Large truck travel in Idaho is projected to increase by 74
percent by the year 2020, the fourth highest rise in the country.
According to a recent study conducted by The Road Information
Project (TRIP), a coalition of transportation groups, 205
million tons of truck will travel through Idaho in 2020, compared
to the 118 million tons that traveled through the state in
According to ITD Ports of Entry Manager Alan Frew, Idaho
is a through state, not necessarily an origin or a destination
for products. The state has several interstate highways that
connect markets north, south, east and west.
mobility models have estimated that the freight will be coming
from the Pacific Rim through seaports close to us, in Seattle,
Tacoma, Portland, and Everett, Wash., into the interior,
Frew said. A lot of that freight will be moving by truck
because trucks have more flexibility than rail.
According to the study, commercial trucking is expected to
increase nationwide by 49 percent by 2020, creating a substantial
impact on highway safety, traffic congestion and economic
TRIP conducted the study in response to concerns about increased
danger of crashes between trucks and more-vulnerable cars.
Although truck-related fatalities have dropped nearly 11 percent
since 1990, an average of 4,500 people die nationally each
year in accidents involving trucks and passenger vehicles.
Frew, however, does not translate these increases in truck
traffic into an accelerated accident and fatality rate, largely
due to the joint efforts of ITD, the Federal Highway Administration,
the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Idaho
State Police working together to improve roadway safety, educate
drivers about cars and trucks sharing the road and an emphasis
on the safety of drivers, vehicles and loads.
Part of the reason for this increase in truck traffic, according
to Frew, is the just-in-time delivery phenomenon.
When a company orders a product, everything goes into
assembly on a just-in-time basis. Trucks have become rolling
warehouses out there on our highways.
Idaho currently ranks 35th in truck-tons traveling through
the state. Its 2020 projection ranks 36th.
The four states with higher projected increases in truck
travel are Montana (77 percent), Arizona (78 percent), Utah
(82 percent) and Nevada (85 percent). California has the highest
totals with 1.3 billion tons in 2003 and almost 2 billion
tons projected for 2020.
The study also indicates that in Idaho an average of 26 non-truck
occupants were killed in accidents involving trucks annually
from 1998 to 2002. This ranks 38th among the 50 states. Texas
ranks the highest with an average of 409 deaths.