|Moving 12-month total of US VMT through March 2008. Click to enlarge.|
Americans drove less in March 2008, continuing a trend that began in November 2007, according to estimates recently published by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
The FHWA’s Traffic Volume Trends report, produced monthly since 1942, shows that estimated vehicle miles traveled (VMT) on all US public roads for March 2008 fell 4.3% as compared with March 2007 travel. This is the first time estimated March travel on public roads fell since 1979. At 11 billion miles less in March 2008 than in the previous March, this is the sharpest yearly drop for any month in FHWA history.
Although February 2008 showed a modest 1 billion mile increase over February 2007, cumulative VMT has fallen by 17.3 billion miles since November 2006. Total VMT in the United States for 2006, the most recent year for which such data are available, topped 3 trillion miles.
Additionally, the US Department of Transportation estimated that greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector fell by an estimated 9 million metric tons for the first quarter of 2008.
The estimated data show that VMT on all US public roads have dropped since 2006. The FHWA’s Traffic Monitoring Analysis System (TMAS) computes VMT for all types of motor vehicles (motorcycles, cars, buses and trucks) on the nation’s public roads. These data are collected through over 4,000 automatic traffic recorders operated round-the-clock by state highway agencies. More comprehensive data are published in the FHWA’s Highway Statistics at the end of each year.
|Travel on US Urban highways by month. Click to enlarge.||Travel on US Rural highways by month. Click to enlarge.|
FHWA Office of Highway Policy Information Monthly Traffic Volume Trends