More than 44% of commercial vehicles traveling over the Francis Scott Key Bridge from March 1, 2023 to March 1, 2024 were heavy-duty trucks.   -  Chart: Geotab ITS

More than 44% of commercial vehicles traveling over the Francis Scott Key Bridge from March 1, 2023 to March 1, 2024 were heavy-duty trucks. 

Chart: Geotab ITS

On March 26, the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore collapsed after being struck by a containership. The collapse has blocked the main access to the port of Baltimore and trapped six bulk carriers and two navy vessels.

The Port of Baltimore is one of the largest in the U.S. by annual tonnage and weight of cargo and is a key hub for shipments of cars and light trucks. Last year, it also handled ships with 847,158 vehicles — making it the busiest port in the U.S. for the sector.

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As the port will not be operating at full capacity for some time, shippers must find alternative ports and temporary routes to deliver their goods. However, as the bridge itself handles considerable commercial traffic, commercial fleets and trucking companies will be forced to use alternative routes too.

Geotab, a global telematics provider with over 4 million connected vehicles, launched a new business unit called Geotab ITS which provides agencies and organizations with aggregate insights to improve transportation networks. Geotab ITS provided Automotive Fleet with data from its transportation analytics platform, Altitude, to understand pre-disaster commercial vehicle movements on the bridge by annual trips, vehicle types, time of day, and day of the week.

After the bridge is repaired and the port reopens, Geotab will provide updated data to AF to demonstrate the progression of how commercial traffic was rerouted.

How Was the Bridge Used?

Based on data from vehicles with Geotab-equipped devices crossing the bridge and a calculation for total number of trips, Geotab estimates that the Francis Scott Key Bridge saw more than 4.2 million annual commercial vehicle trips between March 1, 2023, and March 1, 2024.

More than 510,000 distinct vehicles drove on the bridge during those 12 months, with 80% of those trips hitting speeds between 47 mph and 65 mph.

Breaking down the traffic in that time period by vehicle type, heavy-duty trucks made the greatest percentage of journeys by far.

By vocational breakdown, most trips were local, followed by regional.   -  Chart: Geotab ITS

By vocational breakdown, most trips were local, followed by regional. 

Chart: Geotab ITS

By trip type, local trips had the greatest percentage, followed by regional and then hub and spoke and long haul.

By day of the week, the bridge saw about four times the volume on weekdays versus weekends.

By direction, travel to the northeast saw peak volumes from 3 pm to 4 pm. Travel in the southwest direction saw peak volumes around 7 am to 8 am.

Geotab also calculated the key destination areas of journeys that travel on the bridge. Northeast-bound hotspots were Baltimore/Tradepoint, Wilmington/Philadelphia, and New York.

Southwest-bound hotspots Washington, D.C., Richmond, and Norfolk, Virginia.  

The middle of the week saw the highest daily vehicle traffic.   -  Chart: Geotab ITS

The middle of the week saw the highest daily vehicle traffic. 

Chart: Geotab ITS

Key alternate routes include the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel and Fort McHenry Tunnel. These routes are likely to experience increased traffic volumes in the coming weeks and months as they are the most likely alternate routes.

Key alternate routes include the the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel and Fort McHenry Tunnel, which are likely to experience  increased traffic volumes in the coming weeks and months.  -  Image: Geotab ITS

Key alternate routes include the the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel and Fort McHenry Tunnel, which are likely to experience  increased traffic volumes in the coming weeks and months.

Image: Geotab ITS

AF will reconnect with Geotab to see how those volumes were realized.

About the author
Chris Brown

Chris Brown

Associate Publisher

As associate publisher of Automotive Fleet, Auto Rental News, and Fleet Forward, Chris Brown covers all aspects of fleets, transportation, and mobility.

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