Nowhere are these challenges more acute than on rural America’s approximately 2.9 million miles of public roads. According to the Department of Transportation, 68 percent of the total lane miles in the United States are in rural areas. And there are nearly nine times as many lane miles per 100,000 residents in rural areas as in urban areas.
The American Trucking Associations reported a shortage of 80,000 truck drivers in 2021, and the industry trade association estimates the shortfall could double by 2030. Improving productivity and driver welfare are important ways to attract these valuable employees—especially beyond cities, where drivers regularly face the demands of long stretches of highways.
5G networks—with their potential for high-speed connectivity, increased bandwidth, improved reliability, and ability to connect hundreds of thousands or even millions of IoT devices—may be an important part of the answer.