U.S. driving up 3.3 percent in first half of 2016, federal data show
Posted August 24, 2016
New data released by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) show that U.S. driving reached 1.58 trillion miles in the first six months of 2016, beating the previous record of 1.54 trillion miles set last year. For a sense of scale, 1.58 trillion miles is about 250 roundtrips from Earth to Pluto.
The new data, published in FHWA’s latest “Traffic Volume Trends” report — a monthly estimate of U.S. road travel — show that more than 282.3 billion miles were driven in June 2016 alone which is a slight increase over the previous June.
The June 2016 report also includes seasonally-adjusted data, which is conducted by USDOT’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. The seasonally-adjusted vehicle miles traveled for June 2016 were 268.1 billion miles. June VMT increased by 2.9 percent compared to the previous June and by 0.5 percent compared with seasonally-adjusted May 2016 figures. The estimates include passenger vehicle, bus, and truck travel.
In June, U.S. drivers increased total mileage among all five regions of the United States. At 4.1 percent, traffic in the West — a 13-state region stretching from California to Montana, and including Hawaii and Alaska — led the nation with largest percentage increase in unadjusted VMT, and continued a streak of consecutive monthly increases that began in October 2013.
At 2.4 percent, the Northeast — a nine-state area stretching from Pennsylvania to Maine — had the smallest percentage increase in unadjusted VMT for the month.
At 8.6 percent, Hawaii led the nation with the largest unadjusted single-state traffic percent increase compared to the same month a year earlier, followed by Idaho and Utah at 5.1 percent each. At 2.4 percent, North Dakota had the nation’s only unadjusted traffic decrease for the month.
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