By Eileen Houlihan, senior writer/editor, ARTBA
ARTBA has been reporting all year on data from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) that shows vehicle miles traveled in the U.S. continues to climb and remains on pace for a record-setting year. The trend continued with monthly data released Oct. 30 showing the nation’s driving rose for an 18th straight month, topping 2 trillion miles for the first eight months of the year, and besting the greatest single-month percentage gain for August in 13 years.
“The new data, published in FHWA’s latest ‘Traffic Volume Trends’ report—a monthly estimate of U.S. road travel—shows 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 grows,” FHWA said in a statement.
The FHWA has long pushed for increased investment in transportation infrastructure along with its parent, the U.S. Department of Transportation. A statement from U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx following the approval of the House transportation bill on Nov. 5 urged Congress to “do more than minimum funding” to help ease congestion and raise the bar on safety.
The FHWA report also includes seasonally-adjusted data, which enable vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) comparisons with July or any other month in any year, from the U.S. DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics. 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.