Originally appeared in Fleet Owner

Without improving infrastructure, the freight efficiency gains and emissions reductions we hope to get from cleaner alternative fuels will not be fully realized.

For the past 12 years, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has published a report on the top truck bottlenecks by monitoring more than 300 critical freight locations. Bottlenecks slow down trucks and make the movement of goods inefficient. Bottlenecks cost money and add to emissions as trucks sit and wait to move.

See also: ATRI reveals top truck bottlenecks for 2023

The most recent rating of the U.S. infrastructure from the American Society of Civil Engineers is a C-. This is an obvious problem and needs to be addressed. The safety of all drivers is at stake.

The C- grade is bad enough, but over the next several decades, we are going to expect our infrastructure to do even more. As we move toward alternative fuel vehicles, we will need charging and fueling stations for electric vehicles or those using  hydrogen or natural gas. It can take more time to charge an EV than it does to fuel a diesel truck. As a result, we will need to build more charging stations with more parking spaces for trucks. Truck parking is already a big problem in the industry.

The fact that we can’t keep the infrastructure needed by diesel-powered trucks in better than a C- condition makes me concerned about whether we will be able to meet the infrastructure demands of new powertrains.

See also: Charging infrastructure holds back EV truck production, deployment

In addition, autonomous vehicle technology is moving at a rapid pace, and autonomous vehicles need to be able to “see” lane and edge markings to operate safely. Not every road has “readable” edge and lane markings. Autonomous vehicles will require a major upgrade to our infrastructure.

Local, state, and federal agencies need to begin work today to bring up that C- grade. We need to begin working on making improvements now, starting in the most heavily travelled freight corridors and in the areas where the congestion bottlenecks are the most severe.

If we don’t improve the infrastructure, the freight efficiency gains and emissions reductions we hope to get from these cleaner fuels will not be fully realized.

At Corcentric, we stand ready to help any fleet bridge that gap.  To learn how we can help, contact Corcentric today.