New Data Show February Driving Topped 221 Billion Miles
Federal Highway Administration
23 April 2015
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Contact: Doug Hecox
First Two Months of Traffic In 2015 Is Ahead Of Same Point Last Year, Report Shows
WASHINGTON – New estimates released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) show that Americans drove 221.1 billion miles in February – a 2.8 percent increase over the previous February, and the second-most ever driven in February – underscoring the need for greater investment in transportation infrastructure. “As traffic volume continues to grow nationwide, so does the need for greater federal investment in our highways and bridges,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “To keep our national highway system safe and less congested, the multi-year commitment of federal funding in the President’s ‘GROW AMERICA’ Act is the best investment we can make in keeping our nation’s economy strong.”
The GROW AMERICA Act – the long-term transportation bill the Department sent to Congress – provides funding growth and certainty so that state and local governments can continue to improve our infrastructure. It invests $317 billion over six years for federal highway programs, which represents nearly $12 billion more per year than under current law.
The new estimates, which show the first two months’ of U.S. driving in 2015 at 3.9 percent more than the same period a year earlier, are consistent with projections made by Secretary Foxx in his “Beyond Traffic,” which projects a 43 percent increase in commercial truck shipments and population growth of 70 million by 2045. The new estimates were released in FHWA’s latest “Traffic Volume Trends” report, a monthly estimate of U.S. road travel, which demonstrate an overall trend of an increase in traffic:
Over the first two months of 2015, U.S. driving increased over the same period in 2014 by 3.9 percent;
Americans drove 2.8 percent more in February 2015, the highest percentage increase for any February since 2004 and the nation’s 12th consecutive month of increased growth, as measured by vehicle-miles-traveled (VMT).
The February 2015 report also includes seasonally-adjusted data from the USDOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics which enable VMT comparisons with February and any other month in any other year. Analysis of seasonally-adjusted VMT is an alternative to analysis of unadjusted VMT, which traditionally uses comparisons of a month to the same month in previous years to determine trends.
The seasonally-adjusted vehicle miles traveled for February 2015 were 254.1 billion miles, a 2.6 percent increase, or 6.4 billion vehicle miles more, compared to the previous February. The estimates include passenger vehicle, bus and truck travel.
Traffic in the West; a bloc of 13 states including Alaska and Hawaii, rose to 49.8 billion vehicle miles traveled (VMT), a gain of 6.6 percent over the previous February and the 17th consecutive month of increased traffic for the area.
At 13.3 percent, Oregon led the nation with the largest single-state traffic increase compared to the same month a year earlier, followed closely by Montana at 12.8 percent and Indiana at 8.9 percent.
These numbers are consistent with trends identified in “Beyond Traffic,” which projects a 43 percent increase in commercial truck shipments and population growth of 70 million by 2045. “Beyond Traffic” is a report that 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’s facing more frequent extreme weather events. Increased gridlock nationwide can be expected unless changes are made in the near-term.
“By measuring the demands placed upon our nation’s roads and bridges, we are better able to understand the need for greater investment in them,” said Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau. “Americans are driving farther and more frequently, which makes additional investments in our highway system more important now than ever.”
To review the VMT data in FHWA's "Traffic Volume Trends" reports, which are based on information collected from more than 4,800 continuous count stations nationwide, visit https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/travel_monitoring/tvt.cfm.
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