ATRI Unveils New Research Priorities for 2024

ATRI Unveils New Research Priorities for 2024

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) board of directors recently convened in San Antonio to review and approve the top research priorities for 2024. These priorities, meticulously identified by ATRI’s Research Advisory Committee (RAC) during their annual meeting in Washington, DC, earlier this year, aim to tackle some of the industry’s most pressing challenges. Under the leadership of Derek Leathers from Werner Enterprises, the RAC has curated a diverse set of research initiatives focusing on workforce development, lawsuit abuse reform, and transportation infrastructure. The key research priorities for 2024 are:

Mining Driver Demographic Data for New Career Pathways

This research will leverage ATRI’s extensive truck driver demographic data collected over several decades. By analyzing this longitudinal data, the study aims to identify evolving demographic trends within the driver population. The goal is to enhance driver recruitment and retention strategies by pinpointing potential new pathways into the industry, including opportunities for young adults transitioning out of the foster care system.

Update on the Impact of Nuclear Verdicts

Building on a 2020 ATRI study that examined the frequency and impact of nuclear verdicts in the trucking industry, this updated research will incorporate more recent data to analyze changes in verdict patterns. It will assess the effects on motor carrier insurance premiums, factors contributing to nuclear verdicts, and the potential impacts of recent state-level lawsuit abuse reform legislation.

Understanding Cargo Theft in the U.S.

Cargo theft presents a significant challenge for motor carriers, shippers, insurers, and consumers. This research aims to quantify the scope and frequency of cargo theft, a crime often underreported. By examining existing data sources and collaborating with motor carriers, the study will also identify effective cargo theft tracing and prevention programs, highlighting best practices within the industry.

Calculating the Cost of Truck Bottlenecks

For decades, ATRI has utilized its comprehensive truck GPS data to monitor traffic congestion on U.S. highways. This research will delve deeper into the economic impact of congestion at specific bottleneck locations from ATRI’s top 100 truck bottlenecks list. It will include case studies to quantify the return on investment for targeted infrastructure improvements that have successfully reduced congestion.

Federal Excise Tax Cost-Benefit Analysis

The 12% federal excise tax (FET) on the purchase of heavy-duty trucks and trailers is often criticized for discouraging investment in newer, safer equipment with cleaner engines. This analysis will explore the FET’s impact on carrier decisions, particularly focusing on the unrealized benefits of safety and emissions improvements due to the tax’s deterrent effect on new equipment investment.

By addressing these critical issues through targeted research, ATRI aims to support the trucking industry’s growth and development, ensuring a more efficient and resilient transportation infrastructure.

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