Burks Appointed to National Transportation Study Committee

Sue Dieter

University of Minnesota Morris Professor of Economics and Management Steve Burks has been appointed to the Impacts of Alternative Compensation Methods on Truck Driver Retention and Safety Performance Committee. 

The committee was established as part of the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and is sponsored by the US Department of Transportation (USDOT). Members were selected, and the Committee is being operated, by the Consensus and Advisory Studies Division of the Transportation Research Board, a division of The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). NASEM was founded as a non-profit in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln as a way for federal agencies, Congress, and others to have an independent research organization to investigate issues of importance to the nation. The 10-member ad hoc study committee will examine the impacts of existing methods of compensation on commercial motor vehicle driver retention and safety performance in the U.S. long-haul (150 miles or more) trucking and intercity bus sectors. 

Over the next two years, the committee will collect primary data as needed and to the extent possible, such as by conducting case studies of trucking and bus companies and interviews of drivers and owner-operators. The committee will produce a final report with findings and conclusions about what is currently understood about the effects of compensation methods and other relevant factors on driver retention and safety performance. The report will contain recommendations to the sponsor and potentially to Congress on a research agenda that outlines the kinds of analytic methods, data gathering, and study designs that would be helpful for expanding and strengthening this understanding.

A smiling white man, with short, grey hair and mustache, wearing glasses

Burks joined the UMN Morris faculty in 1999. In 2005, he co-founded the Truckers & Turnover Project , a multi-year study in the field of behavioral personnel economics conducted by a team of Morris faculty and students as well as faculty from other institutions, in cooperation with trucking industry partners. Burks has studied the trucking labor market since driving big rigs between stints in graduate school. It was due to his experience as a truck driver in the early 1980s that he decided to become an economist.