The American Transportation Research Institute’s board approved its top research priorities for the year, which include topics focused on impacts on the trucking industry’s workforce, operational impacts from predatory towing, and expanding the driver population through international work permits.
ATRI, which the Canadian Trucking Alliance is a member of, reports its top research priorities are:
- Impacts of decriminalization of marijuana on the trucking industry. As more states move to decriminalize marijuana and other Schedule I drugs, this study would update ATRI’s 2019 report by examining roadway safety and workforce impacts in those states that have changed their controlled substance laws.
- Quantifying impacts from predatory towing. Predatory towing can take many forms – including tow operators who park near known crash locations, take possession of vehicles, and charge exorbitant rates for release of the vehicle and cargo. This research will quantify the extent of the issue and identify best practices from states that have successfully addressed unscrupulous tow operators through legislation. (In Ontario, the Ontario Trucking Association worked successfully with the government and police to address this and other towing issues to support the trucking industry).
- Efficacy of driver training on safety outcomes and driver retention. Driver shortage and driver retention were identified as the top two industry concerns in 2021. Understanding how initial driver training contributes to the successful and safe integration of new entrants into trucking will be the focus of this research, updating an earlier ATRI study from 2008.
- Utilizing EB-3 work permits to help mitigate the driver shortage. This research will explore the potential for recruiting drivers from outside the U.S. through the employer-sponsored EB-3 Work Permit.
- Impact of the SEC Climate Rule on the trucking industry. This research will quantify the potential impacts of new SEC climate rules on the trucking industry and their supply chains, focusing on possible Scope 3 reporting requirements. In particular, it will document entities within the supply chain of publicly traded companies that will have to report carbon outputs.
ATRI’s Research Advisory Committee developed the list of recommended research topics at its meeting held in Dallas on March 15 and 16, and the ATRI board reviewed and approved a list of recommended topics at its recent meeting.