The intersection of I-290 at I-90/I-94 in Chicago is the most congested freight-significant highway interchange in the country, according to the new annual report from the American Transportation Research Institute and the Federal Highway Administration.
An aerial shot of top-ranked spaghetti junction in Chicago, obviously taken at a non-congested time.
An aerial shot of top-ranked spaghetti junction in Chicago, obviously taken at a non-congested time.

According to the study, the average speed through that Chicago intersection during peak congestion is 22.34 mph, compared to 31.89 during non-peak periods, with an average speed overall of 29.41.

The research, which assesses the level of truck-oriented congestion at 250 locations on the national highway system, uses ATRI-developed analysis methods, customized software tools and terabytes of data from trucking operations to produce a congestion severity ranking for each location. This ongoing research, which is part of the Freight Performance Measures (FPM) initiative, is sponsored by FHWA's Office of Freight Management and Operations and operated by ATRI.

Second on the list was I-95 at SR 4 in Fort Lee, N.J., and number three was I-45 at U.S. 59 in Houston, Texas. Houston also took the fourth and fifth spots on the list, for I-10 at I-45 and I-10 at U.S. 59, respectively.

Kevin Knight, Chairman and CEO of Knight Transportation, said "strengthening the efficiency of supply chains is becoming a critical component of U.S. economic growth. Challenge number one is identifying the freight bottlenecks. Fortunately, ATRI's report goes far in using real-world data to tell us where the impediments lie."

The "FPM" congestion monitoring effort combines anonymous truck GPS location information with sophisticated software applications and analysis techniques to assess the levels at which truck-based freight was affected by traffic congestion in 2010. The result is a clear documentation of system chokepoints, especially during peak travel times in urban locations.

ATRI and FHWA will be building upon the list of 250 locations for future analyses; if there are freight-critical transportation points that should be added, stakeholders can offer suggestions through the website highlighted in the report.

You can view the full report on ATRI's website.