via Pixabay

Earlier this month, Caltrans—California’s Department of Transportation (DOT)—reached out to freight operators asking them to participate in an official survey. Aimed at collecting data on physical and operational characteristics of commercial vehicles in the state, the Caltrans Truck Survey is intended to help improve freight movement in California.

Caltrans hopes to hear from 14,000 drivers, both online and by phone. Approximately 5% of those taking the survey will use on-board global positioning system devices (GPS) in the trucks to collect data on trip distance, speed, duration and fuel usage. The devices will be sent to participants and returned after one week of data collection.  

This data is vital for identifying projects, strategies and initiatives that can improve the flow of trucks across the state. And hopefully, the’ll consider highway safety too—here’s why:

The survey results are expected to yield key insights on the types of trucks operating on California roadways, the types of commodities they’re carrying and their travel patterns. The data will provide critical information for California’s Statewide Freight Forecasting and its Statewide Travel Demand models. These models are used to help Caltrans evaluate plans and projects that are most beneficial to the environment, economy and transportation network, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Their model may also be a good idea of other states to consider—especially after the Colonial Pipeline problems on the east coast in both September and October, which brought attention to the long-distance truckers bringing gasoline to major metro areas. By collecting this important data, California and other states’ transportation officials can determine when volatile fuels like gasoline are being transported, where they’re going and when it’s happening.