The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has released a new report on the nation’s busiest interstates that shows people drove more than 84.7 billion miles on California highways in 2011—more than 900 times the distance from Earth to the Sun—making the Golden State’s highways the nation’s busiest. Overall, vehicles traveled 2.95 trillion miles on U.S. roads in 2011—the eighth-highest level ever recorded, and nearly double the amount traveled in 1980.
“Better information means cities and states can more efficiently target congestion and help people get home from work faster,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Over the past four years, DOT has improved more than 331,000 miles of roads with federal funds, but we know there’s a lot of work that still needs to be done. Information like this, along with new construction and design technologies, help us stretch our dollars further, making a bigger difference for even more people.”
Traffic volume data from 2011, the most recent year available, show that the I-5 in California was the nation’s busiest interstate, with 21.4 billion miles traveled that year. California’s neighboring I-10 and I-110 followed as the second and third busiest, respectively. Los Angeles’ section of I-405 serves an estimated 379,000 vehicles per day, making it the busiest interstate in any American city.
Texas came in second, with people driving more than 55.7 billion miles on its interstates, followed by Florida at 34.7 billion miles and Ohio at 31.4 billion miles.
“Data like these help us better understand the highway system and its needs,” said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. “Analysis of the nation’s traffic patterns and areas of changing traffic volume will lead to safer, less congested roads and greater mobility for all Americans.”
The FHWA's Highway Performance Monitoring System computes miles-traveled data for all interstates and highways. These data are based on thousands of automatic traffic recorders operated round-the-clock by state departments of transportation. More comprehensive data are published annually in the FHWA's “Highway Statistics.”
America’s 10 busiest states (by interstate vehicle-miles traveled) in 2011 were California (84.681 billion); Texas (55.734 billion); Florida (34.689 billion); Ohio (31.389 billion); Illinois (31.033 billion); Georgia (28.467 billion); Virginia (24.062 billion); Pennsylvania (23.662 billion); North Carolina (21.241 billion); and Michigan (20.707 billion).
To see a complete list of the data, available by state and interstate, visit the FHWA’s “U.S. Interstate Traffic Volume Analysis” at www.fhwa.dot.gov/interstatebrief2011.