INRIX believes it has identified corridors across the U.S. that are best suited for near-term autonomous trucking deployment.
Using a systematic, data-driven approach, INRIX identified the top 10 corridors that are most commercially viable, those where highly automated vehicle (HAV) technology can maximize safety benefits, and the top 5 combined corridors for HAV deployment (those with high freight volumes, low congestion levels, and low incident rates).
Top 10 corridors for commercial returns: The INRIX Automated Freight Corridor Assessment is based on the premise that the commercial benefits of current HAV technology are best suited for trips of longer duration and those without challenging traffic conditions (speed changes, congestion, incidents). To identify these corridors, INRIX Research first analyzed and ranked U.S. corridors that measure more than 100 mi with high freight volume and low congestion characteristics. The U.S. has a number of routes that are solid candidates for HAV deployment due to the prevalence of high-volume, low-congestion corridors. However, this broad distribution will likely lead to a more diffuse pattern of HAV adoption as compared to countries where a select few routes stand out above all others.
Despite its comparatively short length, I-95 (Jacksonville to Miami) ranked the best commercial corridor as a result of its very high freight volumes and low congestion levels. I-5, from the Canadian border to Northern California, scored second for initial autonomous truck deployment due to its low congestion rates, high freight volumes, and overall length of the road. Number three in this ranking is I-75 from Valdosta to Miami.
Top 10 corridors for safety improvements: In consideration of the public focus on prioritizing the safety benefits of HAVs, INRIX Research identified corridors with high incidence rates to show where HAV technology could have the most impact. The best fit U.S. corridors were identified by finding 100-mile segments with the highest number of incidents (i.e. accidents, slowdowns, construction). By augmenting drivers' skills with HAV technology, the driving risks on these routes could be greatly mitigated.
Of the corridors analyzed, I-75 from Chattanooga to Atlanta ranked highest in terms of driver risk. The road's high freight volume, coupled with a high incident rate, differentiated it from other corridors that exhibited higher incidents per mile or overall volumes. Next was I-45 between Houston and Dallas, which landed second in the safety rankings due to its exceptionally high incident rate—at least 10% higher than any other U.S. corridor studied. Number three in this ranking is I-20 between Dallas and Shreveport.
Top 5 combined corridors for HAV deployment: The U.S. holds exceptional promise for the deployment of HAV technology due to the high number of long-distance routes, increasing labor costs, and positive progress toward a unified regulatory framework. The benefits that stand to be maximized (commercial vs. safety) vary based on the corridors selected for initial operation. Access to accurate volume, congestion, and safety profiles are essential to this evaluation process.
Based on INRIX research and analysis, the most ideal U.S. corridor for initial deployment when normalizing freight volume, route length, congestion and incident rates is I-5 from the Canadian border to Northern California. This route scored the highest in the company's combined score due to its length and its high incident rate when compared to other low-congestion corridors. I-95, from Jacksonville to Miami, scored exceptionally well in terms of congestion, but its low incident prevented it from ranking first. Ranking third, fourth, and fifth place, overall, are #3 Valdosta – Miami (I-75), #4 Utah – Kansas (I-70), and #5 Georgia – Greensboro (I-85).
"Big data is an essential tool that should be used as the public and private sectors explore and deploy HAVs," said Avery Ash, head of Autonomous Mobility at INRIX. "Mobility data and analytics are more powerful when multiple layers—such as congestion, volume, and incidents—are added into the equation. Using data-driven insights will allow commercial truck operators and road authorities to proactively leverage HAVs to solve key mobility and business challenges."