Increase in nation’s driving continues into 17th month
WASHINGTON – New estimates released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) show that U.S. driving topped 1.82 trillion miles in the year’s first seven months, beating the previous record – 1.77 trillion, set in July 2007.
The new data, published in FHWA’s latest “Traffic Volume Trends” report – a monthly estimate of U.S. road travel – show that 283.7 billion miles were driven in July, the most ever in July of any year – reaffirming calls for increased investment in transportation infrastructure as demand on the nation’s highway system grows.
With the new July 2015 estimates, the series of monthly mileage increases now stands at 17 consecutive months.
The July 2015 report also includes seasonally-adjusted data, which is conducted by USDOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics as a way to even out seasonal variation in travel and enable VMT comparisons with any other month in any year.
The seasonally-adjusted vehicle miles traveled for July 2015 were 264.4 billion miles, a 3.9 percent increase in VMT – compared to the previous July but a slight (.8 percent) decrease compared with seasonally adjusted June 2015 figures. The estimates include passenger vehicle, bus and truck travel.
For the second month in a row, traffic in the North Central region – a block of 12 states including North Dakota, Ohio and Missouri – led the nation with 65.2 billion unadjusted VMT, extending its monthly VMT growth to eight straight months.
The Northeast, a region of nine states stretching from Pennsylvania to Maine, showed the smallest growth – rising only 2.6 percent, or 40.8 billion VMT, compared to the same month a year earlier.
At 10 percent, Hawaii led the nation for the second month in a row with the largest unadjusted single-state traffic percent increase compared to the same month a year earlier, followed by Florida at 6.8 percent and Texas at 6.6 percent.
The new figures confirm the trends identified in “Beyond Traffic,” a USDOT report issued earlier this year, which projects a 43 percent increase in commercial truck shipments and population growth of 70 million by 2045. The report examines the trends and choices facing America’s transportation infrastructure over the next three decades, including a rapidly growing population, increasing freight volume, demographic shifts in rural and urban areas, and a transportation system that is facing more frequent extreme weather events. Increased gridlock nationwide can be expected unless changes are made in the near-term.
To review the VMT data in FHWA's "Traffic Volume Trends" reports, which are based on information collected from more than 5,000 continuous count stations nationwide, visit http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/travel_monitoring/tvt.cfm.
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