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FHWA 61-16
Monday, December 5, 2016
Contact: Doug Hecox
Tel.: (202) 366-0660

U.S. Drivers Log 2.4 Trillion Miles In First Nine Months of 2016

Federal Highway Administration’s ‘Traffic Volume Trends’ Report Shows Gains In Nearly Every State

WASHINGTON – New data released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) show that U.S. driving topped 2.4 trillion miles in the first nine months of 2016, lengthening a series of consecutive monthly increases that started in April 2014.

The new data, published in FHWA’s latest “Traffic Volume Trends” report – a monthly estimate of U.S. road travel – show that more than 265.5 billion miles were driven in September 2016 alone which is a 2.9 percent increase over the previous September. The increase in driving highlights the growing demands facing the nation’s roads and reaffirms the importance of the “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation” (FAST) Act, which is investing $305 billion in America’s surface transportation infrastructure – including $226 billion for roads and bridges – until 2020.

The September 2016 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 vehicle miles travelled (VMT) comparisons with any other month in any year. The seasonally-adjusted vehicle miles traveled for September 2016 were 268.7 billion miles. Compared with seasonally adjusted August 2016 figures, September VMT increased by .4 percent. The estimates include passenger vehicle, bus and truck travel.

In September, U.S. drivers increased total mileage among all five regions of the United States. At 5.5 percent, traffic in the West – a 13-state region stretching from California to Montana, and including Hawaii and Alaska – led the nation with the largest percentage increase in unadjusted VMT, and continued an uninterrupted series of monthly increases that began in October 2013.

At 27.8 billion VMT, California accounted for more miles driven in September 2016 than the combined 27.7 billion miles of 19 states – Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming – and Washington, D.C.

At 1.6 percent, the North Central – a 12-state area stretching from North Dakota to Ohio – had the smallest percentage increase in unadjusted VMT for the month.

At 5.7 percent, Idaho led the nation with the largest unadjusted single-state traffic percent increase compared to the same month a year earlier, followed by Utah at 5.5 percent and Nevada at 5.3 percent. For the seventh month in a row, at 2.2 percent, North Dakota led the nation with the largest unadjusted traffic decrease for the month.

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 https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/travel_monitoring/tvt.cfm.

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FHWA Press Releases

Page posted on December 5, 2016.
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000