WASHINGTON – New data released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) show that U.S. driving reached 273.5 billion miles in October 2015, the highest of any October on record, and more than 2.63 trillion miles so far this year. The new data, published in FHWA’s latest “Traffic Volume Trends” report – a monthly estimate of U.S. road travel – illustrate the growing demands facing the nation’s road system.
The October 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 October 2015 were 264.2 billion miles, a 3 percent increase in VMT – compared to the previous October but a nominal (.1 percent) increase compared with seasonally adjusted September 2015 figures. The estimates include passenger vehicle, bus and truck travel.
In October, drivers increased total mileage among all five regions of the United States. Traffic in the West – a 13-state region including Alaska and Hawaii – led the nation with 62 billion unadjusted VMT. With only 38.4 billion unadjusted VMT, the Northeast – a nine-state area stretching from Pennsylvania to Maine – had the least.
At 9.4 percent, Hawaii led the nation with the largest unadjusted single-state traffic percent increase compared to the same month a year earlier, followed by California at 6.5 percent and Florida at 5 percent. At 4.9 percent, North Dakota led the nation with the largest unadjusted single-state traffic decrease for the month.
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 to emerge from these trends 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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