Women in Trucking

Picture a truck driver in your mind. Did you imagine a man? Don’t feel bad—most people do. The problem isn’t that you’re sexist. The vast majority of truck drivers are male. However, this statistic may be poised to change.

Help Wanted

There’s a shortage of truck drivers in the United States. The American Trucking Association reports that the trucking industry needs 48,000 more drivers, and this shortage is expected to grow in the coming years.

Fortunately, there is a solution to the problem. Women make up 47% of the U.S. workforce, but the percentage of truck drivers who are women is only around 5%. Improving gender diversity in transportation is an obvious answer to the driver shortage.

The Women in Trucking Association is a nonprofit organization that exists to encourage women to enter the field. They work with various industry partners to minimize the obstacles women face and celebrate their accomplishments as they find success as truck drivers.

What’s Keeping Women off the Road?

If the industry needs more truck drivers and women are available, why aren’t more women entering the field? It comes down to two issues:

Physical Barriers
In general, women are smaller than men. Because manufacturers build truck cabs to fit men, some women may have difficulties finding a comfortable driving position. The Women in Trucking Association is working with manufacturers to make trucks that work for people of every size and shape.

Psychological Barriers
Some people, both male and female, have difficulty accepting women in the transportation industry. For these people, education is the solution. Many people don’t believe that women can drive trucks as well as men, but in fact, some studies have found that women may be safer behind the wheel.

America needs more truck drivers. If the truck driving industry hopes to meet this shortfall, female freight forwarders must be part of the solution. The Women in Trucking Association has been focused on putting women behind the wheel for over a decade. Its passionate leadership team and highly engaged members have partnered with industry leaders to support their mission. If you want to learn more about who they are and what they do, visit www.womenintrucking.org.

America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019—What It Means for the Logistics Industry

semi trucks speeding on the highway at sunset

America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019 is the largest highway legislation in history, authorizing $287 billion to maintain, repair, and modernize infrastructure for roads and bridges across the country. It is a reauthorization of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s proposed bill would draw on the Highway Trust Fund and other sources over the next five years to increase federal aid by 27% from the current legislation, which expires in October 2020. The bill increases the flexibility of funding among states, prioritizes specific highway projects, improves road safety, and protects the environment.

Proposed Projects for Road and Bridge Infrastructure

John Barrasso, junior senator from Wyoming and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), introduced the bill by stating its primary objective: “America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act will grow the economy, make our roads safer, and enhance the quality of life for the American people.” One of the most significant projects in the proposal designates $125 million in funding to the Alabama Department of Transportation to build a six-lane bridge across the Mobile River channel on Interstate 10. The other primary project designates $125 million in funding to the state of Maryland to implement double-stack trains for the Howard Street Tunnel in Baltimore.

The bill is also the first of its nature to focus on a sustainable future for transportation. The legislation includes the first climate title in a highway bill, which would invest $10 billion in policies and projects with the goal of reducing emissions and enhancing resilience after natural disasters. The bill also details efforts to invest in natural gas refueling stations and electric vehicle charging stations at popular highway rest stops across the nation.

Improving Road Transportation to Benefit the Transportation Logistics Industry

The senators proposing the bill promise it will “cut Washington red tape, so road construction can get done faster, better, cheaper, and smarter.” Leaders in the logistics industry hope this will translate to greater supply chain efficiencies, with fewer obstacles and quicker deadlines.
The bill also increases funding for the Technology and Innovation Deployment Program, including $100 million for new and innovative construction technologies that will accelerate and streamline project delivery. This additional funding will help the logistics industry improve the process for road construction projects, making them more efficient and cost-effective.

The American Trucking Association (ATA) reacted positively to the bill, believing these investments will transform transportation by updating America’s road infrastructure for the 21st century. NATSO, the National Association of Truck Stop Operators, also reacted to the bill, urging the EPW Committee to advance the proposal and expressing their support for sustainable transportation with eco-friendly refueling and recharging stations. Logistics leaders expect America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019 to drive the industry forward and grow the economy by modernizing trucking projects and highway construction while paving the way for a sustainable future.

GL Shipping’s Trucking Services

Global Shipping has years of experience in the trucking services industry, and we know what it takes to ensure that your domestic shipments make it across U.S. highways safely and quickly. Future improvements and legislation allow us to continually improve our approach as our services evolve alongside the industry. With an emphasis on superior tracking and timing, we’re guaranteed to overcome any trucking challenge with ease. Contact us today to streamline your domestic shipping process with GL Shipping.

The Impact of Automated Trucking on the Workforce

Interior of a self-driving truck on the highway

As automated self-driving vehicle technologies continue to evolve, many wonder what the future of trucking looks like for the 1.9 million heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers employed in the United States—the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has an answer.

According to a recent report issued by the GAO, two factors will determine the role of truck drivers and operators in a post-automation world: the level at which technology progresses and government regulatory decisions. These elements are expected to develop slowly over the next 5 to 10 years, leaving time for both the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of Labor (DOL) to continue working together alongside key stakeholders to prepare for changes within the trucking industry.

The Role of Truck Drivers and Operators in an Automated World

Cindy Brown Barnes, a director in the GAO’s Education Workforce and Income Security team, predicts that technological and federal advancements within the trucking industry will lead to one of two possible scenarios for truck driver jobs in the U.S.

Fewer Long-Haul Drivers

In this scenario, local drivers transport goods from factories to designated drop-off areas, where an automated truck picks up the loaded trailer and drives the rest of the route. The trucking industry is experimenting with technology that makes long-haul automated driving possible: GPS, cameras, accelerometers and gyroscopes, radar, light detection and ranging (LiDAR) sensors, and platooning.

As tech companies push for more advanced automated trucking technologies (in spite of a growing distrust for self-driving cars among the American public), long-haul truckers may become a rarity.

More Skilled Truck Drivers

In the second scenario, truckers are still needed to perform tasks technology can’t: navigating urban environments, fueling the truck, changing tires, or loading and unloading the truck. Partial automation technology will be used as a tool for truck drivers rather than a replacement—trucking will be less stressful and physically demanding, decreasing turnover rates and encouraging more young workers and women to enter the workforce. Partial automated technologies could also produce more specialized driving roles that require technical know-how and engineering skills, creating more opportunity for drivers to continue their educations.

As outlined in the GAO report, workers both inside and outside the trucking industry aren’t currently feeling the impact of automation. It’s the responsibility of the DOT and DOL, the report argues, to use the next decade to prepare for potential mass layoffs and develop educational programs for training a new workforce of specialized truck drivers.

According to the government watchdog, full automation isn’t an immediate concern, but preparing for a future in which driverless trucks are the norm requires anticipating big economic changes now.