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October 2009 Traffic Volume Trends

Travel Trends (October 2009)

Based on preliminary reports from the State Highway Agencies, travel during October 2009 on all roads and streets in the nation changed by -0.5 percent (-1.4 billion vehicle miles) resulting in estimated travel for the month at 250.8** billion vehicle-miles.

This total includes 86.0 billion vehicle-miles on rural roads and 164.8 billion vehicle-miles on urban roads and streets.

Cumulative Travel changed by 0.2 percent (4.8 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 October Year to Date Moving 12-Month
1984 147,610 1,443,403 1,706,878
1985 154,587 1,492,306 1,765,674
1986 159,434 1,540,799 1,823,255
1987 166,836 1,613,072 1,910,513
1988 175,478 1,697,830 2,009,086
1989 182,583 1,769,776 2,097,531
1990 182,634 1,807,316 2,144,580
1991 188,445 1,829,739 2,169,924
1992 194,836 1,888,773 2,231,248
1993 197,793 1,927,555 2,285,934
1994 202,864 1,974,427 2,343,576
1995 206,745 2,035,303 2,418,464
1996 215,654 2,081,096 2,468,568
1997 221,219 2,150,629 2,551,735
1998 228,523 2,197,882 2,607,626
1999 233,631 2,236,138 2,663,619
2000 236,491 2,305,715 2,749,036
2001 241,043 2,335,466 2,776,675
2002 245,535 2,390,393 2,850,475
2003 254,001 2,417,522 2,882,391
2004 254,617 2,478,649 2,950,803
2005 251,611 2,499,803 2,985,321
2006 258,146 2,520,007 3,009,599
2007 261,529 2,543,075 3,037,403
2008 252,138 2,453,967 2,940,683
2009 250,783 2,458,813 2,930,483

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