ROADS/BRIDGES: 2015 on pace to be most heavily traveled year, federal data shows

Jan. 25, 2016

U.S. driving data shows 2015 as most heavily-traveled year

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

The new data, published in FHWA’s latest “Traffic Volume Trends” report— a monthly estimate of U.S. road travel—show that more than 253 billion miles were driven in November alone, reaffirming the growing demands challenging the nation’s roads and underscoring the value of the recently enacted “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation” (FAST) Act, which will invest $305 billion in America’s surface transportation infrastructure—including $226 billion for roads and bridges —over the next five years.

The November 2015 report also includes seasonally-adjusted data, which is conducted by U.S. DOT’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.

At 8.9%, Hawaii led the nation with 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, D.C., had the largest unadjusted traffic decrease for the month.

The new figures confirm the trends identified in “Beyond Traffic,” a U.S. DOT report issued last 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. Increased gridlock nationwide can be expected unless changes are made in the near-term.

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