Freight Transport: Industry Terms

November 3rd, 2020 by admin Leave a reply »

In our commitment to being the premier source of knowledge and information regarding the freight industry, we are embarking on a new leg of the journey. We are going to start building a glossary of all the most important freight transport terms we’ve encountered on the road, on the rails, and everywhere in between. There are a lot of good resources out there; the U.S. Department of Transportation has put together a pretty inclusive list that we’ll be drawing from, along with our own resources and others around the industry.

We’re going to start this endeavor with our first term. Average Annual Daily Truck Traffic (AADTT) is a term used to describe the total volume of freight truck traffic that passes over a given portion of highway in a given year. This number is then divided by the number of days in a year. This might seem like a menial statistic, but it is an essential measure in determining the amount of maintenance that a given portion of road might need. It can also be important in determining the amount of tax dollars needed to keep everything running smoothly through this portion of highway.

A transport vehicle, whether we are talking heavy haul vehicles or ltl trucking vehicles, is decidedly more wearing on a given portion of road than conventional transport vehicles. In fact, the heavy wear delivered by the heavier loads of freight is enough to restrict transport vehicles over a certain weight from accessing some smaller roads. Roads frequented by transport vehicles (those roads with higher AADTT) require a lot of extra funding from all the extra wear and tear that comes from the thousands upon thousands of tons of freight that travel across their surfaces. By using the average annual daily truck traffic measure, the needs of a given portion of highway can be more accurately assessed and judged, keeping the roadways safe for both freight carriers and public users alike.

Because it has been a while since we talked about the history of freight transportation, it would probably be helpful to do a recap of what we’ve talked about to date. We started way back in time with the first human need for freight transport. Although we have an industry that is highly advanced and evolved, it had to start somewhere. We traced back to the very first movement of freight by humans. There is no telling when this actually occurred, but we thought it was important to try to get as close to the beginning as possible. From there, we moved forward to the all-important invention of the wheel – that invention that changed the course of human history forever and marked the birth of the freight transport vehicle.

This was the grandfather of the entire lineage of automobiles and trains making it a keystone moment for the freight transport industry, so we just had to include it in our history. Then came the wagons and the chariots. The wheel, that simple yet profound idea, found its way into carts and horse drawn buggies and continued to alter human development and slowly build freight transport from a need into a reality. Early transport was slow and inefficient, but as the wheels kept turning (cheesy pun #2) the industry kept growing and redefining itself into what we know and use today. Next time we’ll look at the latter part of the history of freight transport.


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