New data from the American Transportation Research Institute gives a snapshot of how commercial fleet activity is being affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The analysis looks at truck activity across six states between February 9 and April 18 with the use of real-time truck GPS data.
“The GPS data we use is a valuable tool into what is going on in the economy and the trucking industry right now,” said ATRI President and COO Rebecca Brewster. “We knew from talking to drivers and carrier executives that there were significant impacts on operations as a result of COVID-19, but now, by analyzing this data we are able to put numbers and data to feelings and anecdotes.”
The data shows a spike in initial truck activity from early February into March, showing the response to high demand for items such as non-perishable food and paper products, as well as emergency medical supplies. The effects of stay-at-home orders shutting down major segments of the economy were also analyzed, which resulted in an April decline in trucking operations.
Of the six states included, not only was California the first to issue a stay-at-home order, it also experienced the earliest upward spike in truck activity, occurring during the week of March 1. Currently, truck activity in California is now down 8.3% from early February.
In Florida, Illinois and New York, truck activity spiked the week of March 8, but has declined an average of more than 10% from early February. Pennsylvania and Washington truck activity spiked during the week of March 15, but it has dropped by an average of almost 9%.
But there are signs that activity is starting to improve, with New York truck activity seeing an increase during the week of April 12.