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September 2008 Traffic Volume Trends

Travel Trends (September 2008)

Based on preliminary reports from the State Highway Agencies, travel during September 2008 on all roads and streets in the nation changed by -4.4 percent (-10.7 billion vehicle miles) resulting in estimated travel for the month at 232.8** billion vehicle-miles.

This total includes 80.4 billion vehicle-miles on rural roads and 152.5 billion vehicle-miles on urban roads and streets.

Cumulative Travel changed by -3.5 percent (-79.2 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 1983 are also included.

Travel in Millions of Vehicle Miles All Roads and Streets
Year September Year to Date Moving 12-Month
1983 139,938 1,241,588 1,634,567
1984 146,074 1,295,792 1,703,312
1985 150,424 1,337,720 1,758,697
1986 155,462 1,381,366 1,818,409
1987 164,184 1,446,236 1,903,111
1988 171,072 1,522,352 2,000,444
1989 177,326 1,587,193 2,090,426
1990 178,415 1,624,682 2,144,530
1991 183,594 1,641,294 2,164,112
1992 190,908 1,693,936 2,224,857
1993 193,765 1,729,762 2,282,978
1994 200,511 1,771,563 2,338,506
1995 203,866 1,828,558 2,414,582
1996 207,604 1,865,442 2,459,660
1997 213,547 1,929,411 2,546,170
1998 219,461 1,969,360 2,600,322
1999 224,306 2,002,507 2,658,510
2000 227,899 2,069,224 2,746,176
2001 226,304 2,094,423 2,772,123
2002 233,600 2,144,857 2,845,982
2003 237,398 2,163,521 2,873,926
2004 243,635 2,224,032 2,950,187
2005 242,381 2,247,687 2,987,823
2006 245,133 2,255,228 2,996,274
2007 243,555 2,256,259 3,006,604
2008 232,847 2,177,022 2,917,225

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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