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December 2009 Traffic Volume Trends

Travel Trends (December 2009)

Based on preliminary reports from the State Highway Agencies, travel during December 2009 on all roads and streets in the nation changed by 0.0 percent (-0.1 billion vehicle miles) resulting in estimated travel for the month at 238.5** billion vehicle-miles.

This total includes 78.1 billion vehicle-miles on rural roads and 160.4 billion vehicle-miles on urban roads and streets.

Cumulative Travel changed by 0.2 percent (6.6 billion vehicle miles).

The larger changes to rural and urban travel are primarily because of the expansion in urban boundaries reflected in the 2000 census. Travel estimates for 2004 and beyond will also reflect this adjustment.

Travel for the current month, the cumulative yearly total, as well as the moving 12-month total on all roads and streets is shown below. Similar totals for each year since 1984 are also included.

Travel in Millions of Vehicle Miles All Roads and Streets
Year December Year to Date Moving 12-Month
1984 136,095 1,716,770 1,716,770
1985 141,584 1,774,763 1,774,763
1986 149,628 1,838,240 1,838,240
1987 155,580 1,924,328 1,924,328
1988 164,798 2,025,586 2,025,586
1989 167,530 2,107,040 2,107,040
1990 168,621 2,147,501 2,147,501
1991 172,782 2,172,214 2,172,214
1992 180,999 2,247,152 2,247,152
1993 186,828 2,296,705 2,296,705
1994 193,087 2,357,587 2,357,587
1995 193,341 2,422,776 2,422,776
1996 201,462 2,482,201 2,482,201
1997 207,322 2,560,373 2,560,373
1998 216,303 2,625,363 2,625,363
1999 221,465 2,679,459 2,679,459
2000 218,390 2,746,924 2,746,924
2001 229,578 2,795,548 2,795,548
2002 234,241 2,855,262 2,855,262
2003 238,498 2,889,675 2,889,675
2004 245,542 2,964,167 2,964,167
2005 246,317 2,989,395 2,989,395
2006 248,745 3,014,336 3,014,336
2007 240,754 3,029,791 3,029,791
2008 238,580 2,925,728 2,925,728
2009 238,476 2,932,374 2,932,374

Traffic Volume Trends is a monthly report based on hourly traffic count data. These data, collected at approximately 4,000 continuous traffic counting locations nationwide, are used to determine the percent change in traffic for the current month compared to the same month in the previous year. This percent change is applied to the travel for the same month of the previous year to obtain an estimate of travel for the current month. Because of the limited sample sizes, caution should be used with theses estimates. The highway Performance Monitoring System provides more accurate information on an anual basis.

** System entries may not add up to the give "All Systems" total due to rounding on pages 2 to 8.

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Steven Jessberger
Office of Highway Policy Information
202-366-5052
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United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration