By Eileen Houlihan, senior writer/editor ARTBA

Americans collectively drove 2.88 trillion miles during the first 11 months of last year, making it likely that 2015 will become the “most heavily traveled year in history,” according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Data in FHWA’s monthly “Traffic Volume Trends” report shows more than 253 billion miles were driven in the month of November, “reaffirming the growing demands challenging the nation’s roads” and “underscoring the value” of the recently enacted Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or FAST Act, the agency said. The FAST Act will invest $305 billion in the nation’s surface transportation infrastructure and safety programs over the next five years.

The Jan. 22 report also includes seasonally-adjusted data, which enables comparisons with any other month in any year from the USDOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics. The seasonally-adjusted vehicle miles traveled for November were 264 billion miles, a 3.4 percent increase compared to November 2014, but just a slight 0.1 percent increase compared with seasonally adjusted October figures.

The agency said the data confirms trends identified in the “Beyond Traffic” report issued last year, which projects a rapidly growing population, increased freight volume, demographic shifts in rural and urban areas and a transportation system facing more frequent extreme weather events and increased gridlock nationwide unless changes are made in the near-term.