Washington, D.C. — New estimates released by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) show that American driving between July 2013 and June 2014 is at levels not seen since 2008, fueling calls for greater investment in highways that must bear growing volumes of traffic.
"More people driving means our economy is picking up speed," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "It also means we need to increase our investment in transportation to meet this demand, which is why Congress needs to pass the President's four-year, $302 billion GROW AMERICA Act."
According to FHWA's "Traffic Volume Trends" report – a monthly estimate of American travel – drivers in June 2014 logged 261.7 billion vehicle-miles traveled (VMT), the highest level for any June since 2010 and the biggest single-month gain this year. It is the nation's fourth consecutive month of VMT growth.
Americans drove more than 2.97 trillion miles between July 2013 and June 2014, the most recent month for which data are available. In the first half of 2014, drivers traveled 1.466 trillion miles – the largest since 2010 and the fourth-highest in the report's 78-year-history.
Traffic in the Northeast – a bloc of nine states including New York and New Jersey – rose to nearly 37 billion VMT, a gain of 0.7 percent over the previous June, ending the region's seven-month decrease in vehicle traffic.
The new data show the South Atlantic region – a bloc of eight states stretching from Delaware to Florida, and including the District of Columbia– experienced the biggest regional single-month increase at 2 percent more VMT than the previous June.
At 4.5 percent more VMT than the previous June, Washington, D.C., led the nation with the largest single-state increase followed closely by Tennessee, who had a 3.7 percent gain that month.
"These data are critical to helping the nation's leaders make informed decisions about critical infrastructure investments," said Acting Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau. "To ensure our roads, bridges and tunnels can keep pace with the demands of the American public, greater investment is needed – and the 'GROW AMERICA' Act is a step in the right direction."
To review the VMT data in FHWA's "Traffic Volume Trends" reports, which are based on information collected from more than 2,000 road-mounted sensors nationwide, visit www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/travel_monitoring/tvt.cfm.