s a handy list of terms to familiarize yourself with: CB Slang. And I used this CB handle generator and got the trucker nickname “Sludge.” I guess I can work with that.