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ATRI Posts 2020 Trucking Issues Survey Results

The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) released the results of its 2020 survey asking stakeholders in the trucking industry their thoughts on things that impact the trucking industry. Their report is a very insightful 26-page behemoth of knowledge, but for our reading base, primarily of truckers who would rather spend more time on the road than reading, here is a summary.


But how did they get the numbers for this survey? Here is their listed method.

  1. ATRI asked between 15,000 and 16,000 contacts if they would fulfill a survey. These include trade press and members of state trucking associations.
  2. Of the contacts, approximately 3,100 contacts fulfilled the survey. At around 20%, this is lower than average online surveys, but some studies have shown that a lower participation rate leads to more accurate results, and that it is a balancing act between quantity of data points and quality of each point.
  3. When surveyed, people were given a list of 29 key issues regarding the trucking industry, and then asked to pick the three most important, as well as the three best strategies for each issue. Write-in answers were also allowed.
  4. Once the top 3 strategies and issues were selected, survey-takers were asked to prioritize them.
    1. For issues, the number 1 pick got three points, 2nd got 2 points, and 3rd got one point, with the highest total winning. For each respondent to have 6 points to give, that means there were about a total of 18,600 points to distribute.
    2. For strategies, only the number 1 pick had value in the score, at one point. Because there were about 3,100 respondents, there were 3,100 points to be shared amongst all strategies for any given issue.
  5. For issues, the highest receiver of points was given an Industry Concern Index of 100, with subsequent issues receiving a lower index score based on a percentage of the top issue’s percentage.
    1. For example, if the top issue received 25% of all points, and the second issue got 15% of all points, the second issue would have an Index score of 60, as illustrated by 15/25.
    2. Issues simply had percentages of the total pie; no index number crunching. The top three highest percentage holders for strategies were included in the report.

At three strategies per issue, the total number of strategies in the report alone totals at 30 different proposed strategies. We will instead focus on the results of issues.

Results: Top 13

13. COVID-19

Index Score: 37

Point Approximation: 300

12. Infrastructure Congestion/Funding

Index Score: 38

Point Approximation: 308

11. Driver Distraction

Index Score: 38.8

Point Approximation: 314

10. Hours-of-Service

Index Score: 41.2

Point Approximation: 334

9. Delay at Customer Facilities

Index Score: 44.7

Point Approximation: 362

8. Economy

Index Score: 46.1

Point Approximation: 373

7. Tort Reform

Index Score: 46.6

Point Approximation: 377

6. Driver Retention

Index Score: 57.4

Point Approximation: 465

5. Insurance

Index Score: 58

Point Approximation: 470

4. Compliance, Safety, Accountability Scores

Index Score: 64.7

Point Approximation: 524

3. Truck Parking

Index Score: 67.9

Point Approximation: 550

2. Driver Compensation

Index Score: 68.4

Point Approximation: 554

1. Trucker Shortage

Index Score: 100

Point Approximation: 810


ATRI also released this graph regarding the top ten issues in the trucking industry.


The graph is slightly confusing. Based on the height of the bars, you would be inclined to believe that Truck Parking scored higher than Driver Compensation, but the Index Score for both suggests otherwise. This may be attributed to the three different weights having equal values of height on this particular graph. Indeed, Truck Parking got more second and third place votes than Driver Compensation, but the higher number of first place votes gave Driver Compensation a higher final score.

In any case, we would like to thank the ATRI for their work in compiling the data from various sources in the trucking industry, including commercial drivers, driver trainers, law enforcement, and more.

If you are interested in seeing the report in full, including commentary, comparisons to previous years’ surveys, and strategies that were chosen by survey respondents, you can view it electronically here. We highly recommend that you do so.

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