A commodity may have originated in Asia and been transported on a ship or originated in Norway and transported by air; however, the last mile of a freight delivery is usually made by truck. Most trucks on city and neighborhood streets are making local deliveries. In addition, a large number of trucks make trips through the region. Trucks carry the majority−approximately 76 percent– of goods to, from, and within metropolitan Washington.
The region's industry and employment characteristics play a large role in its freight composition. The region is a service driven economy—federal, state, and local government and professional and business services are major job sectors. As such, the region consumes goods rather than produces them. To maintain this active consumer economy, it is necessary to have reliable freight deliveries to provide the consistent availability of goods.
For trucking companies, congestion diminishes productivity and increases the cost of operations, as drivers must be paid for time spent making deliveries as well as time spent stalled or stopped in traffic. Congestion impacts all drivers: package delivery drivers, the short-haul trips (such as a local beverage warehouse to the grocery store), and the long-haul driver passing through the region. The five worst truck bottlenecks in the region are also among the most congested locations for all traffic:
- I-95 at VA-7100, Virginia
- I-95 at VA-234, Virginia
- I-95 at I-495, Maryland
- I-495 at American Legion Bridge, Virginia
- I-495 at I-66, Virginia