Even with the growing COVID-19 pandemic, new data shows the level of commercial truck traffic on America’s busiest corridors remained very strong in March.
PrePass Safety Alliance compiled data from January through March 2020 to compare the total number of commercial vehicles traveling past its coast-to-coast bypass locations. Representing both PrePass and non-PrePass enrolled vehicles, 13.28 million trucks traveled through or past these locations during March. It was on March 13 that the federal government declared the coronavirus a national emergency.
This number is up from 12.74 million in February and nearly as high as the 13.29 million trucks recorded in January. And the March numbers are very close to the 13.26 reported a year ago, PrePass told HDT in response to a query.
PrePass recorded a 4.17% drop in weigh station truck volume from January to February, comparable to the 5.2% decline in the not seasonally-adjusted American Trucking Associations’ For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index for the same period. The PrePass analysis also supports an American Transportation Research Institute analysis of GPS data showing trucks were continuing to move even as COVID-19 continued to spread.
This latest analysis from PrePass shows the trucking industry is not slowing down at all despite the COVID-19 outbreak, according to Steve Vaughn, vice president of field operations at PrePass Safety Alliance. He does not anticipate the number of trucks out on the road to drop while the massive support efforts are required to sustain the supply chain demands associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Trucks remain the engine of the supply chain, and most daily items we have used in the past are still being used today,” Vaughn said. “The only real change is that truck volume has actually increased in some areas of the country, because of increased need for specific items.”
However, some trucking analysts have cautioned that April volumes may not be as robust. In an April 6 Spot Market Update, FTR reported that all equipment types are seeing a broad collapse in freight volumes.