New estimates released by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) show that U.S. driving topped 3.2 trillion miles last year. It is the fifth straight year of increased mileage on public roads throughout the nation, and underscores the demands facing America’s roads and bridges, and reaffirms calls for greater investment in surface transportation infrastructure.
The new data, published in FHWA’s latest “Traffic Volume Trends” report – a monthly estimate of U.S. road travel – show that more than 263.6 billion miles were driven in December 2016 alone, which is a .5 percent increase over the previous December.
The December 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 VMT for December 2016 were 269.3 billion miles. Compared with seasonally adjusted November 2016 data, December 2016 VMT fell slightly by .6 percent but rose 0.6 percent from December 2015. The estimates include passenger vehicle, bus and truck travel.
At 2.9 percent, traffic in the West – a 13-state region stretching from California to Montana, and including Hawaii and Alaska – led the nation with the largest percentage increase in unadjusted VMT, and continued an uninterrupted series of monthly increases that began in October 2013. Mileage fell slightly in the Northeast and North Central states.
At 33.9 billion VMT, California accounted for more miles driven in December 2016 than the combined 33.8 billion miles of 22 states – Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming – and Washington, D.C.
At 5.8 percent, Louisiana led the nation with the largest unadjusted single-state traffic percent increase compared to the same month a year earlier, followed by Utah at 5.2 percent and Nevada at 5.1 percent. At 6.2 percent, for the tenth month in a row, North Dakota led the nation with the largest unadjusted traffic decrease for the month.
The summer’s first long weekend is just around the corner! Have you given any thought to how you’ll enjoy your national parks this July 4 weekend?
As you gather with family and friends in honor of Independence Day, make some time to explore the many treasures of the National Park System. Between our stunning natural beauty, our fascinating and unique history, and our rich cultural stories, we have a lot to celebrate as a nation!
National parks offer everything from ranger talks, to volunteer-guided tours, to eye-opening exhibits but if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, why not plan on trying out a new activity in some of our country’s most exciting places?
If snorkeling, kayaking, backcountry hiking, or rock-climbing sounds up your alley, check out the National Park Foundation’s recommendations for how you can spend the holiday discovering our national inheritance. Here are just a few ways you can find your park this July 4:
1. Take a refreshing dip in the waters of Echo Lake Beach in Acadia National Park (Maine)
2. Explore Arches National Park (Utah) on horseback
3. Get a closer look at the shallow reefs of Biscayne National Park (Florida) by snorkeling
4. Scale the canyon walls by rock climbing at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (Colorado)
5. Kayak the Cedar Creek through Congaree National Park (South Carolina)
6. Go backcountry hiking through the wilderness of Great Smoky Mountains National Park (North Carolina, Tennessee)
7. Bike through the landscapes that witnessed the opening battles of the American Revolution at Minute Man National Historical Park (Massachusetts)
8. Cast your line in the Gulf of Mexico at Padre Island National Seashore (Texas)
9. Discover a sunken world by scuba diving to the shipwrecks of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (Michigan)
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org.
Planning your 4th of July weekend? We can help… Visit our growing family of exit guides: I-4 Exit Guide, I-5 Exit Guide, I-10 Exit Guide, I-75 Exit Guide, and I-95 Exit Guide.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that 37.2 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from their homes during the Memorial Day holiday weekend. That number represents a 4.7 percent increase from the 35.5 million people who traveled last year and the highest travel volume for the holiday in 10 years.
AAA also predicts that 33 million Americans will travel by car to their destinations. The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 21, to Monday, May 25.
More AAA information from their report:
- Most drivers will probably pay the lowest Memorial Day gas prices in at least five years. The current national average price of gas is $2.66, which is about $1 less than the average price on Memorial Day last year.
- The 4.7 percent increase over Memorial Day 2014 is the highest forecast growth rate for any of the holidays tracked by AAA since Independence Day 2012.
- More than 33 million travelers will go by automobile, an increase of 5.3 percent over last Memorial Day.
- Travelers will encounter higher lodging costs this year, while airfares are down slightly compared to Memorial Day 2014.
On the road? Visit our growing family of exit guides: I-4 Exit Guide, I-5 Exit Guide, I-10 Exit Guide, I-75 Exit Guide, and I-95 Exit Guide.
Construction projects could bring new, significant delays along several Utah highways in coming days. The Utah Department of Transportation says that includes reducing Interstate 80 to one lane at times in Salt Lake City, near Wanship and near Tooele…
read the full story…
Westbound I-80 will be reduced to one lane on Monday … Drivers are reminded to follow posted speed limits and use caution when traveling through the construction zone. Workers are resurfacing the road to prolong the life of the pavement.
read the full story…