The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recently released its first monthly report for 2015 on U.S. automobile traffic volumes, which shows an estimated 237.3 billion vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in January 2015. This is an increase of 4.9 percent—or 11.1 billion vehicle miles—when compared to January 2014, and the eleventh consecutive month of growth in the nation’s VMT.
Almost all states reported increases, with the exception of five states which experienced unusually large amounts of snow during the first month of the year (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island). All five regions of the U.S. saw overall growth in VMT.
The January 2015 report includes information on seasonally adjusted VMT for the first time. This data provides the ability to compare the current monthly report with any other monthly reports from years past. When compared to December 2014 using the seasonally adjusted data, there has been a slight decline of 0.2 percent in VMT. The seasonally adjusted data also shows a 5.1 percent increase for January 2015 when compared to January 2014, slightly greater than the unadjusted data.
“These data make it clear that traffic volumes are growing nationwide,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a news release. “To keep our highways safe and less congested, we should not only invest in our nation’s infrastructure to expand capacity, but also look towards the future by encouraging greater technological innovations, which can make travel safer and more convenient.”
Last year, cumulative travel increased modestly by 1.7 percent. U.S. driving also showed moderate growth in 2012 and 2013.
Read the report.