Washington, D.C. — New data released by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) show that U.S. driving edged past 2 trillion miles by August 2015. Compared to the same month a year earlier, August 2015 also had the greatest single-month percentage gain since 2002.
The new data, published in FHWA’s latest “Traffic Volume Trends” report – a monthly estimate of U.S. road travel – show that 277.3 billion miles were driven in August, the most ever in August of any year, furthering calls to increase federal investment in transportation infrastructure as demands on the nation’s highway system grow.
With the August 2015 estimates, the series of monthly mileage increases now stands at 18 consecutive months.
The August 2015 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 VMT comparisons with any other month in any year.
The seasonally-adjusted vehicle miles traveled for August 2015 were 263.3 billion miles, a 3.6 percent increase in VMT – compared to the previous August but a slight (0.4 percent) decrease compared with seasonally adjusted July 2015 figures. The estimates include passenger vehicle, bus and truck travel.
In August, drivers increased total mileage among all five regions of the United States. With 62.4 billion unadjusted VMT, traffic in the North Central region – a 12-state region that includes North Dakota, Kansas and Michigan – led the nation for the third month in a row. The Northeast, a nine-state area stretching from Pennsylvania to Maine, grew the least – increased only 2 percent, compared to the same month a year earlier.
At 9.8 percent, Hawaii led the nation for the third month in a row with the largest unadjusted single-state traffic percent increase compared to the same month a year earlier, followed by New York and Tennessee at 4.3 percent each.
The new figures confirm the trends identified in “Beyond Traffic,” a USDOT report issued earlier this year, which projects a 43 percent 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. Increased gridlock nationwide can be expected unless changes are made in the near-term.
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 www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/travel_monitoring/tvt.cfm.