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US DOT: 2015 on track to be most heavily traveled year

27 January 2016

New data released by the US Department of Transportation’s (US DOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) show that US driving reached 2.88 trillion miles by the end of November, making it likely that US drivers will make 2015 the most heavily traveled year in history.

The new data, published in FHWA’s latest “Traffic Volume Trends” report, show that more than 253 billion miles were driven in November alone. The estimates include passenger vehicle, bus and truck travel.

The November 2015 report also includes seasonally-adjusted data, which is generated 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 November 2015 were 264 billion miles, a 3.4% increase in VMT compared to November 2014 and a slight (0.1%) increase compared with seasonally adjusted October 2015 figures.

In November, US drivers increased total mileage among all five regions of the United States. The West—a 13-state region including Alaska and Hawaii—registered the highest traffic volume with 59 billion unadjusted VMT. With only 35.2 billion unadjusted VMT, the Northeast—a nine-state area stretching from Pennsylvania to Maine—had the least.

At 8.9%, Hawaii had the largest unadjusted single-state traffic percent increase compared to the same month a year earlier, followed by Idaho at 7.7% and Florida at 7%. At 3.9%, Washington, DC, had the largest unadjusted traffic decrease for the month.

The new figures confirm the trends identified in “Beyond Traffic”, a US DOT report issued earlier this year, which projects a 43% 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.

Source: US Federal Highway Administration